Pros and Cons of Advertising a Home “As-Is”
Sometimes people find themselves in a situation where they need to sell their house “as-is.” Perhaps they’ve already moved and can’t be there to arrange for repairs, or maybe they don’t have the money that improvements will cost, are dealing with complications to their health or are going through a divorce.
When a Buyer sees the words “as-is,” however, many questions about a home’s integrity come to mind. In order to put their home in the best light possible, a Seller has to weigh the options and decide what “as-is” means to them as well.
Do they mean they’re not going to update or renovate their property before it hits the market or won’t fix the home no matter what the inspection report comes back with?
These are two very different scenarios and the impression a Seller wants to give depends on their answer.
The most important thing to understand when selling a home in “as-is” condition is that just because a home is advertised as such, doesn’t mean Buyers won’t attempt to make requests of a Seller.
The best advice for a Seller is to discuss the value of the property with their listing agent based on its current condition and not on what they hope to get.
Finding a listing agent who deals in “as-is” homes is also important as they likely have a pool of cash investors who purchase homes that are in poor condition. Selling a home in “as-is” condition requires strong negotiation skills and tenacity.
Some questions to ask a listing agent: Have you sold properties in as-is condition before? Can you provide an example when you had to negotiate for the homeowner? How many homes in the past 12 months have you sold in as-is condition? Do you have any references of past clients whose home you sold in as-is condition?
Sellers also should keep in mind that, in most cases, “as-is” does make the task of selling a home more difficult.
Many Buyers assume that a property advertised “as-is” has serious problems and this can scare them off. “As-is” has a negative connotation although it’s very often undeserved. What many Sellers mean by “as-is” is simply they don’t want to be involved in making any repairs a Buyer may want made.
If you truly are selling “as-is” with known issues disclose them early on in the process. This will eliminate Buyers who don’t want to do any repairs. If the required repairs will limit financing options disclose that as well. This will save everyone time by preventing unnecessary showings.
If you’re aware of structural problems with your home or a roof problem, don’t hide them. This can lead to problems in the future and potentially lawsuits if it can be proven you blatantly didn’t disclosure known problems.
Obtain a current termite/pest control report and a home inspection. This way a Seller can have the Buyers approve of the reports and the condition of the property upfront before they offer.
Selling a house “as-is” can be a big challenge, but there are things a Seller can do to meet that challenge:
1. Understand what absolutely has to be done. The vast majority of lenders insist that the home not have structural, health, or safety issues. If the house has code violations and the Seller chooses not to fix them, this may limit the number of potential Buyers to only those who can pay cash. And even then, be prepared for cash buyers to expect a bargain price.
The majority of homes that are sold in “as-is” condition are purchased with cash. It’s important to keep in mind the number of potential Buyers is smaller than a traditional real estate sale and most are either buying short sales or bank foreclosures.
2. Know that disclosures are still required. Selling a house “as-is” does mean “what you see is what you get,” but complete disclosure is still required by state law. That means that the Buyer will get a report from a licensed home inspector outlining the problems, including those that aren’t visible. When a sales contract is drawn up, the words “as-is” need to be written clearly in the sales agreement, and the Buyer needs to initial next to the words so that they cannot later claim that they didn’t know they were buying “as-is”.
3. Know the competition. Tour as many comparable homes as possible and note their conditions and amenities. Kitchens and bathrooms can be deal breakers, while other home improvements don’t matter as much. If your house falls short on features that are important to Buyers, be prepared to price low. If you hire a professional appraiser, tell him or her up front that you plan on selling “as-is” so you can set the price appropriately.
4. Make a plan for responding to lowball offers. Because “as-is” houses attract investors, contractors, first time Buyers without a big budget, and house “flippers,” you can count on getting lowball offers. Know how low you will go and be prepared to make a swift counteroffer. Some Buyers may be willing to meet you halfway.
5. Keep the house as clean and neat as possible, inside and out. Cleanliness does make a difference. Keep your yard mowed and your house ready for a viewing at all times. If you keep the beds made, the dishes put away, and the toys picked up, it gives the impression that you’re not selling “as-is” due to laziness or lack of pride in your home, but because of financial or practical circumstances.
If you have any time or money you can use toward minimum repairs, the following should take precedence:
Fixing code violations
Repairing roof leaks
Fixing a broken HVAC system
Patching holes or cracks in the ceilings and walls
Replacing broken windows
Performing minor upgrades such as freshly repainting a room or replacing light fixtures can help a home sell faster, increase property value and improve the overall impression Buyers get when viewing the property.
Buyers who traditionally purchase homes in “as-is” condition are typically looking to buy a home cheaply, fix it up and turn around and sell or rent it. Investors who purchase “as-is” homes with the intention to “flip” and sell the property have formulas they use to help increase the probability it will generate a strong return on their investment.
If you’re selling your home in “as-is” condition, understanding who potentially will purchase your home can make the difference between it selling in “as-is” condition or not. If your home is priced close to the estimated value an investor would be willing to pay, it should sell quickly and it’s possible you may receive multiple offers.
The number one priority for most investors is the estimated resale value and calculating the costs to rehab the sellers property.
When selling a home in “as-is” condition a Seller must remain realistic throughout the process, as a Buyer still may opt to complete various inspections.
There are tons of reasons why having a home inspection is a good idea and many investors will choose to do so, even if a home is being advertised as being sold “as-is”. A Buyer who chooses to have various inspections, in most cases, will be responsible for the cost.
Some Buyers will still attempt to request repairs or adjustments in the price after inspections. This can be extremely frustrating for any Seller who is selling their home in “as-is” condition. Ultimately, if a Buyer requests repairs to be made or adjustments in the price, the Seller has the final say.