Help!! Need to change lighting fixtures

elle481February 9, 2009

So here we go moving again. Really thought I would be here forever and just threw out the fixtures I removed from the move here 5 years ago and now we need to replace the stuff I love and will take with me. Since we live in New England, the Williamsburg polished brass chandelier was always a great replacement in our dining room. Lowes and Home Depot would carry them for around $40, but just checked both today and not a Williamsburg in sight!!!! I also need to replace a rather large flush mount Waterford entryway fixture. It makes the entry look wonderful with all of the cuts and I'm afraid that what we replace it with will make the foyer look flat. I am not willing to leave a $500 fixture for the new owners in this market, plus, they probably won't know the value and replace it anyway.

I have been told during all my other moves to replace BEFORE you list, and it was never a problem because my home was never really decorated. This time it is causing me headaches. The decor of the home really makes it look WOW and I'm so afraid of losing that look, but I am just not willing to live $$$$ of fixtures for the next guy. What have you done?

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We've always left every light fixture behind. Having nice light fixtures probably contributed to our homes selling quickly. To me it would be a no brainer -- if a $500 light fixture makes the foyer look WOW and helps to sell the home quicker, then I'd personally leave it. Unless it's an heirloom. But I'd also have so much fun buying new light fixtures for my new home. My hubby would be complaining the entire time too. If you decide you must take the light fixtures down -- do it before you list. You can try Ebay for replacements.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 10:31PM
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When we bought our house there was a huge chandelier over the dining room table. Ceiling is 14ft. at that point and the light was dramatic. Condition of sale was they took their chandelier with them. It came up at closing and we disputed this. The lawyer said the sellers would give a $1,000.00 credit for the light as it held sentimental feeling for the seller.

We eventually agreed and a week after we moved in, the seller had a electrician take down this monster and left us a hole in the ceiling. We took the $1,000 and put can lights above our table (hole had to be closed).

Offer them a credit. I'm getting my house ready to for sale and after doing some updates, I want to take my new vanity and top.

Don't think that would work!


    Bookmark   February 9, 2009 at 11:52PM
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If the impact of that Waterford light is so dramatic that it creates a fabulous first impression, I'd be very tempted to leave it - and tell the buyers what it is. If they don't want it, ask for it. You could try a Waterford outlet store to see if they carry anything comparable at a lower price (we were at one recently that was dramatically marking things down), or check ebay. I'd also check ebay for the polished brass chandelier or check local antique/lighting stores.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 9:00AM
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I know what you mean about the Waterford light. I told my husband that I didn't think we spent that much for it as we did buy it at the outlet. He is still not convinced though. We will check this weekend to see how much they are now going for and I will make the decision at that point. Walking into a house and getting a great first impression when you enter is very important. I think that replacing the other fixtures will still make the home look almost as nice if I can find what works and doesn't look cheap.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 4:16PM
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If you want to take light fixtures take them down and replace them before putting the house on the market.

If you leave then up a buyer will want them.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 4:54PM
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In my state, installed fixtures are considered "Real Property" (not "personal property"), and falls under the same type of installed item as the countertops, flooring, windows, trees & plants, etc. You can't take it with you.

