Sift through descriptions for active homes for sale and you will see the catch phrase “smart home” peppered throughout many listings. Given our technology dependent lives, it’s no surprise this is a strong selling point for current home buyers. But what smart home technology remains in a home and what can sellers take with them?
It turns out everything that is detachable requires clarification by both parties. Ideally, the listing agent should take inventory of all fixtures, devices, technology and portable upgrades throughout the home prior to placing the home on the market in order to avoid conflict with potential future buyers. How specific do you have to be? Very.
Technology and gadgets that seem like a selling feature may include the Ring camera that is now your doorbell (and records your Amazon addiction), the Nest thermostat that cools you off during a Miami heat wave, and the Sonos surround sound speakers that belt out Hamilton soundtrack in unison. Each need to be clearly disclosed as an exclusion if the seller wants to take items post sale.
In the event that these types of products are not labeled as exclusions, the buyers should not assume the high-tech devices are included in the sale. Prior to putting in an offer, a buyer should point out elements they value and want included in the purchase agreement. Afterall, everything is a negotiation.
By all means, don’t wait until the walkthrough when you see the original doorbell reinstalled or the manual thermostat showcasing its yellowing color or the wires hanging out where there were once speakers activated by Alexa or Siri. These missing things are hard to dispute as a “fixture” as they are portable and easily detachable. Removing smart home technology is not akin to say removing Central AC unit or a pool pump. According to floridarealtors.org, “The determination of whether or not an item is a fixture involves an analysis of the personal property – whether the item is affixed to the realty to the extent it becomes permanent and whether removal of the item impairs the property. This is specific to the facts of each case and gets trickier depending on the item.” So heed Beyonce’s advice: If you like it, you better put a ring on it.