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By John R. Merlino Jr. Esq.
Founding Attorney

When it comes to buying and selling property, you can expect to encounter many real estate terms you may not be familiar with — “as-is” is one of those terms. It is critical to look out for these terms in your contract and understand what they could mean for you and your transaction. 

What does “as-is” mean when it comes to selling property?

When a house is being sold “as-is,” this means it is being sold in its current state, with all faults and flaws. If there are any issues with the home, whether structural or cosmetic, the seller is not fixing them before transferring the title. 

In a traditional home sale (when a home is not sold as-is), if the home needs any repairs, the buyers can request the seller fix any present issues before purchasing the home. 

Additionally, you can add a contingency clause into your contract, stating that the buyer following through with purchasing the home is contingent on the seller successfully making the necessary repairs.

When a buyer sees a home is selling “as-is,” the seller is putting potential buyers on notice that they will not make any changes or take any requests from interested buyers.

Once a buyer purchases the as-is home, they can make the repairs themselves. 

Common Issues with As-Is Homes

When a home is selling as-is, it can have a variety of different issues. Some of the most common problems a property may have when it is being sold as-is include:

  • Structural issues
  • Broken or malfunctioning heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)
  • Damaged or leaking roof
  • Termite infestation and damage
  • Plumbing issues
  • Mold, mildew, asbestos, and other harmful substances
  • Issues with the foundation

Interested buyers can have a thorough home inspection done to better understand what issues a home has and what must be fixed. This gives buyers a chance to determine whether buying the home would be a sound decision. 

Sold As-Is: What It Means for Sellers vs. Buyers

As-is affects you differently depending on whether you’re the seller of the home or the interested purchaser.

For sellers, it’s critical to make it abundantly clear that you are selling your home as-is. This saves sellers and buyers time and energy. On the listing, sellers should bold, underline, and capitalize “as-is” to help others understand the home is being sold in its current condition, with no exceptions. 

Additionally, it’s imperative to add the necessary “as-is” language in an obvious, inconspicuous manner in the contract.

For buyers, due diligence is critical. This means:

  • Having an inspection done
  • Speaking to a contractor to understand the structural needs of the home
  • Doing a title search
  • Including certain clauses in your contract

Additionally, a potential buyer should always consult with a knowledgeable real estate lawyer for advice. 

Should you buy a house as-is?

As with many legal questions, the answer is “it depends.” Buyers should not immediately write off a home that’s being sold as-is, as it could just be a diamond in the rough. 

The important part of considering the purchase of an as-is home is doing your due diligence and being an educated consumer. Once you know what you’re working with, you can make the right decision for yourself.

Consult with a Skilled Real Estate Attorney

If you’re selling your home as-is or are considering purchasing a home that is being sold as-is, speak with a qualified real estate lawyer. 

The legal team at Merlino & Gonzalez is ready to assist you and guide you through the sale or purchase of your home. If you’re in the Staten Island, NY, or East Brunswick, NJ, areas, contact our firm today.

About the Author
John is a fierce advocate and the office guru for problem-solving and brainstorming. He guides clients through every stage of a real estate transaction from offer to contract, navigating through nerve-shattering home inspection and title clearance concerns, maintaining constant contact with lenders, conducting the actual closing, and continuing to advise clients with regard to any post-closing concerns.  John brings a practical and fair-minded approach to the process which has earned him the respect of his clients and peers.