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Selling a House Without a Refrigerator

It’s no surprise that some sellers don’t want to leave their appliances behind when moving to their next home. After all, they may have recently purchased an innovative smart fridge or a double oven they always dreamed of, and aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to it. But selling a house without a refrigerator, stove, or dishwasher might be a big turnoff for buyers – particularly if they expect the house to come with appliances.

The good news is that when buying or selling a home, most non-permanent fixtures are negotiable. By stating in the contract what is and is not included in the sale, sellers can clear up confusion that could otherwise lead to an angry buyer. And by asking up front what comes with the house, buyers can predict what they will need to purchase after closing.

Is Selling a House Without Appliances Acceptable?

In the world of real estate, a seller can legally take anything that’s not a permanent fixture – and that would include appliances. This is often the case if appliances are newer and will fit well into their new living space.  

However, some custom appliances, such as refrigerators with panels that coordinate with cabinets, usually stay with the house. The following components are fixtures and considered part of the property. They are included in a home sale unless specifically noted in the contract:   

  • Cabinets
  • Installed hardware such as doorknobs and bathroom fixtures
  • HVAC units
  • Light fixtures
  • Ceiling fans
  • Window treatments such as curtain rods and blinds
selling a house without a refrigerator
Image by Max Rahugbovskiy by Canva.com

All Appliances Are Negotiable

While some homeowners prefer selling a house without a refrigerator or other appliances, most people do include them in the sale. This is especially true if their new home includes them. Others may leave them if the appliances are older or if they don’t want to go through the trouble of moving them. 

If appliances are brand new, custom-made, or high-end, and the seller does not plan to take them, the seller’s agent may include their value when suggesting an asking price for the home. Of course, if a buyer sees the appliances during a showing and has his heart set on keeping them, it’s best to make sure that the appliances will stay.

Sometimes if a home has been on the market for a while and received no offers, a seller will be willing to throw in appliances just to make the deal. Otherwise, a seller may agree to include the appliances with stipulations, for example that the buyer pay a higher price or cover extra closing costs. Again, it’s all negotiable and the real estate agents on both sides will make sure both parties are clear on expectations.  

Appliances that are not required to be included in the sale but are often negotiated include: 

  • Refrigerators
  • Washing machines and dryers
  • Above-ground hot tubs and swimming pools
  • Microwave ovens (non-built in)
  • Window unit air conditioners

Is It Necessary to Upgrade Appliances to Sell a Home?

In some markets, selling a house without appliances won’t break a deal. Many buyers in a seller’s market are just eager to find a home in their budget and are willing to pay for new appliances on their own if they have to. 

But if a seller is having no luck attracting buyers, it may be a good time to consider replacing the old avocado fridge. The same goes for appliances that aren’t working. However, it’s not necessary to get the most expensive models. According to the National Association of Realtors, kitchen upgrades only have a 67% return on investment. So while new appliances might help to sell the home, they won’t necessarily drive up the selling price. 

When deciding whether to replace appliances before selling, sellers should keep these things in mind:

Your Budget

If you’re already selling your home on a tight budget, buying new appliances might just put you in the hole. Even new low-end refrigerators are costly. 

If you do have wiggle room in your budget and think replacing the appliances will bring in more offers, opt for middle-of-the-road choices. As long as they look good enough to attract interest without breaking the bank, they will be worth the purchase.  

Your Potential Buyers

Selling a home without a refrigerator won’t matter if you live in an area where buyers purchase or bring their own favorite brand of appliance as soon as they move in. Upgrading yours before selling will likely be a waste of money for the same reason.

But if your home is in a neighborhood that appeals to first-time buyers, it makes sense to include shiny new (mid-level) appliances to sweeten the deal. Those buyers likely haven’t purchased appliances and will be happy with what comes with the home. 

The Condition of the Kitchen

If the kitchen is run down or outdated, it’s likely the new owner will plan to remodel. It doesn’t make sense to buy new appliances since the buyer will likely want to choose their own to go with the new decor.

Not Sure If Selling a House Without a Refrigerator is a Good Idea? Talk to Your Realtor

An experienced real estate agent has dealt with selling homes in various neighborhoods and with buyers who have different budgets. They will be able to say whether it’s best to include appliances in the sale or if it’s okay to take them along to the next home.

And a good agent will carefully read the buyer’s offer to identify any items the seller didn’t include on the listing sheet. For example, if only the fridge and dishwasher were originally on there but the buyer wants the stove, washer and dryer too, the realtor will point it out and discuss whether the seller is up for negotiating those items. If the seller were to overlook the request and end up taking those out of the home before closing, it could open up a whole legal can of worms. Long story short: It’s always wise to hire a knowledgeable realtor who will dot all the i’s and cross the t’s. 

At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties we have answers to all of your real estate questions and are here to help whenever you need us. 



Cover Image by pixelshot by Canva.com

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