Before proceeding with selling a house as is, this page covers legal aspects that may or may not apply to the area where you may be selling a fixer upper. Please proceed to My Disclaimer, before reading further.
Sometimes we may have a property, that needs a big pile of work and feel we would be better off to sell "as is".
A few reasons for this choice may be;
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One of the misunderstandings that sellers have sometimes when selling a house as is, they feel completely free from any responsibility to the buyer.
As is, when it come to buying a property, means that there is a "buyer beware" situation. The buyer is purchasing the home, based on WYSIWYG, or what you see is what you get.
What is missing from this, is the full disclosure from you or me the seller.
If we do not disclose defects, that you the seller were aware of and that the buyer could not reasonably detect when buying, the buyer may be able to come back later and sue for damages. You could be liable for repair bills later, for undisclosed defects.
Keep in mind, that this is based on the fact that where you live, the seller is required to submit full disclosure when selling real estate.
Where can you get your for sale by owner contract forms? Just proceed to; Forms
A Quick Example
Lets say the following is your situation:
Even though you were selling the house as is, the buyer can still come back for compensation, because of the disclosure statement, which you were untruthful about.
Does that make things clearer? Just be honest, OK? A buyer purchasing an "as is" property, knows already, there are problems. Fill out the disclosure statement honestly, and you won't have to deal with headaches later.
"To the Best of My Knowledge"
The disclosure statements that I'm familiar, always state words to the effect "to the best of my knowledge".
The reason for this is there may be problems that you may not be aware of or would be expected to be aware of in certain cases.
As an example, there could be a small leak behind the wall from the shower head in the main bath. There is no evidence of wet, or soft walls. After the buyers move in and tear the bathroom apart, they discover the damage inside the wall.
Are you responsible? In my opinion, no. You were unaware and could not be expected to be aware.
Who will Buy My As Is Property?
Be prepared! When you advertise "selling a house as is," you are looking at a whole different set of buyers. They could be;
The lesson here when selling a house as is, is this. Expect "LOW BALL" offers! You first have to price the house at the bottom of the market at the beginning and then you will probably be hit with low, low offers.
As an example, you may have got a certified appraisal for $150,000.
You offer for sale at $140,000.
You get offers to buy from $90,000 to $130,000.
OUCH! Sorry, that can be the real life experience of selling a house as is.
Before you decide about selling a fixer upper, take a look at other possibilities.
Could you perhaps fix most, or all the problems and then sell?
If this is your principle residence, could you wait to sell for a period of time and slowly make repairs?
Perhaps, doing the necessary repairs and renting the property for a period of time, while you did the rest of the repairs.
To get the maximum exposure, you might want to list on a heavy traffic for sale by owner site. Where? Check out My Choices
One Last Note
Although this is a "for sale by owner site," in the case of selling a house as is, if the house is in real rough shape, you may just consider listing with a Realtor.
What did you say, Doug? I'm shocked! OK, if you have a real thick skin and can handle what you might consider insulting offers, go for it.
You also may be dealing with "professional" investment buyers, that might be able to run circles around you.
If you have a strong Realtor representing you, it may at least put a shield between you and the buyer instead of selling a house as is and having to carry the full load.
I'm including a link to realtor.com for those that want to read some more about selling a house as is.
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