My charming (but run-down) older house needs a lot of work,
but I’d like to skip making any repairs before I sell it. Is there any legal
reason I need to make repairs?
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle (and cost) of
identifying and fixing problems, you can sell your house “as is.” This essentially tells the buyer that you
don’t want to fix anything or lower the price for repairs.
But selling the house as is doesn’t mean that you can
completely wash your hands of responsibility for the condition of your
property. Not even an as-is sale will relieve you of your responsibility to
disclose the problems you know about. (See the Nolo articles on seller
disclosures for useful advice.) And savvy buyers will still insist on an inspection
contingency in the contract, reasoning that they want to know what your
house’s problems are before they make a commitment to buy, even if you’re not
going to fix those problems.
An as-is sale may simplify the sales process, but it
probably won’t help you get maximum dollar. Interested buyers will expect you
to offer a rock-bottom price, to compensate for the risk they’re assuming for
covering any major problems with the house.
And if you’re selling your house in a down market, an as-is
sale may be particularly unprofitable because you’re competing with other as-is
low-priced properties, including foreclosures.
Ask your real estate agent for advice before
selling your house as-is. Your agent may say that you’re better off fixing your
house up and selling it at market value.