They say you can’t take it with you when you die, but how about when you move? Some say that if it ain’t nailed down it’s yours to take, but is this true? What’s the general rule on what you can and can’t take?

Section 9 of the REIWA Joint from of General Conditions talks a lot about the “Seller Representation and Warranty” such as “the property will be in the same state and condition it was in immediately before the Contract Date”. Doesn’t that just mean the garden has to be the same and the general condition of the house has to be much the same as when you inspected it?

If you find items are taken without your consent for which you believe should otherwise have remained, you may be entitled to a reduction in the purchase price. Trouble is, you may not find out until you take possession and by then it may be too hard to track down the seller, especially if they have moved interstate or abroad.

When in doubt about what will stay or go just ask the question and have specifics noted on the contract, after all you might get some additional items thrown in that you may otherwise have to replace and purchase at your own cost.

Here’s a list of the most contentious items

• Dishwasher
Stays/Goes.
If the dishwasher is integrated into the kitchen cabinets and where you have to remove the kick board then it is a fixture and should stay, otherwise don’t be surprised if it goes.
Top Tip: If you want the dishwasher to stay, have it noted on the contract.

• Microwave
Stays/Goes.
If the microwave is integrated into the kitchen cabinets and where you have to remove a board or part of the cabinetry then it is a fixture and should remain, otherwise don’t expect it to remain.
Top Tip: If you want the microwave to stay, have it noted on the contract

• Washing machine/ dryer
Goes.
These items and their wall fixings are generally accepted as being the property of the outgoing owner, don’t expect them to remain in the house when you take possession.

• Plants and trees
Stays.
Other than potted plants all other plants and trees should remain in place.

• Reticulation
Stays.
All underground reticulation should remain especially if the house and garden has been advertised to prospective buyers as being reticulated

• Aircon
Stays.
Top tip: make sure you confirm with the real-estate agent that there is no money owing on the aircon. If there is, it will only be an issue for you if is noted on the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR). The installer may have the right to reclaim what is still theirs!

• Solar panels
Stays.
Top tip: make sure you confirm with the real-estate agent that there is no money owing on the solar panels. If there is, it will only be an issue for you if is noted on the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR). The installer may have the right to reclaim what is still theirs!

• Garden hose
Goes.
While sometimes left behind don’t expect you will be gifted one!

• Shed
Goes/Stays.
Sheds are generally considered a chattel and unless expressly noted on the contract will stay but small garden sheds large enough to only hold a wheel barrow and some tools don’t necessarily fall into this category.
Top Tip: If you want it to stay, have it noted on the contract.

• Swimming pool
Stays.
Below ground pools are a given but above ground pools may be taken unless advertised in the sale of the property.

• Pool cleaner (creepy crawly)
Goes/Stays.
The expectation is that this is a piece of essential pool equipment but don’t be fooled, it might not be there when you move in.
Top Tip: If you want it, have it noted on the contract

• Overhead projector (theatre room)
Stays/Goes.
Don’t expect it to stay. If you want it, make sure you note this on the contract as a condition of purchase.

• Plumbed refrigerator
Stays/Goes.
Don’t expect it to stay. If you want it, make sure you note this on the contract as a condition of purchase.

• Outdoor free standing Spa
Stays/Goes.
Don’t expect it to stay unless the property was marketed as having a spa, then it has to stay.
Top Tip: Ask if it has Council approval

• Gazebo
Stays.
Top Tip: make sure you confirm with the real-estate agent that the Gazebo was granted building approval. Retrospective approval or demolition can be costly!
Top Tip #2: Take out Title Insurance to cover you for any number of surprises. This one off policy is a must for renovated properties.

• Ornamental statues
Stays/Goes.
A concrete swan or garden gnome is likely to go but a much large statue that is affixed to the ground should stay unless expressly noted on the contract.

• Mounted TV
Stays/Goes.
Don’t expect it to stay. If you want it, make sure you note this on the contract as a condition of purchase.

• BBQ
Stays/Goes.
Don’t expect it to stay unless the property was marketed as having the outdoor entertaining area. Same goes for the outdoor fridge!
Top Tip: Like we say…if you want it, have it noted on the contract

• Chook pen
Stays/Goes.
Don’t expect it to stay and don’t be surprised if it’s there…chickens included!

• Light fixtures
Stays.

• Outdoor lighting
Stays/Goes.
Permanent light fixings must stay but don’t expect the typical strand of ornate globes arranged around a tree and plugged into the nearest wall socket to remain.

• Car bodies & junk
Stays/Goes.
Don’t be surprised if you are left with the burden and cost of removal. Be sure to expressly state in the contact the removal of unwanted junk.

If years of hearing horror stories from settlement agents has taught us anything, it is to make sure you get everything in writing. Understand what is staying and what is going because sometimes even if it’s nailed down it’s taken.