Please Don’t Pack the Carbon Monoxide Detector

The topic of what stays and what goes with the house seems to be a never-ending story. Having that what is a fixture talk with my clients is part of my real estate practice, but sometimes I feel like I should be handing out cards with tips on them because people don’t always remember my advice. I could create my own board game out of selling a home in Sacramento, now that I stop to think about it. Kind of like Monopoly with a get-of-jail-free card, I’d hand out a get-a-free-carbon-monoxide-detector card.

Except you know what home sellers do? They go to The Home Depot and buy a carbon monoxide detector, almost put out their eyes ripping open the stupid plastic packaging, stick the thing into the wall and, when they move, they take it with them. Before the appraiser shows up. I can’t tell you how many times that has happened, and I have to remind sellers not to swipe the carbon monoxide detector when they move, yet they forget.

Then, I get the call from the buyer’s agent demanding to know why there is no carbon monoxide detector in that house. Why didn’t I tell the seller about a carbon monoxide detector? California law requires every home must have a carbon monoxide detector, and appraisers will walk out the door, leaving the appraisal unfinished, if there is no carbon monoxide detector. The seller doesn’t recall taking it because it probably wasn’t the seller who packed it. It was a kid or the movers or somebody else. That’s why we need a sticker to go on the front of the carbon monoxide detector that says DON’T REMOVE.

Something similar to the tags that are attached to the underside of chairs that people always leave hanging down like cat toys. I mean, people don’t remove those things, why do they take the carbon monoxide detectors? Probably because they’re sticking out in the wall and in the way of moving a mattress down the hallway. Next thing you know, the carbon monoxide detector is in the box along with all of the lightbulbs. Please, leave the lightbulbs, people. I know they aren’t cheap anymore, but the value of a used lightbulb is not what you think it is.

Like those plantation shutters some sellers of short sales want to take with them. They’re not likely to fit another window. They are also fixtures and should stay with the home. If you had to sell those planation shutters on the open market, you’ll never get anywhere near what you paid for them. They are not valuable objects. If you remove them from a window, you leave holes in the window frames or the wall. But if you absolutely can’t sleep another night unless you are allowed to take the plantation shutters with you when you move, then remove them before you put the home on the market. You can strip remove just about anything from the house if you do it before you put the home on the market.

Once a buyer spies a fixture that is attached, it is a fixture that conveys with the home. Ask your Sacramento real estate agent what stays and what goes with the home. We’re happy to explain fixtures. But, please, leave the carbon monoxide detector behind. Even though a carbon monoxide detector does not fit the description of a fixture because it can be easily unplugged and removed, it needs to stay.

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