Looking to sell a house “as is” in Maryland? Whether you’ve got a fixer-upper or recently inherited a relative’s home, sometimes the goal is to skip repairs, get a fair offer, and move on.
There are some misconceptions about what “as is” means, says top-rated Maryland real estate agent Juan Umanzor. “I get a lot of sellers who say, ‘Juan, we’re going to make some updates to this home, but we don’t want to do anything else.’ They want to sell as-is.”
Umanzor says he understands that some sellers may not have the means to make any additional repairs. “But they do need to understand that there’s a disadvantage to them as sellers when they do that.”
Selling a house “as is” usually means accepting a lower offer and it doesn’t always prevent buyers from trying to negotiate savings. Let’s take a closer look at how to sell a house “as is” in Maryland, your options for getting an offer, and what to expect from the process.
Fast facts about selling a house ‘as is’ in Maryland
|Median sales price in Maryland||$390,000|
|Average days on market for Maryland||6 days|
|Disclosures||Maryland law requires sellers to disclose material facts about the property through the Maryland Residential Property Disclosure and Disclaimer Statement.|
|MLS has field to mark a listing “as is”?||Yes, according to Umanzor, there is an as-is addendum for agents to complete.|
|Is a real estate attorney required?||Real estate attorneys are not considered essential for closing in the state of Maryland.|
|Real estate transfer taxes?||0.5% or 0.25% for first-time buyers|
What is ‘as is’ condition in real estate?
“As is” is a type of home sale where it’s understood that no improvements will be made to the property. When selling a house “as is,” the seller is choosing not to entertain requests from buyers to complete repairs or provide a credit for fixes.
An as-is sale may also indicate that the functionality and longevity of certain components of the home, such as a stove on its last legs or an older roof, is not guaranteed.
When selling a house “as is,” the general condition of the property should already be accounted for in the purchase price of the home to the best of the seller’s knowledge.
Which types of homes are sold ‘as is’?
Homes sold “as is” often need some work or may be cosmetically outdated. It’s not a label you’re likely to put on a listing in pristine, move-in-ready condition.
“As is” sales often attract investors searching for their next flip or buyers seeking a bargain, perhaps on a home in a great location with lots of potential.
“You are limiting the number of buyers that could purchase the property because of the type of loan they have,” Umanzor says. “Especially if there are safety concerns, you’ll be looking for an investor to buy the home rather than a buyer willing to pay top dollar.”
What problems do you have to disclose in Maryland?
Selling a house “as is” in Maryland doesn’t mean sweeping known problems about the house under the rug.
A good time to fill out the Maryland Residential Property Disclosure and Disclaimer Statement is prior to listing your home or requesting an offer so that you know it’s taken care of.
According to the document, all sellers in Maryland must provide homebuyers with either a Disclosure Statement that provides a detailed list of any and all defects that are known to the seller, or a Disclaimer Statement, which makes no warranties about the home’s condition.
The property disclosure form includes questions that cover a wide range of potential issues, including:
Material facts or defects
- Settlement or other problems with the home’s foundation
- Leaks or evidence of moisture in the basement
- Leaks or evidence of moisture coming from the roof
- Structural defects in the walls or floors
Main home systems
- Any known issues with the plumbing system
- Problems with the heating or air conditioning system
- Issues with electrical fuses, circuit breakers, outlets, or wiring
- The functionality of smoke alarms and any fire suppression systems
- The operating condition of the septic system
- Problems with water supply or water treatment
- Concerns about standing water, gutters, and downspouts
- History of infestation or prior damage from wood-destroying insects
Hazardous or regulated materials
- Licensed landfills
- Radon gas
- Lead-based paint
- Underground storage tanks
- Any other contamination
Zoning, lot, or permit violations
- Nonconforming uses
- Violation of building restrictions or setback requirements
- Any recorded or unrecorded easement, except for utilities
- If proper permits were pulled for improvements on the property
Home location considerations
- If the property is located in a flood zone
- If the property is located in a conservation or wetland area
- If the home is part of a designated historic district
- If the property is part of a homeowners association (HOA)
The disclosure form closes by asking the seller if there are any other material defects, including latent defects, affecting the physical condition of the property.
