Selling a House As Is: When & How to Skip the Repairs

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By Michael Warford Updated January 31, 2024
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Reviewed by Steve Nicastro Edited by Katy Byrom

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What it means to sell a house as is | How much could you lose? | Should you sell your house as is? | Options for selling as is | Avoiding common mistakes

Selling a house as-is is the process of selling your home in its current condition without making any repairs or improvements.

Selling as-is can be fast. But you’ll likely attract fewer buyers and need to adjust your list price to account for the work needed. You’ll also need to disclose any known issues to the buyer, just like in a normal home sale.

Yet, there are plenty of instances where selling as is makes sense — like when you need to move ASAP or can no longer afford the upkeep on a house that needs work. We asked more than a dozen realtors and investors for their advice on selling a house as is. Read on to learn what they had to say.

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What does selling a house as is really mean?

"The 'as-is' checkbox on a contract primarily serves to inform buyers that the property is being sold in its current condition, and the seller is not responsible or obligated to make any repairs," says real estate agent and investor Steve Nicastro

However, selling as is doesn’t get you off the hook for disclosing known issues with the home. And buyers can still try to negotiate if something comes up in the inspection.

⚠️ You'll still need to follow your state's disclosure laws!

Selling as-is doesn’t exempt you from letting potential buyers know about any issues with the property. You’ll usually need to fill out a form called a seller’s disclosure in which you’ll list known defects with the property.

Seller’s disclosures don’t require you to list every single scratch or dent caused by normal wear and tear. But you will need to list important known issues, such as water damage, mold, or asbestos. In some states, you may need to describe the condition of the home’s structural elements (like the foundation and roof) and its major systems and appliances (like the plumbing and HVAC).

Failing to provide the buyer with a complete seller’s disclosure is risky, even if the buyer agrees to purchase your property as-is. The buyer could back out of the contract if they haven’t been properly informed about the condition of the house, either because the seller’s disclosure wasn’t provided or it was missing important information.

⚠️ Buyers may still try to negotiate

"Buyers aren't technically supposed to request that the seller make repairs in an as-is contract, but I've still seen it happen," says Nicastro. "Say a buyer discovers serious mold in an inspection, they may ask the seller to fix it or provide a credit to cover mold remediation." 

"In terms of repairs, everything is negotiable!" advises Sammy Lyon, Associate Broker at Dow Capital. "Even though the home is being sold as is, the buyer is advised to do their due diligence, and order any reports which would help them make an informed choice about moving forward on the purchase. This typically includes a general home inspection, plus any follow up reports like termite, sewer camera, roof, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, foundation, mold, septic, pool & spa."

While sellers aren’t obligated to cover these repairs, neither are buyers, which means that for the sale to be finalized, you'll need to come to an agreement on who pays for what.

"If the buyer uncovers surprise issues in an inspection and the seller takes a hard-line on not making any repairs or giving credit, the transaction is likely to fall out of escrow," says Lyon. "And the seller now needs to disclose those issues to the next buyer."

How much could you lose selling a house as is?

How much you lose selling as-is depends on many factors, such as your home’s condition, the competitiveness of the local market, and what type of buyer you’re selling to.

If you’re trying to sell an outdated but otherwise livable house in a competitive market, you’re unlikely to lose much money selling as-is. In markets where homes are in short supply, buyers are often willing to purchase properties with significant issues.

“In a seller's market with low inventory, you may be able to sell as-is and still get a good offer," says Joy Aumann, realtor and co-founder of La Jolla Life. "Buyers are eager and you’ll likely still come out ahead. I recently had a client sell a home needing a new roof and plumbing repairs for just $30,000 under list price. They were thrilled.”

If market demand isn’t high — or the home is in a state that would make it difficult for sellers to get approved for financing — your only offers may be from investors, who typically offer around 70% of fair market value, although in some cases they can go as high as 85%.

» MORE: The Best Companies That Buy Houses for Cash

Should I sell my house as is?

Despite the potential for a lower sale price, selling your house as-is may make more sense for you in certain circumstances:

You need to sell quickly

Repairs can take weeks and even months, which may be more time than you have. If you need to sell your house fast due to finances or unexpected circumstances, then an as-is sale may be the best option. If you live in a market with high seller demand, selling as-is may not even lead to much of a decline in sale price.

Buyers who purchase as-is properties are often willing to move quickly on a sale and settle in cash. Many of these buyers are property investors and companies that specialize in helping sellers out of difficult situations. As such, they are less likely to be scared off by urgent timelines or homes in need of significant repairs.

You’re strapped for cash

Similarly, if you need cash quickly and can’t afford repairs, then selling fast as-is may be a better (or even the only) option. Even if you can afford some repairs, you may be better off skipping them as significant renovations that are only half-done can actually detract from your home’s appeal.

“If a homeowner is not going to commit to doing an upgrade all the way, or more than 75%, it may not be worth it and seen as shabby to buyer," says Matiah Ty Fischer, Founder of AllHomesLasVegas.com, "An example of this could be in a kitchen upgrade adding a new modern backsplash and appliances, but leaving the cabinets looking old and worn down or having an old worn down countertop.”

