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For Sale by Owner Articles • Owners.com - Home Selling Tips

Know Your Home Intimately Before As Is Sale

By Broderick Perkins
 
Selling a home "as-is" gets you out the door without completing repairs, upgrades, painting, carpeting and a host of other typical pre-sale tasks -- and that can save you time and money.
Just don't expect a windfall.
The "as-is" marketing strategy does not free you from liability if you don't disclose all your home's known defects, and it behooves you to get to know them intimately.
Sellers will be particularly persistent about your home's "as-is".
"The word "as-is" tends to scare buyers into thinking that there are some hidden repairs that need to be done or that the seller knows something they are not disclosing," said Robert Aldana a real estate agent and host of "Let's Talk Real Estate" on AT&T community cable television in the South San Francisco Bay Area.
In the purest sense, "as-is" means the buyer can take it or leave it. You don't provide any guarantees or warranties and you won't make any allowances, credits, or price reductions for any problems in your home.
"There's three things that come into play. If you don't have to make repairs you don't have to pay the money, you don't have to coordinate all those companies and there's the time suck. It's just a hassle" said John V. Pinto, a San Jose broker.
Pinto says in a buyer's market it makes for a tougher sell, but it can save you money. In a hot seller's markets as-is deals can comprise half or more of the inventory of homes for sale because sellers are few, buyers are numerous and buyers are willing to risk it.
"When you've got 15 offers on a house in Palo Alto (CA) you are in a very good position to sell it as-is," Pinto said.
But the as-is deal doesn't have to be a risky proposition for you or the buyer, provided you really get to know your home and disclose all its conditions.
Have your home inspected from the foundation to the rafters by a professional general home inspector and then call in the army, a major appliance inspector, roof inspector, chimney inspector, termite inspector, foundation inspector, the works.
Not only will the inspections allow you make clear and specific disclosures, they will also indicate your willingness to identify just what as-is means in your house and thereby reduce your liability.
And there's the time savings. If you use professional inspections that generate narrative reports, the buyer could be convinced further inspections are not necessary.
"You can make the transaction contingent upon the buyer approving the reports. Once he sees the inspection reports he can proceed, he can withdraw or you can negotiate," Pinto said.
Here's a final Catch-22: If your good-faith inspections turn up repairs required, say, to protect the health and safety of the home's inhabitants, or necessary repairs deemed extensive, the lender could balk.
Your options here are to pay for the work, negotiate with the buyer to have him or her foot the bill or withdraw.
"The lender's requirements do not change your sales contract. You aren't obligated to do any repairs because of the "as is" clause. When the lender requires work, you have the option to terminate the contract," said John Reyes, an agent with RE/MAX Group South Bay in San Jose.
 
Broderick Perkins, has been a consumer journalist for 20 years. Experienced in print, electronic, and consulting journalism, he is chief executive editor of San Jose, CA-based, DeadlineNews.Com, an editorial content and consulting firm.

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