Many states have different rules about real estate. Even more often, they have different forms for different real estate transactions. Although most states allow an offer to buy form to include “as-is” language, the state of Florida takes it to another level. They now have their own “as-is” contract for buying real estate.
What exactly does “as-is” mean?
Many times when you search for a home, you find one that is almost perfect, but still needs a few repairs. You can often negotiate these repairs as part of the sale and your real estate agent can write them into the agreement. This binds the seller to these repairs. These negotiations are a pretty typical part of a transaction
Yet, sometimes when a seller doesn’t want to deal with repairs, or doesn’t want to spend any money, they list their home in “as-is” condition. This means that any potential buyer should assume that they will be buying the home exactly as they see it. If there is a hole in a window or a missing garage door, there is nothing they can do about it.
“As-is” most often occurs with run-down properties that have many needed repairs. These properties are really only suitable for an investor or contractor. Sometimes sellers feel they have the upper hand and don’t need to repair anything to sell for the listing price. This happens most often in seller’s markets.
Florida As-Is Specific Contract
As with all states, there are regulatory agencies overseeing the real estate industry. In Florida, there is a joint committee of Florida Realtors and The Florida Bar that develops real estate forms. Both organizations issued and approved the as-is specific contract for use by real estate agents in the state.
In the state of Florida, the standard purchase and sale contract has three lines for specific repairs. The buyer and seller must agree upon these amounts. The repairs include: general repairs, wood destroying organism repairs, and open permit repairs. Amounts listed are an estimate and both the buyer and seller agree upon them before the inspection.
There is also a specific form for “as-is” purchases, and this version does not include those three lines. It does state that the deal is subject to a satisfactory inspection of the property by the purchaser. Regardless of the as-is status, if the inspection findings are not satisfactory to the buyer, they can cancel the contract.
The as-is contract includes language stating that the buyer must pay for any and all repairs and improvements the lender requires. Typically, if the bank finds something wrong, some negotiations happen between buyer and seller. This is not the case with the as-is contract.
Should I use the as-is contract?
Your real estate agent is the best one to answer this question. They can tell you about the pros and cons of using this contract or the standard one. A knowledgeable agent has already used both forms and can help you determine which is best suited for your specific situation.