Even in the case of an as-is sale, you are still required to provide a list of latent defects to prospective buyers. These are any problems the purchaser wouldn’t be able to discover for themselves during a visual inspection, as well as anything that would pose a health or safety hazard.
For the disclaimer portion of the form, you simply need to specify whether you have knowledge of any defects, and then provide a brief explanation in the space provided.
No matter what method you choose to sell your home, it’s required to make these disclosures to the best of your ability. However, Maryland does allow certain exemptions for sellers who haven’t lived in the home, including for homes that have never been occupied or in cases when a certificate of occupancy has been issued within the preceding year.
Review your options to sell ‘as is’ in Maryland
The main options to sell a house “as is” include:
List ‘as is’ with the help of a real estate agent
A great real estate agent will provide assistance throughout the process of listing and selling a home “as is.” An agent gives simple presentation tips to improve marketing, helps to set an appropriate price that reflects the home’s condition, and works to find a buyer willing and eager to buy your home in its current state.
“It’s very important for sellers to work with a top agent,” Umanzor says. “I know my craft and can prepare my clients with everything that’s going to happen throughout the process. Just knowing where you’re going and how you’re going to navigate everything puts you at an advantage.”
Sell directly to a cash buyer
Someone needing to sell their home “as is” can also work directly with a property investor or house buying company rather than list, where it may be difficult to get an offer from a limited buyer pool.
“We buy houses” operations buy “as is” at a discounted rate and generally seek out homes in need of significant repairs. These companies can help sellers cash out quickly and many will cover a seller’s closing costs.
Steps to list ‘as is’ with the help of a real estate agent
Find an agent willing to list the home ‘as is’
Your choice of real estate agent always matters, but especially when selling a property “as is.” It’s important to find the right match. You’re looking for an agent who doesn’t shy away from listings that need a little TLC and maybe has a strong network of investor connections.
Your agent should also be willing to go the extra mile on marketing. Considering 80% of Americans say they would prefer to buy a move-in-ready home, an “as is” sale likely has a reduced buyer pool from the start.
Because of this reduced buyer pool, something that Umanzor will do as both a real estate agent and investor is to lend his clients the money they need to make some of the updates to their properties prior to listing them for sale. (It’s important to note that this is not a service provided by a typical agent.)
“I just had three sales last month where I lent the sellers the money needed to make the repairs and they netted almost triple the amount of money we put into the house,” Umanzor says. “It’s a win-win for everybody. Buyers are happy, sellers are extremely happy and I get a home that is ready to sell that’s presentable.”
Consider a pre-listing inspection
A pre-listing home inspection is the same as a standard home inspection except that the seller pays for it before listing their home on the market. It may sound like a counterintuitive step for an as-is sale, but getting the inspection results upfront can illuminate any issues that could impact the value of the home and inform an accurate pricing strategy.
If a buyer requests further deductions to the price based on their own inspection, you may be able to point to how the estimated cost of certain repairs was already baked into the list price.
Although Umaznor doesn’t order pre-listing inspections for the sellers he represents, he knows some agents who will bring an inspector in before listing a home. “In the state of Maryland, it is mandatory that you must disclose any defects that you’re aware of as the homeowner, Umanzor says. “So once you do that inspection, you must disclose all of that.”
Umanzor went on to say that if the seller chooses to do an inspection, and then uses the information to make improvements to the property before listing it for sale, it could be beneficial. By disclosing the inspection report, as well as the improvements they made to the property based on the inspector’s notes, it could give the buyer peace of mind, he says.
Price to reflect ‘as is’ condition
The median sale price for homes in Maryland hit $390,000 in April 2022, an 8.3% increase over the year prior.