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Repair costs exceed your potential sale price

Not all repairs have a great return on investment. In some cases, repairs could be so costly that they wipe out whatever profit you’d otherwise make on your home sale. While renovated kitchens and bathrooms can increase your home’s curb appeal — and drive up its sale price — the amount of money such renovations require may not be worthwhile.

“If a house needs a costly renovation, such as full roof replacement, which costs between $6,700 and $80,000, or new HVAC, which costs $5,000 to $34,000, it’s better to leave the house at its current stage," suggests Seth Williams, owner of Reference Real Estate. "A property with a dilapidated house attracts home flippers, while a new HVAC won’t bring a greater ROI.”

Home isn’t in livable condition

If your home suffers from serious issues that make it unlivable, such as a damaged foundation or significant water or fire damage, your only option may be an as-is sale to an investor. In such situations, repairing the home yourself could be unfeasible and traditional buyers will be unlikely to qualify for a mortgage on a dilapidated property.

"If someone makes an offer on an as-is home with a mortgage contingency, the condition of the property could impede their ability to secure enough financing to cover the purchase and repairs, cautions realtor Sharlys Leszczuk of Windermere West LLC. "Plus, few people will have the means to live elsewhere if major improvements are going to displace them."

Investors typically have the funds available on hand for a purchase, so the deal is less likely to fall through because the home isn’t in livable condition.

You want to avoid the hassle of repairs

Finally, an as-is home sale may simply be more convenient for you, even if your house isn’t in need of extensive repairs. If you need to move quickly or you’re just too busy to deal with the hassle of getting your home ready to list, a quick, as-is sale may make sense.

For example, homeowner Jesse Zappia had to sell his property in Charlotte, NC, and move to Fredericksburg, VA, while juggling a new job, raising two young children, and the need to come up with the funds for a downpayment.

He chose to sell as-is to iBuyer Opendoor because, he said, “Getting it painted and getting it ready for showings and keeping it in showing condition while I was working a new role that was a work-from-home role was going to be logistically difficult to do.”

How to sell a house as is: 3 options

Homeowners looking to sell a house in as-is condition have a few different options to explore: getting a cash offer, selling to iBuyer, or listing with a realtor.

Get a cash offer

Cash buyers include "we buy houses" companies and local real estate investors. Most can make an offer within 24–48 hours  and close in as little as 1–2 weeks — without requiring repairs.

In some markets, cash buyers may be the best and even only option for as-is sellers. Chris McGuire of Real Estate Exam Ninja says that, “When selling a house as is, the target buyers typically include investors, flippers, or individuals looking for renovation projects. These buyers have the expertise and resources to tackle the necessary repairs and renovations.”

That speed and convenience does come with a price: the typical cash buyer (think a house flipper or rental property investor) typically caps their offer at 70% of a home's potential resale value, minus their estimated budget for improvements. "This is because we need to take into account the costs of repairs and renovations, as well as our desired profit margin," says Alex Locklear owner of NC Cash Homebuyers.

Top cash home buyers may offer more — say, if your home is in a great location or they anticipate a high return on their investment through appreciation or climbing rent prices.

For example, Mathew Pezon of Pezon Properties focuses on buying and holding properties long term, which means he can make higher offers than flippers who are looking to sell fast. He says, “most of the time we can offer up to 85% of the market value less repairs if our financial analysis checks out for a rental property.”

If you need to sell quickly or don't have the money for repairs, cash home buyers are a legitimate option. But we highly recommend comparing offers from multiple buyers to get the highest price possible.

You can do this on your own, with the help of a realtor, or through a free service like Clever Offers.

Skip the repairs and sell your house as is

Get competing cash offers on your house from serious investors in your area. Plus, get a professional estimate of your home value to help you make an informed decision. Comparing offers is free, and there's no obligation to forward. Simply tell us about your property, and we'll do everything we can to get you the best possible price for your home.

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Sell to an iBuyer

iBuyers purchase homes in as-is condition. They can provide you with an offer in a few days and close in as fast as two weeks. iBuyers typically don't pay as much for your home as what you'd earn in the open market, but you'll likely get a higher offer than from cash buyers.

Leading iBuyers like Opendoor and Offerpad operate mostly in cities with fairly strong buyer demand and they focus on buying properties that require minimal work. If you have a home that only needs a bit of maintenance and you want to avoid working with traditional cash buyers, then iBuyers are worth considering.

There are some drawbacks to consider. While iBuyers won't ask you to make any repairs, they make deductions for repair costs and also charge service fees. And because iBuyers only buy properties that are in relatively good condition and in certain markets, difficult-to-sell homes typically don’t qualify.

List with a realtor

If you’re in a high-demand market, then listing with a realtor could get you the best sale price. An open market sale allows you to advertise your home to a wide pool of buyers, including, but not limited to, cash home buyers.

Your realtor may already have a network of local buyers and investors to tap, even before the property is officially listed. 

While making repairs beforehand usually will increase your home’s list price, this isn’t always the case in high-value areas where the buyer may want to refurbish the property or even demolish the existing house and rebuild.

