Real estate has seen it’s share of trends come and go. From the Dusty Rose counter tops of the 1980’s, to Southwest decor, to the “everything has to be brown” color palate. From the rambling ranch to the split level to the garden home. And let’s not forget how the industry was taken by storm by the rise of the open concept living space.
Among the many challenges involved in buying and selling property is dealing with the “As Is” option, which seems to be gaining in popularity. I understand the motivation behind this tactic. Telling the buyer up front that the home will be sold in it’s current condition, regardless of the results of the home inspection seems like a savvy strategy. Letting them know from the beginning that you won’t be taking on any repairs would be sure to simplify the process, wouldn’t it? Cut those pesky repair negotiations right out of the process, right?
Wrong. There are many consequences of using this technique, however, simplification is rarely one of them. Let me tell you why.
When you start out the process of negotiating with the buyer by saying, “We’re not fixing anything” there are several thoughts that automatically go through the buyer’s minds and these are almost universal.
1.) It makes the buyer suspicious.
While you may be trying to cut down on drama or unrealistic repair lists, practically the first thought that springs into the mind of the prospective buyer is, “They know there’s something wrong with the house and it must be something BIG for them to say that up front”. You have immediately injected negativity into both the negotiations and the minds of the buyers, and let me tell you something, it is difficult, if not impossible, to come back from that.
In a recent conversation on the subject, Wendy Jones of Keller Williams Realty in Lubbock, Texas, said it best. “A seller can really injure a relationship with a buyer and maybe even end it before it starts with the “As Is” option. In most cases the repairs that come up are minimal in cost, even in those deals that have a laundry list of to do’s.”
2.) It puts the buyer in a combative frame of mind.
If you thought the buyers were going to go over your house with a fine tooth comb before this stipulation was introduced, brace yourself! Because now, they think you’re hiding something and more often than not, take it as a personal challenge to find it, or instruct their Inspector to be extra cautious.
And guess how we Inspectors react to this situation? Exactly the same as the buyers! The first thing we think is that we don’t even want to deal with this situation and/or we don’t want to get sued if we miss something, so… we will be extra sensitive about reporting even the smallest items if they can be even a slight warning sign of a problem.
Has the process gotten simpler yet?
3.) It’s not necessary.
Listen, I get it. If you’ve had to come down on the price a lot more than you wanted to, it can be a knee jerk reaction to say, “Fine! But this is it! Don’t ask me for any repairs!” It’s understandable. But the fact of the matter is, if certain conditions exist, you’ll have to fix them for anyone to consider the purchase and in some cases, for the property to be insurable. Such as, you ask?
Such as a hail damaged roof. Unless you have a cash buyer, the roof will have to be insurable. So having said “no repairs” will have been both waste of breath and will have poisoned the relationship for nothing. And examples don’t end there.
Such as a Federal Pacific electrical panel. Such as Kitec plumbing. Such as issues with roof or floor framing in older homes. Such as termites or original sewer lines. These are just some of the items that most people will either want fixed, or want money off the sales price so they can have them fixed. In any case, they will have to be addressed one way or another. So why make the spirit of the deal negative and make the inevitable negotiations that much more difficult and the parties involved that much more rigid?
My advice is this: Take the situation as it comes. It’s entirely possible there won’t be any (or many) requested repairs. And if the buyers want you to repair something, but you feel you have done enough already by coming down on the sales price, just say no. Then they’ll know they’ll have to address it themselves, or they’ll walk away and you’ll both start over again. Just keep in mind that once you know about an issue, you have to disclose it to the future buyers. It’s not going away, so get ahead of the game by either addressing the issue with repairs or making it known up front.
Wendy Jones has some good advice here, as well. “I believe sellers often know they have deferred maintenance and are afraid of what might come up, but my job as their agent is to help them make good decisions, assess cost and even find experts to hire, as well as walk away from a deal that is just not in their best interest.” (Wendy Jones’ website can be accessed here: Wendy Jones Team
So, the takeaway here is to do your due diligence and be sure to get a great Realtor like Wendy Jones to advise you. A pre-market home inspection can also go a long way to easing your mind, or at least letting you know for certain what you’ll be looking at dealing with in the future. Knowledge is your friend!
Thanks again for reading my blog! Please be sure to comment below and “Like” and share on your preferred social media platform. And as always, I wish you a safe and happy home!