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What Do You Leave When Selling a House

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

Purchasing or selling a home isn't an everyday occurrence for most people. These transactions can cause some confusion on what exactly is included in a real estate sale. Colorado contract to buy and sell real estate does a great job listing a variety of objects that are standard considered inclusions and exclusions. This however isn't always perfectly followed or outlines everything which can cause tension amid an already large transaction. With any contract, it is important to be upfront as a buyer or seller to help avoid any hassle between items.

Rule of Thumb

As a general rule of thumb, anything bolted down should stay with the property. Anything that is freestanding should be considered personal property. Things that are bolted, screwed or nailed are considered attachments. Some example of these are built in bookshelves, doorknobs and light fixtures. There are also integral possessions which are built in to the property such as a built in cooking range. Lastly things that are planted outside such as a tree should stay put. These mother nature objects are considered included with the home sale unless stated as an exclusion. Some examples of personal property are the furniture, toilet paper, and hanging artwork. There are often so many objects with a house there is plenty of gray area. Just another reason why it is important to have a top real estate agent who can help identify common disputes and put them in writing.

Common Disputed Items


Appliances such as refrigerator and washing machines are considered an exclusion as they just need to be unplugged and moved. These items should be listed on the inclusions section of the contract if the new owners want them when moving in. A bolted in microwave or dishwasher however is an inclusion as it is bolted down. It is generally a good idea to list all appliances if they are wanted as an inclusion to ensure there is no disagreement.

Window Treatments

Window treatments such as drapes are curtains are generally considered personal property. The exception to this however is the curtain rods, brackets and curtain holdbacks. These parts are bolted to the wall and therefore should stay for the new homeowner.


Televisions have very often been considered personal property however since the rise of wall mounted televisions there has been some questions that have arisen. As a rule of thumb the television itself is considered personal property due to the history of the item however the wall mounts should stay with the home. If you wish to leave the TV or take the wall mount just note it on the inclusion/exclusion page of the contract.

Integrated Systems

Integrated systems such as dog fence power unit, sprinkler systems and security systems are considered part of the house and are included with the sale.

Light FixtureS

Light fixtures such as the fancy chandelier that you installed and the light bulbs inside of them should stay with the house. If you wish to bring them with you, be sure to list this as an exclusion on the sales contract.

Swing SetS

Swing sets follow the rule of thumb rule if it is bolted down. If the swing set is cemented in it is considered part of the house, however if it is sitting on top of the grass it is considered personal property of the seller.

Do Shower Curtains Stay When Selling A House?

Shower curtains are not bolted down therefore you may take them with you when selling a house. Shower curtains are considered personal property.

Paint Can and Roller

Nice Gestures

Paint cans can help with future home improvements by allowing home buyers to touch up spots as well as know how to easily get an exact match for the future. It is a generally accepted practice to leave these at the home.

Tile samples can help owners of the new house to repair a cracked tile or even bring with them when looking for a new matching paint.

Warranty paperwork and user manuals that were included with your appliances, such as your refrigerator or water heater, should stay with the home.

Do You Have To Clean Your House When You Sell It?

At a minimum many contracts require the property to be in broom clean condition however it is highly recommended that it is sold with a thorough cleaning. No real estate deal is complete until closing and the buyer could change their mind the last second during the final walk through. Although this is unlikely, the buyer is likely going through their largest lifetime purchase and there is no need to add stress to either side during the transaction!

When Selling A House, What Do You Do With Utilities?

Majority of utilities such as your internet or electricity will have an easy process to move or transfer your existing service on their website. The water bill however is changed through the title company that is completing the transaction. It is important to verify this with your real estate agent as every county can vary.

Can You Leave Stuff In A House When You Sell It?

The short answer is no, although it depends on the contract. If you are curious if you can leave all of your trash or if you inherited a hoarder house, you must have that property listed in the inclusions portion of the contract. Otherwise, the buyer may refuse the property during the final walk through or seek money for the junk removal.

Who Owns The Items Left Behind In A House After Closing?

It is assumed that anything left in the house after closing becomes the property of the buyer. This is because the seller cannot legally enter the property anymore to recover the items without the buyers permission. It is polite to let the home seller know they left personal items and give them the option to recover it. This can often happen with some items left in the attic or a shed.

Should You Leave Something For The New Owners Of Your House?

If you have an emotional attachment to your house, writing a nice letter or a home warming gift for the new home buyers can be a nice gift. This can also be a great way to establish closure and ensure yourself that this home will be just as good to the next family moving in. Although none of this is required it can be a great benefit for both sides of the transaction.

Should You Remove Picture Hooks When Moving?

There is no issue with leaving the picture hooks in the walls when you are moving. However, if you want to go above and beyond, you may remove them and give a quick paint touch up.

What Occurs During A Final Walk Through?

The final walk through is the buyers right to visit the property and ensure that everything expected is there. This includes dings left by movers and ensure that all fixtures are still there. Sometimes appliances or light fixtures could be swapped and this confirms there is no last minute changes. If things are missing, the real estate agent and home buyer can work with attorneys to draft a hold-back agreement to ensure that you are compensated if the items are not returned. Although not common, it is important to ensure there are no unexpected changes.

What To Do After You Sell Your House?

Congratulations on the home sale! Although most of the hard work is complete, it is important to do a few things before moving on. Keep all of the paperwork of your transactions, it will be necessary to reference them upon tax day. The other thing, is to also keep track of any improvements that you have made to the home. These improvements can be deducted from the profits of the sale if they are on publication 523. In addition to this it might be worth checking how home ownership can help with your taxes. From this point, you might want to put some of the proceeds away so you can pay the capital gains taxes if there are any. Finally, It is now important to reevaluate your financial situation. This way you know what to do with the rest of the money. This could vary from investing or rolling into a down payment for your next new home.

Real estate transactions often have a lot of gray area and although this guide is a great starting point, it is not exhaustive. That is just another reason to have a great Realtor® to help guide you through one of your largest life purchases!

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