Umanzor says that homes sold “as is” in the area typically sell for less than regular listings and have a reduced buyer pool, which is why he always provides an offer to help finance home improvement projects for his sellers prior to listing a house.
To illustrate the potential value of making improvements before listing, Umanzor shares a real-life situation where he helped one seller make $60,000 of repairs to their home, which was completed in about a month. “We got seven offers for the property and sold the house for $468,000. After the repair cost, my clients got $58,000 more than if the property was listed ‘as-is.’”
You can start with a free estimate from HomeLight’s Home Value Estimator (HVE).
Our HVE combs public data including tax records and assessments and pulls recent sales records for other properties in your neighborhood. Using a short questionnaire, we also factor in specifics about your home such as the property type and described condition. Input your address, and we’ll provide you with a preliminary home value estimate in under two minutes.
Do ever-so-light preparations
Even for as-is home listings in Maryland, Umanzor typically recommends sellers complete the following:
- Declutter and remove as much stuff from the house as possible
- Clean the house
- Mow the grass and spruce up the yard
- Eliminate odors, especially pet odors
- Consider freshening up the paint
“Making the house clean and appealing is mandatory,” he says. “If you can also give it a fresh coat of paint, that can go a long way.”
Photograph to show potential
Your home listing warrants professional photography no matter what type of condition the property is in. A professional photographer will take steps to shoot each room from the best angle, ensure optimal interior and natural lighting, and edit for the ideal brightness and exposure.
A high-quality camera with a wide-angle lens is also essential to showcasing entire rooms rather than half or three-quarters of what’s there. For these reasons and more, professionally photographed homes can sell up to three weeks faster and bring in up to $11,000 more than their houses marketed without professional photos.
Your real estate agent will almost always arrange for professional photos as part of the listing process.
Highlight the surrounding area
A home’s location will be important to buyers seeking out a home with potential. Mention in your as-is listing if your home is close to any of the following:
- Parks or outdoor recreation areas
- Area schools
- Restaurants and/or shopping
- Interstate access
- Coffee shops
- Transit line
Include ‘as is’ in the listing
Unless you explicitly mention that your house is being sold “as is,” buyers will have no idea of your intentions with the listing. Other common descriptors mentioned in as-is listings in Maryland include priced to sell, fixer-upper, or handyman special.
To balance the focus on as-is condition, work with your agent to craft a property description that highlights the best features of the home, such as acreage, historical significance, structural integrity, unique architecture, and any recent renovations or updates.
Understand buyers may still negotiate
Listing “as is” provides no guarantee that buyers won’t try to negotiate savings on their purchase, even on an asking price you felt was already reduced to reflect the home’s condition. One of the best defenses you can have is an agent who takes a hard stance to prevent a deal from going south for the seller.
“We see different scenarios happening every day, so when I get a contract, I know what questions I need to ask to get the best offer for my client,” Umanzor says. “Not every buyer who has an approval letter will get to the finish line.”
Be aware of minimum property standards for certain loans
When you place your home on the market, it’s hard to predict if your top offer will come from a cash buyer or a buyer pre-qualified for a home loan.
But if you do end up working with a financed buyer, be aware that different mortgage types (such as conventional loans or government-backed FHA, USDA, or VA loans) have different minimum property standards. These are standards related to the overall condition of a property which will play a role in the willingness and/or ability of a lender to finance a buyer’s loan.
Before properties can be financed, their value and condition are typically examined by a state-licensed, independent appraiser contracted by the buyer’s mortgage company.
If you’re unsure whether your home will meet appraisal requirements, you can start by taking a look at the FHA minimum property standards. If your house complies with FHA, then it complies with most other lenders’ requirements.
Prioritize a cash offer if you receive one
On occasion, conventional lenders may even finance a fixer-upper property sold “as is,” and it’s not impossible to finance a fixer-upper with an FHA loan. However, if you’re selling a house “as is” — especially one that needs heftier repairs — you may want to consider accepting a cash offer if you receive one. Cash eliminates the lender-ordered appraisal as well as the time it takes to close on the buyer’s loan, creating a faster and clearer path to settlement.
