Selling a House ‘As Is’ in PA (Pennsylvania)
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Briana Yablonski Contributing AuthorCloseBriana Yablonski Contributing Author
Briana Yablonski is a freelance writer based in Knoxville, TN. When she’s not writing about lifestyle, food, and real estate topics, she’s gardening or exploring local trails.
Caroline Feeney Executive EditorCloseCaroline Feeney Executive Editor
Caroline Feeney is HomeLight's Executive Editor / Director of Content. With 7 years of real estate reporting and editing experience, she previously managed content for Inman News and co-authored a book on real estate leadership. The Midwest native holds a master's from the Missouri School of Journalism and was formerly a real estate contributor for Forbes.
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.
Looking to sell a house “as is” in Pennsylvania? 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.
“Sellers think selling ‘as is’ is easier for them; they don’t want to put out any more money,” says Josh McKnight, a top-selling Philadelphia area real estate agent who has 19 years of experience. “The other issue we have (with regular sales) is when you say you’re going to make a repair, you’re kind of locking yourself into needing to find a contractor that can do that repair, and that’s become a challenge.”
However, 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 in Pennsylvania, your options for getting an offer, and what to expect from the process.
Fast facts about selling a house ‘as is’ in Pennsylvania
|Median sales price in Pennsylvania||$197,787 according to a report from the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® (March 2022)|
|Average days on market for Pennsylvania||9 days in the Philadelphia Metro Area and 23 days in the Harrisburg Metro Area in March 2022|
|Disclosures||Pennsylvania law requires sellers to disclose material facts about the property through the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement.|
|MLS has field to mark a listing “as is”?||No|
|Is a real estate attorney required?||Real estate attorneys are not considered essential for closing in the state of Pennsylvania, though it may be advisable to hire one.|
|Real estate transfer taxes?||1% documentary stamp tax (municipalities and school districts may also impose a local realty transfer tax to a maximum of 1%)|
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.
McKnight says he’s sold many foreclosed properties “as is” and these properties are black and white — the seller will never make any repairs, so the buyer either accepts this or they don’t.
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.
McKnight says that if your home is in good condition but you’d like to avoid making repairs, you should avoid putting “as is” in the property description. Instead, bring this information up when you begin negotiations with buyers.
What problems do you have to disclose in Pennsylvania?
Selling a house “as is” in Pennsylvania doesn’t mean sweeping known problems about the house under the rug.
A good time to fill out Pennsylvania’s Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement is prior to listing your home or requesting an offer so that you know it’s taken care of.
According to the document, sellers must “disclose to the buyer any material defects with the property known to the seller.”
Material defects are items that would provide “significant adverse impacts” or cause “unreasonable risk” to residents.
The form will walk you through documenting what you know about mold problems, appliance issues, plumbing, electric, and the presence of hazardous substances.
You’ll also be prompted to fill out information about whether there is any water accumulation or dampness in the basement/crawlspace, if you have made any alterations to your home, when your water was last tested, any problems with the sewage system, and when your heating system was installed.
No matter what method you choose to sell your home, it’s required to make these disclosures to the best of your ability.
However, the form does note certain exceptions for sellers if they are transferring the property to their spouse, direct descendant, or property co-owner. The seller may also be exempt from completing a disclosure if their property will be “demolished or converted to a non-residential use” or if the property transfer is court-ordered.
If you have buyers in the marketplace and they come across an ‘as is’ home, it may just mean the seller doesn’t want to do repairs — it doesn’t necessarily mean the house is in bad shape. But the ‘as is’ description could trigger something in the buyer’s mind saying, ‘hey, this house does need work.
- Josh McKnight Real Estate AgentCloseJosh McKnight Real Estate Agent at Keller Williams Real Estate Currently accepting new clients
- Years of Experience 20
- Transactions 1569
- Average Price Point $157k
- Single Family Homes 1051
Review your options to sell ‘as is’ in Pennsylvania
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.
McKnight says part of selling a home “as is” is listing the home in a way that doesn’t dissuade buyers. “If you have buyers in the marketplace and they come across an ‘as is’ home, it may just mean the seller doesn’t want to do repairs — it doesn’t necessarily mean the house is in bad shape. But the ‘as is’ description could trigger something in the buyer’s mind saying, ‘hey, this house does need work.’”
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 on the market, 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.
“Work with an experienced agent who sold a bunch of ‘as is’ houses,” recommends McKnight.
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.
“I like the idea of a pre-listing inspection,” says McKnight. “You get an idea of the condition and you can disclose the pre-inspection to the buyer. If the buyers know the issue upfront, it’s theoretically not going to become an issue during the sale.”
Price to reflect ‘as is’ condition
The median sale price for homes in Pennsylvania hit $197,787 in March 2022, a 10.5% increase over the year prior.
McKnight says that homes sold ‘as is’ in the area typically sell for less than regular listings, but it’s difficult to give details on exactly how much less since “as-is” homes aren’t tracked on the local MLS.
Some of the top factors that impact the value of an “as is” listing in Pennsylvania include the condition of the home, whether the seller is willing to make any upgrades before listing, and the home’s location.
Not sure what your home is worth? You can start with a free price 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 Pennsylvania, McKnight typically recommends sellers complete the following:
- Declutter: Removing clutter from your home before you sell can provide an ROI of 432% according to a 2019 Homelight Agent Report.
- Deep clean: Hiring someone to deep clean your home can provide an ROI of 935% according to a 2019 Homelight Agent Report.
- Address safety concerns: Fix minor issues such as missing railings.
