Can You Keep the Curtains When You’re Selling a House?

Most people do not get to buy and sell houses on a regular basis, especially if they are not realtors. This explains why a lot of confusion can arise about what to leave or take when selling your property, particularly with personal effects like curtains. So, can you keep the curtains when you’re selling a house?

Can You Keep The Curtains When You’re Selling a House?

Yes, you can keep your curtains when you’re selling a house. Most people regard curtains as personal property. So, as long as they are not permanently attached to the house, you can take them off and keep them when selling your house. However, you cannot take along the rods and poles attached to the wallsall based on typical contract language. That said, you can always specify in your listing and reaffirm in the purchase contract which items you are excluding from the sale.

Woman packing her things before moving out

The general principle when determining the things you should keep or leave when selling your property is that you cannot keep any items that are fixtures and improvements. This refers to items that are fixed to the property. If you keep anything that was supposed to stay without negotiating with the buyer, there is the possibility of ruining the sale or even facing a lawsuit.

How to Determine What to Keep or Take When Selling a House

The general rule is that fixtures stay and you cannot keep them without any prior negotiations with the buyer once your home is under contract. Regardless, it can be difficult to determine whether some items qualify as fixtures, especially if you also installed them during your stay in the house.

According to the standard in most sales contracts, any item that is permanently attached to the house or that is fixed in place. This generally includes electrical fittings, central air conditioning systems, and heating systems. Shelves, cabinets, and mirrors that are in place, as well as the landscaping, are all considered fixtures. 

If you are still unsure about an item being a fixture, you can apply the MARIA Tests. The MARIA Test can help you narrow down any uncertainties about an item.

  • Method of attachment: You can determine whether an item is a fixture from the way the item is attached. Can the item be easily removed or is it permanently fixed? If the item is bolted in position or screwed in, then it is a fixture.
  • Adaptability: You should also understand the role the item plays in the house. Can you remove it without causing any damage to the house no matter how little? If it will cause any damage or if it is integral to the house, then you cannot remove it.
  • Relationship of parties: The party asking for an item is also worth considering. This is because the buyers are likely to win if a dispute occurs between the buyer and seller. 
  • The intention of the party: At the time of installing an item, was the item intended to be permanent? Your answer to this question will provide more clarity on the steps to take, especially during negotiations.
  • Agreement between the parties: Lastly, you have to consider the sales contract states. You can always negotiate with the buyer to determine what you can keep. Keep in mind that sales contracts typically differ from state to state. In California, having the expert opinion and advice of a flat fee realtor like CA Flat Fee can be very helpful.
White curtains

Things to Leave When Selling Your House

While leaving or keeping some items may cause some level of confusion when selling, there are certain things that you should not take along with you. Here is a list of things you definitely have to leave in place when selling your house:

Immovable Property

Any item that is immovable or permanently fixed in a house should be left when selling the house. Once an item is nailed down, mounted, or bolted in place, it has to stay. This typically includes built-in furniture, storage sheds, and fences. A common area of dispute is often with mounted televisions. Be sure to clarify details about the mount and the television with the buyer.

Window Treatments

While curtains are considered personal property, other window treatments like blinds are regarded as fixtures since they were attached to the house, and removing them would cause some damage to the walls. Mirrors are another item to consider. If the mirrors are hung, you can take them, however, if they are bolted in, they are fixtures.

Lighting Fixtures

A lot of home sellers usually have attachments to certain lighting fixtures such as their priced chandeliers. Regardless of the emotional attachment, you may have with a lighting fixture, you have to leave them when selling the house. However, you can choose to have them replaced before listing. 

Real estate agent holding a for sale sign


Buyers expect that outdoor natural elements like trees and plants are part of the sales agreement. Permanent and semi-permanent structures like sheds, fountains, built-in fire pits and grills, and garden statuary. If you plan to keep any of these, you may consider taking them out before listing your home or include them as an exclusion in the contract.

If the house you want to buy or sell is located in California, consider having CA Flat Fee realtors handle your transaction. Our team of real estate professionals will handle the process from listing to closing and provide you with all the necessary advice to make well-informed decisions, all for a fixed price of $5000 instead of the traditional 3-6% commission.

Related Questions

Can I Leave My Shower Curtains Behind When Selling a Property?

Shower curtains are generally considered to be personal items and they barely influence the deal in any way. It is best to remove or replace them before the sale if you specifically which to keep them – or specify in the contract. 

Should You Leave Appliances When Selling a Property?

No, you do not have to leave your appliances behind. Most appliances are considered mobile elements since you can unplug and remove them without causing damage to the house. To be safe, it is best to include which items will remain and which will be removed. 


Curtains are personal items that you can keep when selling your home. However, you still have to determine if you can keep most of the items in your house or if you have to leave them behind. If you want to avoid this entire process, you can just choose to remove any item you want to keep and repair any damage before you list the house for sale or otherwise specify in the contract.