“Let’s say there’s peeling paint on a home, or a safety issue such as a leaking roof, mold, or missing railings,” Umanzor says. “These are things that will be concerning to a bank and most will want those issues taken care of.”
Pros of listing a home ‘as is’
- Save time and money on prepwork
- Possibility of reducing negotiations from the inspection
- Solution for out-of-state owners and inherited homes
Cons of listing a home ‘as is’
- Limited buyer pool
- Expect lower offers
- Negotiations and repairs aren’t always off the table
Steps to sell directly to a cash buyer
Now that we’ve covered the general process of listing a home “as is,” let’s discuss the alternative of working with an investor. While the process varies from business to business, the steps to selling your home to a house-buying company typically go something like this:
- Decision: A homeowner decides a traditional listing isn’t for them. Perhaps their house needs a lot of work or they do not want to host any showings or open houses. They’re concerned about finding a buyer willing to purchase their home “as is” in its current state.
- Contact: A seller contacts a company that buys homes in their area and provides some basic information about their home.
- Preliminary offer: At this stage, some house-buying companies will provide a preliminary offer that is subject to change after a house assessment.
- Assessment: The company schedules a walkthrough of the property to evaluate its condition, usually within 24 to 48 hours.
- Firm offer: The company makes a firm offer (usually within 24 hours, sometimes on-site after the walkthrough) which you can accept or decline. Most of these companies will not negotiate on price, so the offer is a take-it-or-leave-it scenario.
- Closing: If you accept the offer, you and the company will each sign the contract, and closing will begin. Some companies offer a large deposit or moving cost assistance, and a few may even pay for the home upfront.
- Payment: The seller receives payment quickly, typically within seven days to a few weeks. This can vary by company, and sellers who work with a house-buying company often enjoy flexibility in selecting a move-out date that works for them.
If you aren’t sure where to get a cash offer, consider Simple Sale, a solution from HomeLight. With Simple Sale, you tell us a bit about your home, such as whether it’s a single-family home or condo and how much work it needs. From there we’ll provide you with a no-obligation all-cash offer to buy your home in as few as 48 hours.
No need to call the roof inspector or drain your savings to replace the HVAC. HomeLight will provide an offer for homes in almost any condition.
Sell when it’s convenient
Want to get out right away? Or need a little more time to pack? Either way, we’re flexible. Pick a move date that works for your schedule within 30 days of closing.
Close with certainty
Cash buyers don’t need a lender’s involvement to purchase a home, meaning they can move nimbly and quickly compared to someone who needs financing. With Simple Sale, you can close in as little as 10 days, compared to the 30-60 days it typically takes to close with a financed buyer.
Want to know more about the Simple Sale experience? Hear it first hand from one of our valued clients in the video below.
Additional ‘we buy houses’ companies in Maryland
Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the leading companies that purchase homes “as is” for cash in Maryland and information about each.
The House Guys
The House Guys is a local homebuying company based in Washington, DC, that is owned and operated by Andy Kolodgie and Liz Hutz. As their website describes them, they are “Virginia Tech grads who went from coding software for Navy ships and aircraft to flipping houses.”
The duo works with local contractors to keep costs low and provide competitive cash offers for properties.
Locations: The House Guys purchase homes in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.
Fees: Sellers do not pay closing costs. The House Guys covers them and doesn’t charge any commission or fees.
Reviews: The House Guys has been BBB accredited since January 10, 2022, and holds an A rating. Customer reviews for The House Guys speak to how easy and enjoyable it was to work with Andy and Liz, as well as the speed of the closing process. They express enthusiasm for the entire process, as well as satisfaction with the sales price. Although reviews on Google are mostly positive, there were a few negative comments, which the company owners did take the time to reply to. In both cases, it’s unclear whether the reviewer was an actual customer of The House Guys.
