Buying “As Is”

Is a home inspection out of the question?

In real estate transactions, the term “as is” indicates that the buyer must be prepared to accept the home in its current condition, relinquishing any rights to request that the seller make repairs, offer price concessions for problems, or submit to a home inspection. Agreeing to a strictly “as is” purchase is a huge risk. As a buyer, you’re relying solely on your visit to the home and the seller’s declarations in the disclosure report. While it’s technically not adhering to the strictest definition of an “as is” transaction, requesting a home inspection is still a wise idea. If the seller is amenable, here’s why you should insist on a home inspection and the ability to terminate the contract based on the results:

“As Is” is a Fuzzy Term

“As is” could be anything; it’s a blanket term that tells you only that the house has problems and that the seller doesn’t want to be responsible. Your walk-through of the home might give you a general idea of what those problems are, but a home inspection is the only way to really know what you’re getting into. The best home inspectors in Philadelphia will check everything–the roof, attic, basement, foundation, crawl space, plumbing and electrical systems, doors, windows, etc.—will all get a careful assessment to give you an accurate picture of what “as is” means for that specific property. While you might not be able to use this info to negotiate a better price, you should be able to walk away if the risk is simply too great.

Seller’s Disclosures Aren’t Enough

Sellers are required to disclose information about the property. However, sellers will disclose as little information as possible and may, unfortunately, even lie. You cannot rely only on the information provided in the disclosures. A home inspection will give you the full picture. It may even reveal a lack of integrity on the seller’s part, giving you valuable negotiating power.

Power After the Sale

Even if you are unable to have a home inspection prior to an “as is” sale, it’s still a good idea to have a professional inspection after the sale is final for two significant reasons. First, armed with information from the inspection, you’ll have a clear path of how to proceed with the property. You’ll know what safety issues need to be addressed first and have a map of repairs and improvements to be made going forward. Second, a home inspector’s report may uncover defects the homeowner should have known about prior to the sale. Even in “as is” sales, homeowners can be held liable for concealing or misrepresenting relevant information.

If you’re considering an “as is” home, ask your realtor about a home inspection.

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