When sellers are faced with time constraints or financial hardships, selling a home as is can be an appealing option. While selling a home this way can be convenient, it has a number of drawbacks that all sellers should be aware of.
Selling a home “as is” can mean different things to different people. For some, an as-is sale means a stress-free transfer of property: you move your items out, leave the key in the door, and that’s it. Done and dusted.
For others, an as-is sale may conjure up images of a creaky shack on a hill that a desperate home seller is hoping to dump onto an oblivious buyer.
In the end, the truth of the matter lies somewhere in the middle, and each case is unique.
While as-is sales are undoubtedly convenient, the approach does come with some potential disadvantages that should be considered.
Before moving forward and selling your home as is, it's a good idea to get in touch with an experienced real estate agent who can advise you on how to get the most out of your home sale.
If you have questions about selling your home as is, Clever can help.
To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our local Partner Agents, simply fill out this form and we’ll be in touch with more information and next steps.
So, is selling your home as-is a good way to get your house off your hands quickly? Or is it worth the extra effort to fix it up? Let's find out.
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What Does Selling a House As Is Mean?
Typically, when you sell a property as is, it means that the buyer will purchase the property just as it is, flaws and all. The seller will not invest in any pre-sale home improvements, and requests for repairs will be denied. The prospective buyer will receive the house with all its faults and issues intact.
In fact, “as is” actually has a legal definition in most states. Because of this, the home buyer typically has to sign a purchase agreement with language explicitly stating the current condition of the property.
This means that when you sell a house as is, you are not just handing over the keys and walking away. Nobody expects the buyer to simply discover all the problems with the house completely on their own.
Rather, the seller is legally required to make disclosures, and most purchase agreements have contingencies that allow the home buyer to back out of the sale if an inspection determines that the condition of the home is worse than expected.
Why Would You Sell a House As Is?
Most people who sell a home as is are doing so due to financial or emotional distress.
When home sellers are faced with difficult situations, they may not be able to afford the necessary repairs, or simply may not have the emotional energy to deal with the work involved. In some cases, they may need to sell quickly in order to avoid foreclosure.
Whatever the exact reason, it's easy to understand why some homeowners would be willing to sell their home below its potential market value simply to avoid dealing with the hassle that typically comes along with selling a home.
What Are the Downsides to Selling a Home As Is?
Unfortunately, selling a home as is can be tricky. When most potential buyers see “as is” on a listing they'll immediately think one of three things: there is something majorly wrong with this house, the seller must be desperate, or they can make an offer significantly below the asking price.
In many cases, they will be entirely correct.
Because of these common negative preconceptions, if you intend to sell your home as is, you will often need to set the list price significantly lower than the home's fair market value just to attract some interest.
You'll also need to be ok losing out on the profit you'd make if you were to do a few minor pre-sale repairs. However, even with a bargain list price, you'll likely have a hard time attracting potential buyers to your property.
The main markets for these types of homes are house flippers and people who don't mind purchasing a fixer-upper. While these buyers do exist, they are a smaller portion of the real estate market, so it can often be harder and take longer to make a sale.
The Best Way to Sell a Home As Is
The best way to avoid negative assumptions about your home is to avoid using the language “as is” in your initial listing.
You can attract a broader range of potential buyers by listing your house normally and letting the offers come in as usual.
However, that is not to say you should be dishonest. You must inform any interested buyers that you intend to sell the home as is before the home inspection takes place.
Most buyers will be operating under the assumption that the inspection will open up a second round of negotiations, but this isn't the case in an as-is sale.
To avoid moving further under false pretenses, it's important to let the buyer know that they won't be able to negotiate any repairs.
What Needs to Be Disclosed When Selling a Home As Is?
Real estate agents are legally required to disclose problems with a property that could discourage buyers from making a purchase.
Significant issues should not come as a surprise to a buyer months after they've closed on the home.
If any known problems are not made clear before the sale is finalized, you could face significant legal consequences.
Problems that you or your real estate agent are obligated to disclose about your as-is sale include:
- Evidence of a structural defect, like a significant crack in the foundation
- The appearance of mold in the home, especially if it is toxic
- Termite damage
- A leaky roof.
- Major electrical issues
- Title disputes or other legal issues
If you don't want to end up with a major lawsuit on your hands, always disclose any significant problems.
Typically, your real estate agent will have you fill out a document known as a Sellers Statement of Property Condition. As long as you fill out this form to the best of your knowledge, you'll likely avoid any legal trouble.
Improve Your As-Is Listing With Small Renovations
Even if you don't want to perform any major repairs or renovations, there are always small improvements that you can make to your home — often for less than $100.
These minor renovations can you help generate some curb appeal and make your property more appealing to potential buyers. This will increase your chances of a quick and successful sale.
For example: if your lawn is overgrown, you can invest an afternoon into mowing the grass, watering the lawn, and perhaps even putting one or two bags of fertilizer down. The condition of the front lawn can leave a major impression on buyers.
If the paint is peeling off the walls, try giving the walls a new coat of paint in a neutral color. This immediately cleans up your home and makes it more inviting to potential buyers.
Sometimes, investing just $100 and a single afternoon into your as-is sale can make all the difference.
The single best thing you can do to ensure the success of your home sale is to work with an experienced real estate agent straight from the get-go.
A qualified realtor will be able to suggest low-cost improvements that can help you get a significantly better closing price.
Your real estate agent will be your business partner throughout the home selling process, answering any and all questions you may have along the way.
Hiring a real estate agent doesn't have to be expensive: Clever Partner Agents will list and sell your home for a flat fee of $3,000 — or just 1% if your home sells for more than $350,000.
If you'd like to learn more about how Clever can help you sell your home for top dollar, get in touch today and we’ll connect you with one of our top-rated, local Partner Agents for a no-obligation consultation.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Top FAQs About Selling a House
1. Should you fix up your house before selling?
In almost all cases, the answer is a resounding yes. However, there are certain situations in which the cost may be prohibitive or the seller may simply not have time to perform the necessary repairs or renovations. In these cases, they may decide to list the home as is.
2. Why would a house be sold as is?
Most people who sell their homes as is are doing so because they are faced with financial or emotional hardships of some kind. For example: they may have lost their job, a family member may have passed away, or they may be at risk of foreclosure.
3. How do you sell a house by owner?
Listing a house for sale by owner is not the same as selling a home as is. To learn more about putting your house up for sale by owner, click here to read our article on the topic.
4. What does it mean for a house to sell as is?
When a home is listed as is, it means that the seller will not pay for any repairs. The buyer will be getting the home just as it is, flaws and all.
5. How much do you lose selling a house as is?
There is no exact amount of profit that you'll be giving up if you sell a house as is, but you will likely end up leaving a lot of money on the table. To put things into perspective: a foreclosed home in St. Louis will typically sell for 37% lower than a regular home. Since homeowners selling their homes as is are likely facing some sort of financial hardship, this can give you a good idea of how low the price can go.