As Tamar Asken, founder of Parasol Realty Group, says, “In my opinion, the most important factor to consider is the value of the land without a house there. [...] Particularly if the house itself is small and dated, and the land value supports building a larger new home worth significantly more.”

However, selling as-is with a realtor could take weeks (if not months). Depending on the condition of your home, you may find few interested buyers beyond investors, even on the open market.Finally, unlike when selling to many cash buyers, you’ll have to pay realtor commission, which can be up to 6% of the home price in some markets — although you can pay less with a low commission realtor.

How to avoid mistakes when selling a house as is

Selling as-is can be a quick and hassle-free way to sell a home, but only if you avoid some of the most common mistakes that trip up other as-is sellers. Here are some pitfalls to watch out for in order to make your as-is sale go smoothly.

Price your home realistically

Homes sold as-is are usually going to sell for less than what move-in or recently renovated properties sell for. You’ll have to take that information into consideration when comparing your property to what other homes in your neighborhood are selling for.

Your best bet is to ask a realtor what your home would be worth on the open market, both in its current condition and if you invested in repairs and upgrades. Many realtors are willing to provide a comparative market analysis for free, and you have no obligation to list.

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Specify “as is” in your listing

To ensure you get offers only from serious buyers, you should specify in the listing that the property is being sold “as is”. Most traditional buyers are looking for homes that are move-in ready and won’t consider homes that are going to require significant repairs. Buyers may also be unable to consider as-is properties because of appraisal concerns.

As Leszczuk says, “You likely won't appeal to the 'move-in ready' audience. And, if the lack of improvements could impede someone's ability to take out a mortgage on the home, that could further limit your pool of potential buyers.”

By specifying “as-is” in your listing, you’ll likely limit yourself to investors, cash buyers, and those looking for a fixer upper. But that smaller buyer pool also means you’ll avoid hassles with buyers who are in the market for homes in better condition.

Disclose any issues you’re aware of

You still need to disclose any issues with the property, even if you’re selling as-is. In most states, this is done by filling out a seller disclosure form. Failing to properly disclose known defects is risky and could put the final deal in jeopardy.

As real estate investor Steve Nicastro says, “If a significant issue is discovered during the home inspection that was not disclosed on the seller's property disclosure form, and it's an as-is contract, the buyer might argue that this issue should have been disclosed.”

If undisclosed issues pop up during the inspection, they could give the buyer an opportunity to back out of the contract. By disclosing issues upfront, you’ll increase your chances of a smooth sale and avoid unwanted surprises.

Avoid expensive cosmetic upgrades

Repairs and upgrades can often improve your sale price, but if you are doing repairs, you’ll want to spend your money carefully. Expensive projects that are unlikely to offer a great return on investment should be avoided.

As McGuire says, “Examples of repairs that sellers should typically avoid making before selling include extensive kitchen or bathroom remodels, adding luxury features, or investing in high-end finishes. These types of upgrades may not align with the preferences of potential buyers or provide a significant return on investment.”

If you’re making expensive repairs, focus on the most important ones first. As Martin Orefice, CEO of Rent to Own Labs, says, “An outdated, but functional, kitchen is a much lower priority than fixing a leaky roof.”

Invest in minor, high-impact improvements

Instead of expensive cosmetic upgrades, your money may go further making improvements that are cheap but impactful. 

"When selling a home as is, some repairs and improvements that make sense to do before listing on the market can be as minor as interior cosmetic facelifts like adding a fresh coat of paint, updating lighting fixtures, or replacing worn down hardware and faucets,” says Fischer. Such improvements require minimal time and investment, but they could bring in a larger pool of potential buyers.

Before taking on pricier renovations, advises Leszczuk, "get quotes from multiple contractors for the repairs needed. This is not only good for you to decide whether or not to make the improvements yourself, but this will also give you a great negotiation tool to counter an offer that comes in below your list price. Your real estate agent should be able to connect you with quality contractors in your area who they’ve worked with before.

Watch out for common deal-killers

While buyers won’t expect your home to be in pristine condition, some issues could turn out to be deal breakers. These tend to be major issues that make the home unlivable.

Elisha Lopez, owner of Ocala Realty World, points out that “some home repairs that go unfixed can disqualify buyers with first-time or government loans from purchasing a home because the loan is not insurable under certain conditions. This could include leaks, mold, termite infestation, dry rot, plumbing or air conditioning issues, for example.”

Consider offering buyer credits upfront

If you know of a significant issue with your home but don’t want to invest the time and money to fix it, offering a repair concession upfront can be an effective marketing strategy. This strategy could increase your buyer pool to include those who may otherwise not have considered an as-is property, but who feel reassured by the fact that the buyer credit makes any future repairs more affordable.

As an example, Asken notes, “A client of mine bought a property where the seller knew his foundation needed a serious repair. He had gotten a bid for $40,000 for the repair and wrote into the contract that he was going to leave $40,000 from the proceeds of the sale in an escrow account to be paid to the foundation repair company at close, thereby taking the problem out of the negotiation completely.”

How we sourced our information

This article draws on interviews with more than a dozen real estate agents and investors across the country. Subject matter experts who contributed to this piece include:

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