We are in the process of buying a foreclosure home and I am wondering about what we can do with the appliances that are in there? The realtor said that they belong to the previous owners and can come get them anytime but it’s highly unlikely they would. I find it a bit of an inconvenience using someone else’s stuff and would like to get ride of them. What options do we have?

  • 1
    If you don't want them what do you care if they come get them or not? Or are you asking how to get rid of them?
    – D Stanley
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 16:50
  • 1
    If you're asking how to get rid of them search for "appliance removal" or "appliance haul-off" or something like that in your area.
    – D Stanley
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 16:51
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    "come get them anytime". That's not entirely true. Your state will have laws about how long the owner has to reclaim them before you can legally dispose of them however you see fit. You may also want to verify that the lender has notified the owners that the clock is ticking on their ability to reclaim their possessions.
    – chepner
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 16:55
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    @DStanley "If you don't want them what do you care if they come get them or not?" Perhaps because (1) they are taking up space and (2) they are annoying unfinished business -- having to keep them around for however long until the previous owner decides to come by at an unknown time (potentially interrupting something else OP is doing) is an undesirable mental and logistical load.
    – nanoman
    Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 2:37
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    Unless there is specific language in your purchase contract that gives the former owner a grace period, the appliances are yours. You are not a storage facility for the previous owner(s). Commented Dec 30, 2022 at 17:35

2 Answers 2


As I understand it, the prior owners can't claim these after moving out. However, they can legitimately take with them anything that isn't affixed to the house with them when they move out. Dishwasher is attached to the plumbing, which makes it officially part of the house. A ceiling light fixture is wired in, so it's part of the house. Fridge and stove are generally just plugged in so they aren't. (I have no idea whether a fridge with an ice maker/cold-water connection is or isn't.)

If they don't take it when they move out, then after you purchase the house it will probably be considered abandoned, become your property, and you can do whatever you want with it. But this is one that I would ask the seller to guarantee... or ask a local real estate lawyer or real estate agent... and try to get them to put in writing.

Note that I said "legitimately". There have been instances where evicted tenants took things they weren't supposed to, or have damaged the building as a protest against the eviction. You could sue them for this, but if they're being foreclosed on that may be a waste of money. I'd instead ask my lawyer (you are using a lawyer's assistance in this purchase, right?) to make sure the terms of sale say that if this happens it's the seller's responsibility to restore the house to the expected condition, rather than making the sale an unqualified "as is at time of signing" or other not-our-problem phrasing.

A foreclosure purchase can be a good deal, if you don't feel guilty about it. Or it can be a mess that has to be patched up before you can even consider moving in. There's almost certain to be stuff that the prior owners couldn't afford to fix, but hopefully your inspector will find most of that. Good luck!


Check to see what the sales contract says.

Also keep in mind that some jurisdictions require that when selling the property some of the appliances/fixtures must be included. Typically this is built in things like the dishwasher, but it can also include appliances such as the refrigerator or the washing machine. In the non-appliance category things such as a chandelier, and the shutters must stay with the home.

In some cases this is negotiable, but in the case of the foreclosure the person who was in the house has been out of the house for weeks or months. You want to protect your investment, and you might not want the former owner to have access to things they aren't supposed to get.

  • The sales contract (between the bank and the buyer) doesn't affect the original owner, who is not a party to that contract, in any way. The bank can sell whatever they own. If the appliances belong to the original owner they are not the bank's property and the bank can't sell them to the buyer. Commented Aug 4, 2022 at 13:16
  • @PeteBecker the new owner can’t expect to just sit there for decades waiting for the previous owner to maybe show up and grab stuff.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Jan 1, 2023 at 22:27
  • @RonJohn — you can’t sell what you don’t own. Commented Jan 1, 2023 at 23:09
  • @PeteBecker the previous owners should have taken what was theirs when they left
    – RonJohn
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 20:07
  • @RonJohn -- yes, if they had taken them there wouldn't be a question. That, in itself, doesn't give the bank ownership or a right to sell them. My point is simply that a sales contract from the bank doesn't transfer anything that the bank does not, in fact, own, and checking the terms of the sale contract won't tell you what the status of the appliances is. Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 20:12

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