According to Cheeseman (2010), “Real property is immovable or attached to immovable land or buildings; whereas, personal property is movable.” (p. 754) Remember, specifically identifying something to be personal property in a contract of sale helps to define the property as real or personal. It does not mean it will always work in your favor; however, it does not hurt to have an agreement in writing before it becomes an issue.
Analyze the following scenario and answer the questions provided below:
Larry’s gaming outlet purchased John’s video rental store. A walkthrough was done prior to the closing and there were several items in the store. The seller, John, advised Larry, the buyer, that he would be taking items that were part of his inventory, and both the buyer and seller agreed they trusted each other to use common sense to remove only the appropriate items of personal property.
The day after the closing, Larry sent his manager, Sally, to start moving things in. She arrived to find everything gone—the place had been completely cleaned out. Sally called Larry to report that everything had been removed, and Larry called his attorney who immediately asked what real property was removed.
Larry thought back to the walkthrough and listed the following items:
An overhead, built-in security camera system with an alarm.
A security walk-through “archway” with a high-pitched audible alarm previously used by the video store owner to detect any unauthorized videos from leaving the store.
Four, 73-inch high definition TV monitors used to deliver streaming video throughout the store.
An external speaker system tied into the four monitors that enabled the store owners to broadcast sales and advertisements.
A custom-built diesel powered generator capable of sustaining power for a minimum of seven days in the event of an intermittent power failure or an extended power outage in the area of the store.
A large display case built into the floor that held the cash register and was the first area customers would see as they entered the store.
Respond to the following questions:
1. Considering the definition of real property and personal property, how would you classify each item? Present your rationale based on the differences between personal and real property.
2. What questions would you ask Larry’s attorney concerning the sales agreement and the items?
3. If you were Larry, what options do you think you have at this time?
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