Simple Homebuyers is a family-owned real estate business based in LaPlata, Maryland, that has been buying properties for cash in the Maryland-DC-Virginia metro area since 2017.
According to their website, Simple Homebuyers will work with sellers under many difficult circumstances, including divorce or foreclosure. Homeowners can call the company or fill out a form on their website to request an offer. This process involves a home visit where a company representative will thoroughly inspect the property and make note of any repairs or improvements they’ll need to consider when calculating the offer price.
Locations: Simple Homebuyers purchase homes in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.
Fees: Sellers do not pay closing costs. Simple Homebuyers covers them and doesn’t charge any commission or fees.
Reviews: Simple Homebuyers is not BBB accredited, but does hold 5-star ratings on Facebook, Bark, and Google. Customer reviews for Simple Homebuyers speak to how fast, easy and fair they found the process. They express satisfaction with the process, as well as gratitude for “getting this burden off my shoulders.”
CR of Maryland
CR of Maryland is a real estate company in Timonium, Maryland, that purchases homes for cash and then collaborates with local investors to make the improvements needed to create “modern, quality, affordable homes for families throughout Baltimore.” The company has purchased and sold thousands of properties since 2004 and has been involved in the renovation of over 800 vacant homes.
Locations: CR of Maryland purchases homes in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as the surrounding areas.
Fees: Sellers do not pay closing costs. CR of Maryland covers them and doesn’t charge any commission or fees.
Reviews: CR of Maryland has been BBB accredited since September 30, 2016, and has an A+ rating. Customer reviews for CR of Maryland speak to how pleasant of an experience it was to work with the company, as well as how fast and responsive they were during the home buying process. The company did have a few BBB complaints, which mostly involved frustration over its marketing and advertising practices. The company did respond to each complaint and offered to make a charitable donation on behalf of the customer in some cases.
Pros of selling ‘as is’ to an investor
- Save money on home preparations.
- Sell fast — receive an offer in as little as a few days, and close as quickly as one to two weeks later.
- Skip repairs. Most house-buying companies purchase properties in “as is” condition, even those that need major repairs.
- No staging. No repeated showings. No open houses.
- Arrange for a flexible move-out date.
Cons of selling ‘as is’ to an investor
- Offers are likely to be much lower. Investors typically pay 70% of what they estimate to be the home’s after-repair value.
- Sellers will have room to negotiate. Most cash buyer offers are going to be “take it or leave it.”
- Although many home-buying companies are legitimate, some are not. It’s always a good idea to be vigilant about possible scams.
How much will you make from an as-is home sale?
There is no simple equation for calculating how much you’ll net from an “as is” sale. If you list on the market with an agent, you’ll need to account for the cost of agent commissions (around 5.8% on average) and other closing costs such as title fees and taxes, but are likely to field higher offers from buyers and see more competition for the home.
Different types of investors and house-buying companies also offer varying amounts for homes, largely dependent on their exit strategy. While fix ‘n’ flip investors usually pay around 70% of the home’s after-repair value, buy-and-hold investors who plan to rent out your property may be able to pay more. In addition, investors are often willing to cover a seller’s closing costs which can add up to around 1%-3% of the sale price.
HomeLight’s net proceeds calculator can be helpful for running through some possible selling scenarios and estimating your take-home pay.
Ready to sell your house in Maryland?
While every home sale is different, you should now be familiar with the general process of selling a house “as is” in Maryland. Now, you can begin to weigh which method will work best for you.
Whether you choose to list “as is” with a real estate agent or work with a direct home buyer, a home doesn’t have to be in perfect condition to sell — so long as you provide disclosures as necessary, set the right price, and know what to expect going in. Whenever you’re ready to take the next step, HomeLight would be happy to assist with your real estate needs. Connect with a top agent near you or get started with a cash offer from Simple Sale.
Header Image Source: (Seth Hoffman / Unsplash)