What is an "as-is" sale?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty of Newport

What is an "as is" sale?

It's difficult to know from an advertisement what "as is" means with respect to the sale of a residential property. It can mean that the property is being sold in its present condition and without a warranty. In other words: The seller makes no guarantees about the property's condition.

In some states, like California, sellers may provide a general warranty of habitability when they sell a home. Generally, this means that the roof is free of known leaks and the dwelling systems like plumbing and electrical are in working order. With an "as is" sale, such a warranty probably wouldn't apply. Probate, trust and foreclosure sales are often "as is" sales. The sellers of these properties could have acquired them under adverse conditions (either because a relative died or because a buyer defaulted on a mortgage). In these cases, the seller might have little, if any, actual knowledge about the property condition. In many cases, sellers of probates and foreclosures haven't even seen the properties.

FIRST TIME TIP: Before you agree to purchase a property "as is", make sure that you have it thoroughly inspected. If it's a foreclosure, you might not be able to include an inspection contingency in the purchase contract. In this case you'll have to complete inspections before you make an offer. When several buyers are competing for a hot listing, the winner is often the buyer who makes an "as is" offer. Sellers usually prefer an "as is" offer because it relieves them of the responsibility of completing repairs before closing. The buyers take on the burden of repairs which cuts down the hassle factor for the seller. Just make sure that you include an inspection contingency in an "as is" offer unless you've had a chance to complete all necessary inspections before you made the offer.

Sometimes purchase contracts are written "as is" for convenience in dealing with the buyer's lender. Let's say that the sellers had a termite inspection done before they put their home on the market. The termite report calls for the shower, floor and tub in the bathroom to be replaced. The cost of this work will run $5,000. The sellers are willing to pay for the repair work but the buyers would prefer to do the work themselves so that they can remodel the bathroom to their own specifications. So rather than asking the sellers to do the termite repairs before closing, the buyers write their purchase contract to be "as is" regarding termite work. And they ask the sellers to credit them $5,000 at closing.

Buyers purchasing a property that they intend to renovate extensively often prefer to purchase the property on an "as is" basis. For example, if the house has a $25,000 termite bill and it needs a new $10,000 roof, the buyers might prefer to reduce the purchase price by $35,000 and buy the property "as is". An "as is" sale doesn't necessarily mean the property is a bargain, nor does is mean that the property should be dismissed as unacceptable. Find out the nature of the work required to put the property in good condition. Then decide if you're up for the project.

THE CLOSING: If an "as is" property will suit your long-term needs when it's fixed-up, it might be worth considering.


Posted by:


John Cain
Broker Associate

Keller Williams Realty
809 Aquidneck Avenue
Middletown, RI 02842


Sales - Rentals - Property Management

Licensed Realtor In Rhode Island & Massachusetts 

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