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Can You Sell a House As-Is Without an Inspection? It’s Common With Fixer-Uppers

At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.

Selling a house “as is” without inspection might sound like you’re trying to give the buyer a raw deal, but in many cases, these sales can benefit both the seller and the buyer.

For instance, someone might find themselves in possession of an inherited or distressed property that they want to offload quickly. Selling the home as-is can save a lot of time by cutting out factors such as marketing, repairs or upgrades, and open houses.

On the other side of the transaction, purchasing a house as-is can be the best route for some buyers. For example, think of a buyer who has fallen in love with a property, but the property has received other viable offers. Offering to buy as-is can entice a seller, because it means they can unload the house quickly.

Buyers of as-is properties are often investors or flippers who may want to buy, upgrade, and sell for a profit in as little time as possible. In the competitive housing market of 2021, which saw almost five offers per home, sales without inspection became even more commonplace. In June 2021, 29% of homebuyers waived their inspection contingency. In earlier years, homes for sale received an average of just over 2 offers apiece.

Unless you’re a real estate professional, you probably have lots of questions about these types of sales. What exactly is selling as-is? How does selling a house as-is affect what you have to disclose, and when does it make sense for someone to sell or buy this kind of property? Well, we’re here to lay it all out for you. And we’ve even got some advice for developing your strategy to sell a house as is.

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What is — and isn’t — selling “as is”?

In essence, choosing to sell “as is” means that the seller is offering the home in its current condition and doesn’t want to make repairs, even if an inspection unveils major issues.

That doesn’t mean the buyer can’t get an inspection, or include an inspection contingency in their offer. An as-is sale simply means the buyer likely won’t get anywhere with repair requests. Additionally, the buyer may attempt to renegotiate the price based on the results of an inspection, but the seller is under no obligation to lower their price.

If you’re selling to a real estate investor like Eric Strung of Direct Property Buyer, chances are the buyer knows what to look for and can perform a sort of unofficial inspection prior to putting in an offer.

“It’s a pretty competitive market,” Strung says. He checks out the house’s bones and big ticket items, but as an investor who buys just about all of his properties without inspection, he doesn’t sweat the small stuff.

“I go into each sale assuming that my clients will want things like a new kitchen, new bathroom, and a fresh coat of paint.” As a professional investor, he knows exactly what to look for when he tours a house being sold as-is.

Not all homebuyers are professional investors, however. Although putting in an offer on an as-is house might sound wild and cavalier, the buyer can protect themselves by including an inspection contingency in the sales contract.

This lets the buyer recoup their earnest money and walk away from the sale if their inspector finds serious problems with the property that aren’t worth the investment. Examples of these problems include damaged foundation, faulty wiring, and roof deterioration.

Even if your house isn’t exactly in mint condition, you can still likely sell it quickly with HomeLight’s Simple Sale platform. Just answer a few questions and we’ll help you sell your house for a competitive price quickly, sometimes in as few as 10 days.

Yes, you still have to disclose known issues in an as-is sale

It’s important to keep in mind that selling your house as-is doesn’t mean that you can try to sneak necessary repairs past prospective buyers. In most states, you still have to disclose any known material defects that significantly impact the property’s value or pose a risk to people. If you don’t disclose something, the buyer could sue or demand reimbursement for repairs after the sale.

Top real estate agent Joanne McCoy knows a thing or two about as-is sales and protecting her clients from post-sale liability. The best way to avoid an unhappy buyer is to “be very meticulous and thorough with filling out the seller’s property condition disclosure,” she advises. The seller should disclose any and all known issues with the house “to protect [themselves] and ultimately be fair to the buyer.”

In other words, honesty is the best policy. If there’s a problem with the house, try to fix it. And if that’s not possible, disclose it. Whichever route you choose, make sure you know the required disclosures so you don’t run into obstacles during the sales process.

When does it make sense to buy or sell a house as is?

There can be a certain stigma associated with as-is home sales that could deter potential buyers. Some people might automatically think the house has major problems that the seller just doesn’t want to deal with. However, in many cases, the seller just wants to sell an inherited property quickly.

In fact, some buyers actively seek out as-is house sales. Flippers, investors, and iBuyers are always in the market for an inexpensive house that they can buy quickly, oftentimes for cash. In very hot markets where competition is high, even regular homebuyers become more willing to purchase a property as-is.

McCoy has experienced this new trend firsthand. “In today’s market, since there are so few houses available in most price ranges for buyers, sellers can kind of call the shots,” she says Because homes sold at the fastest pace in history in 2021, buyers had to take what houses were available, which sometimes meant buying property as is.

As-is sales also make sense for many sellers. There are several reasons that sellers choose the as is sales path, including:

  • Inherited property. Maybe the house is located far away from you, or maybe you’re happy with your current home and don’t particularly want the burden of owning another house.
  • Relocation. If you’ve recently landed a job in a different state, you might want to say goodbye to your old home quickly.
  • Retirement. Sometimes empty nesters want to downsize or move to a warmer climate without having to deal with repairs to their old home.

Whatever your reason for considering an as-is house sale, one thing is certain: a strong strategy will lead to a successful sale.

A transparent view of the sky.
Source: (Caitlin Oriel / Unsplash)

Strategies for a successful as-is sale

Any successful sale involves a strong strategy. This is particularly true when offering your home as-is can scare off some prospective buyers. Here are a few ways you can design your plan of attack to sell your house as is:

  • Identify your target market. Your strategy and price may change depending on whether you want to sell to an investor or to someone who will make the house their home. Property investors and flippers gravitate toward lower priced properties, whereas there’s more room for negotiation if you sell to an individual or family.
  • Market creatively. You can avoid the “as-is stigma” with smart and creative marketing. Instead of describing a home that needs repairs as a “handyman’s dream,” focus on the positives first. What features and amenities does the house have? What’s the neighborhood like? And don’t be afraid to say why you’re selling it as is. Candor can go a long way, especially if you’re selling an inherited property with no major issues.
  • Make a great first impression. Want your buyer to fall in love with the house and give them a warm, cozy feeling about buying as is? Spruce it up! “If someone has put a little bit of time and effort into making the house look nice,” McCoy says, “it goes a long way to make the buyer feel that the seller has taken care of the house.” That can help the buyer feel more comfortable putting in an offer.
  • Consider a pre-listing inspection. Hiring an inspector before you list the house can provide insight into the house’s value and any repairs that need attention. Taking this step can put potential buyers at ease.

A great sales strategy also involves looking at the sale from the buyer’s point of view. For Strung, he’s paying close attention to the fundamentals: “I look at the electrical panel, the plumbing and pipes, roof, windows, and hot water heater” he says. He requests information on when these components were installed or upgraded in the house so that he can “determine whether to put some work into it so that it can be a nice, functional house for a long time.”

Your strategy should also include a knowledgeable partner. Just because you’re selling as is doesn’t prevent you from getting help from a top real estate agent. Great agents can sell your home faster and for more money, even if you’re not selling the traditional way.

Should you sell your house as is?

If you find yourself in possession of a house that you’d like to sell quickly, you might consider selling it as is without inspection. And whether you sell the property on your own or with a real estate agent, you can have a successful sale that makes both you and your buyer happy. Just prepare the home as best you can and educate yourself about the process. Then break the “as is stigma” and sell that house!

Header Image Source: (Damien Daye / Pexels)