"Can I keep it?" This is a very common question amongst homebuyers, and comes up in almost every real estate transaction. The Realtor usually starts talking about fixtures vs. personal property to help the buyers determine what will be theirs and what won't be. There are, though, a lot of grey areas regarding what is considered a fixture and what is personal property.
Fixtures are items which are affixed to the property (usually bolted in). Typical examples of fixtures are light switches, plants in the ground, windows, mail boxes, garage doors, etc. Personal property includes items which can be easily moved and removed from the property. Examples are art work, potted plants, TVs, standing lamps, tables, etc. However, consider the following items: garage door clickers, sheds in the backyard, wall-mounted TV mounting brackets, hammocks, $10,000 chandeliers, pool equipment, window treatments, and gas log inserts. Not everything is cut and dry!
There is a section in the RPA (residential purchase agreement) that lists which items are included and excluded in the sale. Buyers need to write in specific items that are in the grey areas in the "inclusion" section if they want to keep them. Similarly, sellers will need to counter out items that they want to keep. A great tip for sellers is to remove the items you want to keep before the first showing/open house. This way, there is less chance of contention when the right buyer comes along.
With regard to fixtures and personal property...when in doubt, write it into your contract!