When in doubt, spell it out in the contract. Furthermore, if the seller or the real estate agent orally advises you that a particular item will convey, have that written into your real estate contract.
When real property is involved, oral statements will generally not be admissible in court. The stakes are too high (especially with property values appreciating as they have in recent years). There can be a lot of confusion when the parties do not put their promises and commitments in writing.
Too many home buyers have been disappointed because they relied on what the agent or the seller said -- or what they thought the agent said -- and did not reduce those representations to writing in the sales contract.
Your specific question has stumped a lot of people, including several law professors to whom I posed it. Is that second refrigerator a fixture? Does it matter?
In your case, my first question is whether the real estate agent was your agent or the sellers' agent. If the latter, I would argue that either the second refrigerator should stay with the property, or else the agent should buy you a second one. This is based not on the fact that it is a fixture, but on the promises made by the seller's agent -- promises on which you relied.
The sellers, on the other hand, may have a case against their agent, if that agent did not have the legal authority to make the representation about the refrigerator.
To be on the safe side: Put everything into your written sales contract and have it signed by the buyers and sellers.
Benny L. Kass is a Washington lawyer. For a free copy of the booklet "A Guide to Settlement on Your New Home," send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Benny L. Kass, Suite 1100, 1050 17th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036. Readers may also send questions to him at that address.