What are Appurtenances?
June 8, 2023
What are appurtenances and what do they include?
Appurtenances are legal real estate elements that are attached to a property. It is something that is on or attached to a property. These can include items like buildings, trees, fences, and driveways. In some cases, they may be considered part of the property itself, while in other cases they may be considered separate entities.
For example, a detached garage would typically be considered an appurtenance, while a deck built onto the side of a house would be considered part of the property. It's important to understand the difference between them and real property, as this can have an impact on issues like taxation and ownership. When in doubt, it's always best to consult with a qualified real estate professional.
We’ve defined appurtenance as an accessory or other item associated with the sale of real estate.
Why are appurtenances important for a home's value?
In real estate, the term "appurtenance" refers to any right or privilege that is attached to a piece of property and automatically transfers to any new owner of the property. They are important in the sale of a property, because they define the scope of an owner's interest in a piece of real property.
Without appurtenances, it would be difficult to determine what rights and privileges are attached to a particular piece of real estate. Additionally, they help to ensure that these rights and privileges are passed onto future owners of the property thus making them an essential part of real property law.
What are common examples of Appurtenances?
Exterior buildings are often considered appurtenances; such as a
- Detached Garage
- Shared driveway
- Shop space
- Building of any type that sits on the property in question
Outdoor features may also be appertained in the sale of a property
- Inground pools
- Landscape Features
- Even trees
Interior permanent fixtures and appliances like the following could also be considered.
- Hot water heaters
- Air conditioning
- Affixed kitchen appliances
- Ceiling fans
Lastly, rights, larger assets, or intangible items could be appropriated in a sale of real property.
- Existing crops
- Oil or mineral rights
- Water rights
Each item listed is typically considered part of the real property to which it is attached and generally transfers with the sale of the property. Exceptions may occur if the item is specifically excluded in the sales contract or deeds. If you have questions about whether something is classified as an appurtenance, it's best to consult with an experienced real estate attorney.
How can you determine if an appliance is included in the sale of a home or not?
When purchasing a home, it is important to understand what appliances are included in the sale. Some appliances may be considered fixed property, which is immovable property that is attached to the land itself or permanent fixtures within the home. Other appliances may be considered personal property, which is not attached to the land and can be removed from the home.
To determine if an appliance is fixed property or personal property, you will need to consider how it is attached to the home and whether it is considered part of the land itself. If an appliance is permanently fixed to the home, it is likely considered fixed property and included in the sale of the home.
However, if an appliance is not attached to the home or considered part of the land, it is likely considered personal property and not included in the sale. When in doubt, you should always ask the seller for clarification on which appliances are included in the sale of the home.
How to Remove or Alter an Appurtenance that is Causing a Problem with the Sale
In some cases, an appurtenance may cause problems for the property owner in selling their property, such as crowding the yard or blocking a window. There are a few options for removing or altering the structure or fixture.
First, you could simply remove the item from the property. This may mean cutting it apart and hauling it away, or selling it to someone who can use it elsewhere.Though that may not be an option for larger structures for a variety of reasons.
Alternatively, you could suggest to alter the appearance of any fixtures or structures to make it more compatible with the rest of the property.
For instance, the seller could trim a tree that is blocking the view from a window, or paint a fence that is detracting from the curb appeal of the home. With a little creativity, it is often possible to turn a nuisance into an asset.
While a home's valuation is mainly based on the home’s location and size, it’s important to remember that some appurtenances add value to the property when the client is considering removal.
When you might need a lawyer's help
There are a number of situations where consulting a lawyer may be necessary to help to deal with appurtenances.
When changing ownership of a property, all of the exterior buildings, fences, inground pools, hot water heaters, ceiling fans, and other appurtenances are transferred to the new owner. If the seller shares a driveway with a neighbor, they will need to determine and document who is responsible for maintaining it. The same might apply for shared crops in the sale of a farm.
In addition, if the seller has an easement on another person's property, you will need to make sure that it is properly recorded and that the terms of the easement are clear. Ultimately, a lawyer can help to protect the client’s interests in any situation involving appurtenances.
With a little knowledge, you can ensure that any appurtenances are an asset, not a liability. Appurtenances are important to understand when one is buying or selling property. It's crucial to know what you're getting your client (buyer or seller) into before they sign on the dotted line. Thanks for following along, and good luck on your real estate exam!
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