For the fixture, if you intend to take it with you but want to leave it installed while it's on the market, you must state up front that it's not included with the house. The buyer will either not care (most won't), or if they love it as much as you do, maybe they will make you an offer which would specifically say they want the light included...and negotiate $$ from there in the Purchase Agreement.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 4:40PM
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I have very high end lighting. When I sold my moms house I "showed" the house with the "wow" lighting and installed "basic" fixtures after the sale when I was moving out. Never had an angry call from the buyer thinking they were getting a bait and switch. I would never expect high end removable items to remain with the house I purchased. I don't even expect the curtain rods to stay.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 5:40PM
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I was able to change two fixtures out of the three. I am keeping the fixture over my kitchen table and will give a credit to the buyers at closing so they can get what they want. To change it would have changed the whole high end look of the room. We will see what happens when the public comes in. At this point we are still behind schedule for listing. We were supposed to be on at the end of the week but we keep on hitting silly obsticals that put up behind schedule. Now we have to replace a window right in the front of our house because of wood rot!!!!! I HATE WOOD WINDOWS!!! In my next life, everything will be vinyl and low maintenance!!!! I'm too old for this!!!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 7:36PM
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gamecock, did you take the toilet and faucets too? They are also "removable". I think that you were extremely lucky that the buyers did not ask for those fixtures. They are considered permanent fixtures that stay in the home.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 9:30PM
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Terriks, funny thing, when we sold our first house we also took everything!! I had made special energy efficient window treatments that I was going to use in the new place (never did), had lighting fixtures my parents had bought us that we loved and were special to us (they weren't very expensive, but had sentimental value), and had a very pretty mailbox that I had hand painted and loved! When we signed the contract to sell, the agent told us that we could take our fixtures as long as we replaced them with lights. So, ok, we did. We replaced them with bare bulb porcelain fixtures and we didn't do it to be mean. The fixtures were ours and we figured that they could put in the fixtures they wanted. Who the heck would want anyones stuff? btw, the original fixtures in the home weren't much different, as the home was build in the early 1900's and had these ornate metal ceiling fixtures with bare bulbs in them also! We did not replace the window treatments either because there really weren't any when we first moved in, just granny type inexpensive kitchen curtain type things that you would find in a 5&10, nothing special. Aside from the Living room and dining room, the bedroom curtain all went with our bed spreads and we took them too and did use those in our next home. When we met the new owners a few weeks after, the wife asked me why I didn't take the mailbox. I smiled and said I though they would like it and left it for them. I didn't realize till years after that she was being sarcastic since I took everything else. We also didn't realize until we moved out of our next home that we should have replaced what we took down with "like" items!
I also know that most home owners in lower priced homes took their refridgerators with them. I thought that was strange but that seemed to be the custom in the states I have lived in. I guess it was because it was plugged in as are portable dishwashers that are taken. I have learned through the years that when I buy a home, I ask what things are included, and when we go to contract, I make sure that those things are listed in the contract and at final walk-through, I make sure they are still there!! I have learned though my mistakes, never to assume anything comes with the house!! ~Elle

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 11:33PM
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Elle, I'm in NY and was told you can take whatever you want as long as you replace it or give credit. You can take your refrigerator without credit.

I was thinking of taking my wood floors because they turned out so beautiful after having them refinished. They were covered with carpet for 30 yrs. They told me I couldn't.

Good luck with your sale,

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 12:11AM
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Please be a good seller and replace the light fixture before you list the house. It would be crazy (although not unheard of) for someone to buy, or not to buy, your house because of one or two light fixtures.

As a seasoned buyer, I would not accept a credit (hole in the ceiling scenario) nor an unseen replacement (once got a $5 tin pie plate with a bare bulb that replaced a lovely chandelier that the seller was upfront they wanted to keep, but I didn't think they'd be that cheap in replacement), but I've been around the block a few times now.

You might try - I've bought faucets from them with great service, great prices, and they have a pretty big lighting section. When I was comparing specific lighting with the big box stores, they had better prices.

My RE instructor said to imagine picking up a house and shaking it - whatever falls out you can take. Anything "held" to a house by a simple plug counts as falling out, such as a floor lamp. But anything that is wired in, like most ceiling lighting, doesn't fall out. And changing it without telling the buyer up front is "bait & switch" for sure. I think telling the buyer that you're keeping something such as a chandelier that's an heirloom (or whatever) just calls too much attention to it. I'd switch it out beforehand to avoid the issue. Simply saying something is "removable" is subject to far too much interpretation. Geesh, the front door is "removable".

Of course, there are still some tricky "fixtures". I can picture a fridge falling out of the tilted house, unless it's got an ice maker, well then you start getting tricky because it has plumbing attached to it. Most dishwashers are mounted as with some microwaves built-in. Curtain rods and window treatments can be tricky, but I've been told that if they match the wallpaper/decor, they're supposed to stay (i.e. we had a model home where one room was covered in the same pink floral - so we left the matching duvet and throw pillows to go with the wallpaper - all 4 walls - and curtains - yikes it was ugly). I know there have been other threads regarding bathroom mirrors, since people stopped putting up plain square glass wall mirrors and now hang framed picture mirrors.

Okay, off my soapbox now.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 2:44PM
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The Waterford factory closed at the end of January so if you really love your light fixture make sure you can get another one before leaving the current one. If you are going to take the fixture definately do the replacement before you start showing the house.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 3:39PM
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