An "as-is" sale really does only this: It informs the buyer that the seller has no intention of doing any repairs to the property, and puts the buyer on notice that s/he should have the property inspected exhaustively, as the buyer will be taking possession of the property in its current state. Normally the words "as is" are written boldly in the sales agreement and are initialed by the buyer, so no one can later claim they didn't know.
While selling "as is" means you get what you see, it doesn't mean that the buyer gets what s/he can't see. Complete disclosure is still required. Selling "as is" doesn't interfere with the requirement of disclosure.
In states, like North Carolina – which is a "caveat emptor" (buyer beware) state, the seller can elect “No representation” on the sellers’ disclosure form. So, essentially they don’t have to tell the buyers anything about the property. However, if there is a known defect in the property, then it must be noted on the NC Residential Property Disclosure Statement. (Not noting this, could possibly lead to a law suit.) Additionally, the listing agent is held to a higher standard and must disclose any material facts that they know or should know which might affect the value of the property. The NC Residential Property Disclosure Statement should be provided to the buyer before or during the purchase contract negotiation process.