In the housing market, if someone sells you a lemon, squeezing out some lemonade could mean wringing out your wallet as well. Purchasing a house in “as-is” condition means that there are no guarantees from the seller on the home’s physical condition; you’re accepting any faults that might exist.
However, “not all as-is properties are distressed,” says real estate agent Katie Messenger of Bello Dimora Real Estate Network. Financial concerns are a common reason that sellers choose to list a home as-is, removing them from the responsibility of repairs and the sometimes costly fixes from home inspections. Or sometimes, the seller lives elsewhere and doesn’t want to deal with managing the repairs before selling.
“Other times the house is in good condition, and it’s an estate, so the executor may just want to sell the home and move on with as little hassle as possible,” Messenger says.
When buying a house as-is, how can you be sure you’re getting a deal and not a dud? In-House Realty broker Rosanna Rivera shares what you need to know before buying a home as-is.
Insist on a Home Inspection
“Every single home buyer in America should obtain a home inspection before buying a home,” says Rivera. “Not only is a home inspection a crucial element, but as any real estate agent will tell you, it offers disclosures that an agent can’t provide.”
Even with a home inspection, the responsibility to disclose any known issues still remains with the seller. Obvious defects should be apparent in the home inspection; however, sellers must acknowledge any known hidden defects in the property disclosure form. If an expensive repair need is revealed in the home inspection that’s much pricier than what the seller originally disclosed, then the buyer has the option to walk away.