When it comes to a wall-mounted television…does it stay or does it go?

The process of buying a home is a case study in the art of negotiation.

Everything — from the purchase price to occupancy dates to the inclusion of appliances to “repairs” of issues raised during an inspection — are subjected to a give and take between the buyer and seller. More often than not, the contract used by the buyers and sellers specifically deals with each of these issues. But when it comes to the matter of fixtures — those things such as lights, ceiling fans, shades, etc. — things can become a little less black and white.

The latest question on this matter is whether wall-mounted, flat screen televisions are considered fixtures. Wall-mounted televisions are relatively new in the marketplace and the ECAR contract doesn’t specifically address whether they stay or go.

Just because the contract doesn’t specifically address things like wall-mounted televisions, assumptions should not be made and a discussion, or better yet paper trail between the buyer and seller and their agents should transpire to avoid disputes.

Obviously, the best option is having the contract be as exhaustive as possible with regard to what is part of the purchase and what is not. That discussion, early in the process, can save all parties a lot of headaches down the line.

One factor to determine whether or not something is a fixture, is to look at how it’s attached to the property and what type of damage its removal will cause.

Connecticut law defines fixtures as items which have become part of real property because the party annexing them to the realty intends that result. Whether a particular item of property is personal or a fixture is a question of fact. The intention of the parties, objectively manifested as of the date when the personal was attached to the freehold is the primary or essential test for determining whether an object has become a fixture.

If disputes aren’t resolved between the parties, it can become a deal breaker and the buyer and seller might need to talk to an attorney.

It’s highly unlikely that anyone involved in buying or selling a home wants the contract to fall apart over a wall-mounted television…at least one hopes. It’s just one more thing that REALTORS need to be aware of when working with buyers and sellers and make sure that everyone understands if it’s part of the purchase agreement.

And finally, if it is confirmed that the wall mounts are going with the seller, then buyers need to know that broom clean condition does not include wall repair or new paint (unless otherwise stated)!