A. The basic rule is that you’re free to take anything that you didn’t specifically say would be staying. Make sure your agent doesn’t include anything in the sales particulars that you plan to take with you – that way, your buyer/s won’t expect it to be there when they take ownership. Secondly and more importantly, at the beginning of the conveyancing process your solicitor will ask you to complete a ‘Fixtures and Fittings’ form, on which you are required to list the specific items which are to stay with the property. This document forms part of the legal contract between you and your buyer, so you can’t just change your mind on a whim - otherwise you are technically breaching the terms of that contract.
The one real exception to the basic rule involves the issue of safety. So, for example, while you are perfectly free to remove any light fittings which aren’t specifically listed, you are not entitled to leave bare wires hanging out of the ceiling or walls.
Needless to say, if you do decide that you want to take the carpets and curtains after all – despite having originally promised to leave them behind – you must inform your solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity.
It’s worth remembering that the Fixtures and Fittings form also covers the garden so, if you don’t actually specify which plants and shrubs are staying, you are theoretically entitled to take them all with you. However, I suspect most people would regard this as rather extreme! If you want to dig up any specific plants and take them to your new home then make sure that it is mentioned in the forms, your solicitor is informed as soon as possible or you have the blessing of your buyers.