Keeping Appliances During Foreclosure

Your home is being foreclosed by the bank, and you’re moving out. You know that you’re allowed to take your personal items, like clothes, desks, artwork and everything else that you purchased. These furnishing can go with you since you brought them to the home initially.

But what about appliances? Are they yours, or do they stay with the house?

They can be a gray area. Typically, if they’re built into the home, you have to leave them where you found them. If they’re free-standing and you own them, you can take them along.

For example, you can take a washer and dryer that you put in the garage, a TV that you put in the living room, and a microwave sitting on the kitchen counter. However, you can’t generally take out a dishwasher that is built into the cabinets, a garbage disposal system that is connected to the sink — or the sink itself — or a hard-wired home alarm system.

The gray areas can be substantial. If the TV is built into the wall, does it have to stay? What if it’s just mounted on the wall, like a picture? Can you take a fridge that has cabinets custom-built around it, or does it then count as a built-in appliance, not a free-standing unit?

All homes have different types of appliances, so the answers may depend on the situation. Generally, you hear people say that you’re allowed to take things that aren’t nailed down, but it’s important to know what really qualifies. Be sure to ask the right questions and understand all of your legal rights when facing foreclosure. You may even find ways to prevent foreclosure so you don’t have to worry about what you can and cannot take.