What Does As-Is Really Mean? How to Understand Home Contracts
Two words, sometimes hyphenated, and by its very nature, ambiguous. As-Is is standard terminology in home contracts, but what does it really mean? From a legal standpoint, there isn’t much of a definition beyond the obvious. As-Is suggests the home seller is unwilling to make repairs to the property. Of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t counteracting clauses that make the sting of As-Is less of a surprise.
What does as-is mean?
Simply, the seller knows that the property needs some work. It might be anything from the need for paint to old carpet on the floors. The seller is under no obligation to paint the house or remove the carpet when they state As-Is. The buyer has had a chance to look at the house and placed an offer based on having seen these issues. It also assumes that the seller has priced the house accordingly, with the understanding that no additional repairs or improvements will be done.
Is as-is the same as buyer beware?
In a way, it is. But housing contracts, which should all be reviewed by a real estate attorney (not your family attorney), are nuanced. There is some wiggle room inside of this less-than- legal term. For instance, you may agree to an As-Is contract but then, you are also entitled to an inspection. While an inspection does not negate the As-Is term, it certainly can lessen its impact for the buyer. Oddly, the two clauses reside in the same contract.
Does as-is impact the disclosure statement?
Disclosures, as we have discussed in previous posts offer a look at what the owner knows about the property. Some states require some details that others do not deem necessary. If the seller has knowledge of mold or sewer issues and fails to disclose them, even an As-Is contract may be questioned. But if the seller knows that the copper pipes have a lead weld, something that was the practice in many homes built in the seventies and eighties, and the plumbing, often referred to as the mechanical is in working order, As-Is will probably stand a challenge. Once again, consult a real estate attorney.
What are the warning signs of an as-is deal?
The first indication is the price. If the house is a screaming deal, as in, priced to sell, the buyer should be aware that repairs and upgrades likely will need to be done. Sometimes, the price is reflective of the neighborhood. The seller knows the house might be worth more but is unwilling to put any additional money into the property to net a higher sale price.
When should you ask about as-is?
At the Jones Group @ Sunriver Realty, we will explain this in advance, before you set foot inside the house. There are times when the seller will make repairs and still others where they will adjust the price to allow you to make the repair. In these situations, it helps to have our experience on your side.
Does the buyer have any recourse?
Yes and no. Armed with an inspection, you might be able to negotiate. Sellers of As-Is properties tend to refrain from doing anything additional; they just want out. This doesn’t mean the seller can leave any belongings or discarded items behind. Both parties need to have meeting of minds, an understanding that the house may not be turnkey and because of that, it is priced to sell. Yes, the buyer should beware. But we’re here to help.
How can we assist you today?
On behalf of The Jones Group @ Sunriver Realty
Nola Horton-Jones, Principal Broker/Realtor | ABR, C-RIS, e-PRO, GREEN, RSPS, CCIM Candidate
Bryce Jones, Broker/Realtor | ABR, CRS, e-PRO, GREEN, GRI, RSPS, SFR
The Jones Group @ Sunriver Realty | 57057 Beaver Drive | Sunriver, OR 97707
Mobile: 541-420- 3725 | Mobile: 541-420- 4018 | Fax: 541-593- 5123
Licensed in Oregon