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Negotiating Fixtures and Fittings

By: Sam Harrington-Lowe - Updated: 25 Mar 2012 | comments*Discuss
Fixture Fittings Negotiating Buying

It sounds daft but sales very often fall through because of heated negotiations over fixtures and fittings. It might not seem like a lot but they can add up to hundreds or even thousands of pounds through an entire property and will really make a difference to the property's overall value. It's not just about light bulbs or the odd tap.

What you can expect to find available depends hugely on what the vendor is prepared to leave. There are no laws specifying what should or shouldn't remain, so the whole thing is completely open to negotiation.

It's wise from the outset to clarify this with the seller. If you think you are interested in making an offer on the property, before you start thinking about how much, identify with the vendor exactly what is included in the price. If there are things you would like left for you that are not included, check with the seller whether he or she is willing to part with them, and what the price for each item will be.

The onus is on the vendor. Legally they are not obliged to leave anything, but it is down to them to clarify exactly what will be taken. The best way for them to do this is to have an inventory stating clearly what is or isn't included. But again, as a general rule of thumb, it's generally accepted that fixtures are left, and fittings aren't; unless stated otherwise. If the vendor then takes a fixture without having first informed the buyer, or takes something that is in the inventory to be left behind, the buyer is entitled to a claim in a small claims court to replace the missing fixture.

What Exactly are Fixtures and Fittings?

There are no laws governing exactly what fixtures and fittings are, but as a guideline, fixtures are understood to be anything bolted to a wall or the floor, and fittings are freestanding items, or things hung by hooks or nails.

Fixtures include lighting fitments, central heating and boilers, bathroom suites and built in cupboards or wardrobes. Fittings are carpets, curtains, white goods, beds and so on.

It's wise perhaps when viewing the property to make a list of those fixtures and fittings you would like as you go around. Things like central heating, fireplaces, bathroom suites, carpets and so on are generally left, but it's always worth checking, as that could add thousands to your bill. The other things like towel rails, mirrors, curtains and curtain rails, lightshades and extra furnishings are all open to interpretation and it is definitely worth going through this with the vendor in some detail. It can avoid huge disputes later on.

The vendor will be the one responsible for providing the inventory, but it's good practice to make your own list too, room by room.

How to Negotiate

Stay calm. It might seem the seller is being unreasonable, but it's important to get through this without getting heated, and they might be thinking the same about you. You don't want to lose the property over plug sockets, do you?

Make sure you are in agreement over the inventory before starting to negotiate for any extras. Ensure you both agree over which are fittings and which are fixtures, as the law falls in favour of the buyer over fixtures.

Negotiate face to face and be friendly. It's not a war zone!

Really think about what you actually need. Sometimes it's tempting to take something rather than have the effort of replacing it. But do you really want it?

As soon as you are all agreed, write it down together so there is no confusion

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