Real Estate Word -- The Importance of Specifying Fixtures September 2009   

Hi Paul,

When you put your home on the market, you’ll want to first take some time to specify which items come with the house and which items don't.  Our first article highlights the importance of specifying “fixtures” so you can avoid confusion down the road.

We're all trying our best to help the environment but we need to also extend that green living philosophy to our pets!  Our second article offers some tips on how to lower your pets’ carbon paw print.

Finally, if your kids are bored with the lunches you pack, it’s time to 'think outside the lunch box'!  Our third article suggests some easy ways to ensure lunch isn’t a letdown.

Thanks so much for taking the time to check out our newsletter.  Please let us know if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles or real estate in general -- we'd love to hear from you!

Your friends in Real Estate
Rudi & Trish W.

In this issue...
Taking Everything But the Kitchen Sink! 
Your excitement is boundless as you walk through your new home a few days before closing.  Good feelings quickly turn sour though as you discover that the beautiful, antique chandelier you fell in love with has vanished.

Now imagine you're the seller.  You're feeling sentimental at the thought of leaving your home of so many years.  You’re getting ready to move and are carefully packing up the chandelier your grandmother passed on to you when you receive an irate call from the buyers who are livid that it’s been removed!

Unfortunately this scenario plays out all too often because the importance of addressing fixtures early on in the real estate process is often overlooked.  Real estate law isn’t always black and white in terms of what stays and what goes so if you’re planning on selling your home, you’ll want to make a list in advance of what you’re including and excluding.

A fixture is usually something that’s attached to the building in such a way that buyers will assume it's included such as light fixtures, ceiling fans and doorknobs.  Personal items (often referred to as chattels) are items such as potted plants, hanging mirrors and artwork.  Window coverings can be a murky area but curtain rods are usually considered fixtures while the actual curtains are not.

If a fixture has sentimental value, it’s best to remove it before the showing process rather than writing it into the exclusions.  If a seller doesn’t know it’s there then they won’t miss it.  If they see it during the showing, chances are they’ll fall in love with it and will be annoyed to discover later on that it’s not included with the home.

If you're taking a fixture with you but don’t want to take it down before you move, you must clearly state it in writing.  If you’re a buyer, make sure you read the listing carefully and ask your real estate agent for assistance if something’s not clear.  Some non-fixtures are negotiable, for example appliances are often written into a contract to make the home more attractive to first time buyers.

Ensure you proactively detail your exclusions (as well as inclusions) as soon as you put your home on the market in order to avoid upset buyers and unnecessary legal fees.  Whether you’re selling or buying, you’ll want a smooth transaction where both parties have ownership over what they expected and are happy with the outcome.

Reducing Your Petsí Carbon Paw Print 
Families everywhere are trying to do their bit for the environment but we often forget the environmental impact of our furry family members.  Pets are wonderful companions but the waste that Fido and Fluffy generate affects the environment in a huge way.  Here are some tips that will reduce your pets' carbon paw print:

  1. Rescue Me - There are thousands of pets in need of a good home.  Adopting an animal from a shelter is the ultimate form of recycling.

  2. Fix Me - We're faced with a huge pet overpopulation problem that results in daily euthanizations so ensure your pets are fixed.

  3. Play With Me - Purchase earth friendly products such as toys made with chemical free plastics.  If you have a cat, make them a toy by tying up an old sock full of catnip!

  4. Pamper Me - In addition to using earth friendly cleaning products around your home for Fido’s sake, invest in some environmentally friendly, natural products for cleaning and grooming your pets.

  5. Scoop My Poop - Scoop doo doo into biodegradable bags instead of plastic bags.  Cat owners should use plant based litters as clay litter comes from strip mining which isn’t environmentally friendly.

Help take environmental action on behalf of your pet by greening up its lifestyle.   Consumers spend billions of dollars each year on their four legged friends. With such a huge industry, a few eco-friendly choices here and there will end up making a big difference to our planet.

Thinking Outside the (Lunch) Box! 
It’s that time of year again when we have to think of inspiring school lunch ideas!  It’s frustrating when the lunch you lovingly pack for your little one is either traded or comes home uneaten, so here are a few fresh ideas:

  • Instead of the usual ham sandwich, mix it up by making mini pizzas on english muffins, tuna on pita bread, turkey tortillas pinwheels or bagels with apple butter.

  • Kids love to assemble things themselves so put in the fixings and encourage them to build their own sandwich – they’re more likely to eat it that way!

  • Make healthy desserts by using dates or dried fruits in cookies  Carrot cake and homemade banana bread will also be a big hit!  Make extra and freeze portions for down the road.

There are lots of simple ways to jazz up lunch box choices and sometimes it’s as simple as cutting sandwiches into fun shapes using cookie cutters or adding new, exotic fruit.  It's not always easy getting your kids to eat the right types of food but a little creativity will go a long way.

PS Oh by the way, we always appreciate any of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised help please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!
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