- Improve curb appeal: Homelight’s recent Top Agent Insights Report found completing basic yard care has an ROI of 539%.
- Clean or replace carpet: Wash stained carpet to give it a fresh look and replace tattered or outdated carpet.
- Powerwash: Give your siding, porches, and decks a fresh look by power washing.
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:
- Public parks and green spaces
- Train stations in metro areas
- Walkable spaces
- Amenities like restaurants and malls
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 Pennsylvania include priced to sell.
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 desirable historical features, proximity to amenities like shopping and parks, and a large lawn. While you may choose to include “as is” in the property description, the MLS does not include an option to mark a house “as is.”
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.
McKnight often recommends that sellers avoid putting “as is” in their property listing, as it can lose potential buyers or trigger low offers. Instead, he suggests that the agent brings up the seller’s desire to sell a home “as is” during the negotiation process.
“The negotiation is where we shine,” McKnight says. “You want somebody that will be able to negotiate on the seller’s behalf to the buyer’s agent the ability to sell that home ‘as is’ and make it known that the seller doesn’t want to get involved in any repairs.”
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 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 is 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 likely 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.
“Cash offers are much easier,” says McKnight. “If the buyers finance and the offer is going to be contingent upon the buyer getting the financing, you always run the risk of the buyer losing their job, or something they wrote on the loan application wasn’t 100% correct, or the lender messes up. With cash you don’t have any of that.”
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 goes 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 or condo and how much work it needs. From there we’ll provide you with a full 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.
Curious 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 Pennsylvania
Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the leading companies that purchase homes “as is” for cash in Pennsylvania and information about each.
Philly Homes and Lots
Philly Homes and Lots was founded in 2017 by owner Anna along with her contractor father, interior designer mother, and real estate agent husband. This well-rounded local team works to purchase homes throughout the greater Philadelphia area. They strive to help homeowners in a variety of situations, including those facing foreclosure as well as those who received an inherited property.
Locations: Although the company has an office in Philadelphia, they buy houses throughout the greater Philadelphia area. Some towns they purchase homes in include Allentown, Lansdale, and Conshohocken.
Fees: Sellers may or may not pay closing costs. Philly Homes and Lots often covers closing costs, but it depends on the situation. The company never charges any fees or commissions.
Reviews: Philly Homes and Lots has been BBB accredited since 2020 and holds an A+ rating. Customer reviews for Philly Homes and Lots speak to the company’s no-pressure attitude and the ability to work with a customer’s schedule. They express that the company provided excellent communication and was able to quickly close on their homes.
Founded in 2012, MarketPro Homebuyers purchases an average of 25 homes each month. Their team works to provide fair, no obligation cash offers, no matter the home’s condition. They pride themselves on taking a personalized approach to buying, and say they take the time to get to know each buyer and their individual needs.
Locations: The company’s headquarters is located in Rockville, MD. They buy homes in Southeast Pennsylvania, including Bucks County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.
Fees: MarketPro Homebuyers never charges sellers for fees or commissions, and they often cover all closing costs for the seller.
Reviews: The company has been BBB accredited since 2018, and currently has an A+ rating. Individual reviews say that MarketPro Homebuyers took care of everything necessary for the home sale, including packing up and moving out belongings. Reviews speak of a “seamless process” and say the offers they received were more than fair.
HomeBuyers of Pittsburgh
After spending years working in the real estate investment world, friends Aaron Archibald and Ryan Scailabba teamed up to form HomeBuyers of Pittsburgh in 2015. Since then, the company has purchased over 600 homes in the Pittsburgh area. After filling out an online form, the company will typically contact you within an hour and close in as little as 21 days.
Locations: The company is based in Pittsburgh and buys homes throughout the Pittsburgh area.
Fees: HomeBuyers of Pittsburgh covers all closing costs and sellers never pay any fees.
Reviews: The company has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 2017 and they currently hold an A+ rating. They also have a perfect 5/5 rating on Google, with over 100 reviews. Reviewers speak of clear and honest communication and say employees were able to help them understand how they developed their offers.
We Buy Any Philly Home
We Buy Any Philly Home has been in operation since 2017. Rather than buying and flipping homes, this company works on a buy and hold model, which they say allows them to offer sellers a fair price. They are happy to work with sellers in a wide variety of situations, including those who inherited an unwanted property and those who are facing foreclosure.
Locations: We Buy Any Philly Home purchases homes throughout Pennsylvania, but they focus on the Philadelphia metro area.
Fees: Sellers pay no commissions, fees, or closing costs; We Buy Any Philly Home covers all associated costs.
Reviews: With an A+ accreditation from the BBB and 90+ 5-star ratings on Google, it’s clear sellers think highly of We Buy Any Philly Home. Reviews say the entire staff was professional, respectful, and easy to work with. People also reported that they received fair offers and there were no hidden costs.
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.
McKnight says it’s difficult to provide information about the offers for “as is” vs. regular listing since there’s no mechanism to track “as is” sales. However, listing a home as is often “triggers something in the buyer’s mind saying, hey, this house does need work, which means the offers are going to come in lower typically.”
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 Pennsylvania?
While every home sale is different, you should now be familiar with the general process of selling a house “as is” in Pennsylvania. Now, you can begin to weigh which method will work best for you.
Even if you choose to list “as is,” McKnight suggests keeping an open mind. “Are you going to not do a $20 repair the appraiser asked for because you want to sell the home ‘as is’, or do you want the deal to go through and just get rid of the home? It’s a different situation for everybody.”
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: (Christopher Boswell / Unsplash)