In a sale of real estate, generally, a chattel is property that is not permanently attached to the land or building, and can be moved. Conversely, a fixture is property that is attached to the land or building in such a way that its removal would damage or harm the land or building. The way many Agreements of Purchase and Sale are worded is to force the parties to specifically identity those chattels that are to be included as part of the purchase, and those fixtures that are to be specifically excluded from the purchase. All other chattels not specifically listed are assumed to not be included, and all other fixtures not specifically listed are assumed to be included. A problem arises in some cases with respect to classification of property as a chattel or fixture. A microwave oven sitting on a counter-top is a chattel. However, once that microwave becomes affixed to or forms an integral part of a kitchen cabinet system, it can become a fixture. From the perspective of buyers and sellers and their agents, if you are not sure which category an item falls within, you should make your intentions clear in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale by specifically identifying the property in question.

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