What Does “Sold As-Is” Mean?
Sellers have the option to list their house for sale as-is when they wish to opt-out of repairing or updating the house before selling. It is an easy way of getting out of your home. Unfortunately, it means there will be no guarantee from the seller that everything in the house is in working condition. If you buy a home like this, sold “as-is”, and later find issues with it, it will be your problem.
With that being said, “as-is” sellers are still obligated to meet federal and state minimum disclosure standards, which include telling the buyer about harmful or threatening aspects of the house.
“As-is” does not mean that items will be broken to the point of no return. There are a variety of reasons that a seller would choose to list a home as-is even with minimal issues. The seller may not be able to afford repairs and need the money to pay for a new home. The seller might want to move quickly and have little to no time to wait for a major house repair before selling. There are also plenty of non-repair-related reasons for a seller to list their home “as-is”.
Should You Buy A “Sold As-Is” House?
Before jumping into this situation, ask yourself a few things to answer these questions:
- Can I afford to repair the damages to the house?
- Am I financially equipped to handle major structural damage?
- Will I have a place to stay if the house is under construction?
- Will I be able to afford both an inspection and an appraisal?
- Can I afford a quality agent who has experience with “as-is” sales?
- Will I be purchasing this house not as a first property, but as an investment?
If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, an “as-is” home might be right for you; make sure you consult a financial advisor or real estate professional before moving forward. If not, you’re probably better off working with sellers who are ready to negotiate.
Home Inspections are Most Important For “As-Is” Sales
If you want to buy an “as-is” home, it will be very important that you schedule a home inspection. This is when you will determine if there are any major issues or unfixable features. This gives you a good idea of what you’ll need to fix and how much you will need to spend in order to fix it.
A home inspection is different from an appraisal and is not usually a required part of the mortgage process, but it is just as important. Inspectors are there to look for any major problems. Appraisers are there to assess the value of the home that is being sold. Your mortgage lender will probably require an appraisal, but the home inspection will be an optional part of the home buying process.
You Will Still Be Entitled To Required Disclosures
Buying an “as-is” home doesn’t mean that you will be giving up your right to disclosures. State and federal regulations dictate what the seller is required to tell you about known issues.
Each state is different and has its own disclosure laws on what a seller is obligated to tell the buyer about known issues. Some state disclosure regulations include the following:
whether someone died on the property
If a seller doesn’t disclose a known problem that’s within your state’s list of required disclosures, you may be able to sue for damages or repair costs.