Recently, I’ve been working with clients on both the purchase, and sale, side of a transaction and ran into the term “as-is” sale. “As-is” is a term that gets thrown out, usually by the seller, to indicate ahead of time that they will not be doing any repairs on the home. They’re notifying the buyer that they’re selling the home… “as-is.” If you hear “as-is”, proceed with caution but do not let the term scare you.
Is “As-Is” The End Of The Road For A Buyer?
In short, no. Unless waived, most real estate transactions include an “inspection contingency” (a set timeframe for the buyer to inspect the home as much as needed). If, during that inspection contingency, the buyer uncovers something that they hadn’t seen on their original walk through, they can then 1) move forward, 2) cancel the escrow, or 3) go back to the seller and negotiate that repair.
“As-is” or not, a lot of sellers will not want to re-start the selling process with a new buyer if they can easily avoid it. If something is uncovered during inspections, try and negotiate the repair (or credit) before you cancel the escrow.
But The Seller Wrote “As-Is” On The Counter Offer
*This section is specific to the California Residential Purchase Agreement. This MAY be different in other states*
Thats not surprising, it happens all the time. But writing “as-is” on a counter offer is actually redundant. Every purchase agreement is technically “as-is” from the start.
When sellers (or their agents) write “as-is” onto a counter offer, they’re just reiterating that they’re not going to do any repairs. But since the repair request is handled outside of the RPA, the “as-is” terminology on the counter is the same as the boilerplate “as-is” from the RPA and your repairs can still be negotiated on a Request for Repair. Just be aware, they’ve now made it clear that they’re not doing any repairs, and you verbally agreed to that, so you may be starting your negotiation from a tough position.
Should I Waive My Inspection Contingency On An “As-Is” Sale?
In almost every case… I wouldn’t advise it. Agreeing to an “as-is” sale is almost always an indication that there is repair work coming ahead. While some of the work may be easily visible during your first walk through, there is a good chance that you will uncover something bigger during your home inspection. If you waive your inspection contingency, you’re taking away your ability to cancel the escrow if you uncover a big dollar fix (cracked foundation, rusted plumbing, etc).
There have been a few case studies when removing the inspection contingency has been ok. Usually, those exist in investor situations where the investor buyer is planning on scraping the house and starting new anyways.
I tackled “as-is” sales on episode 6 of my “Ask A Realtor” web series. Check out the full episode below: