The Property

TLDR: This section describes what is inherently included in the purchase and what you’ll need to specify. 

What, exactly, are you selling?

At first glance, it seems obvious: You’re selling the property located at the mailing address―except it’s not that simple. As you may recall, property is then categorized further: Land, dwelling, fixtures, and personal property. To ensure you remember what inherently conveys with the property and what you’ll need to explicitly state, let’s go over some of the relevant terms:

*In the vast majority of cases. In Pennsylvania and Maryland, sometimes you’ll pay “ground rent” for use of the land. See “Ground Rent: WTF” below for more details. 

Does Stay or Does It Go? 

The property and fixtures are automatically included in the sale while personal property is not. However, one of the cool things about real estate is that almost everything is negotiable, so if you want personal property to stay, just make sure it’s in writing!

Personal property is anything that’s not permanently attached to the property, but personal property becomes a fixture when the item is attached to the property by permanent means. Expectations around what is included can often leave buyers frustrated at closing because what counts as a “fixture” leaves room for interpretation, and how this section is interpreted by each party usually isn’t revealed until settlement. 

If an item is affixed to the property but can be removed with some effort, it begs the question: Does it count as a fixture? The technical definition of a fixture is “personal property that is permanently attached to a structure or land, by means of bolts, screws, nails, cement, glue or other permanent attachment.” In the case of quasi-affixed items, it’s good practice to be specific in the contract when describing the transfer of items to avoid a contentious situation.

Tip: If you want it, put it in writing

The unfortunate reality is that on closing day, many a buyer will walk into their new property only to discover that the seller took something that the buyer had assumed would stay. Instead of making assumptions about what conveys, specificity in your offer will set expectations and (hopefully) limit any unpleasant surprises at settlement. Here are items you’ll want to clarify up front:

Alarm System

Built-in Microwave

Ceiling Fan

Central Vacuum

Clothes Dryer

Clothes Washer




Electronic Air Filter

Fireplace Screen/Door


Furnace Humidifier

Garage Opener with Remote

Gas Log

Hot Tub


Mounted Electronic Devices

Playground Equipment

Pool, Equipment, and Cover

Refrigerator with Ice Maker

Satellite Dish

Storage Shed

Stove or Range

Trash Compactor

Wall Oven

Water Treatment System

Window A/C Unit

Window Fan

Window Treatments

Wood Stove

A Sometimes Unwelcome Conveyance: Easements

You would have been informed of an existing easement upon purchasing your property if one was present. As a reminder, an easement is the right to use someone else’s land for a specific purpose. The title company will inform the buyer of any easements prior to transferring the title and deed. 

What are easements for?

Common justifications for easements are for utility companies to provide utilities or for a neighbor to drive across someone else’s land to access a main road.

Can I get rid of an easement?

It depends on the circumstances. You’ll need to talk to a real estate attorney to find out for sure. 

Ground Rent: WTF 

Predominantly found in Maryland and Pennsylvania, ground rent is an arrangement that separates ownership of a parcel of land and the dwelling. Originating as a means for colonists to build a home without significant upfront capital, colonists could rent the land from colonial governments or private landowners for small incremental payments. Today, these archaic agreements serve as more of a contractual nuisance than a means to establishing a homestead. 

A ground rent arrangement is a property co-ownership agreement that subsequent property owners inherit with the transfer of the real estate. These agreements are noted on the property’s deed and will be found by the title company or real estate attorney upon the transfer of deed. 

Local governments have begun offering solutions for ground rent lessees to terminate the antiquated arrangement. In some cases, ground rent may be permanently redeemed for as little as a few hundred dollars. For more details on ground rent, consult a real estate attorney who specializes in your area.