If you or your spouse is a do-it-yourselfer, you may not be put off by ads for “unique fixer-upper opportunities” when you’re looking for a home. However, when you see a home advertised for sale “as-is,” it’s crucial to know what you’re getting into.
Not all “as-is” homes are falling apart or have serious hidden problems. Sometimes, a seller just doesn’t want to put time and effort into fixing it up to sell. Before they turn it over to a house-flipping business, they may decide to see what they can get for it on the open market.
One or more inspections are crucial
If you’re considering putting an offer on an “as-is” home, you need to know just what that means for that particular home. You also need to know your rights – because you do have them.
A key difference between a home for sale “as-is” and a traditional home listing is that there won’t be any contingencies in the purchase and sale agreement. You won’t be able to make your purchase contingent on the seller fixing something an inspector finds, for example.
Get an inspection before you make any commitments. You may want to hire some inspectors to look for things like asbestos, radon and termites. This will cost you some money, and keep in mind that you may not want to follow through with an offer after you get their reports.
The seller still has legal obligations
Listing a home for sale “as-is” doesn’t relieve the seller of the requirement to disclose any defects. Under Connecticut law, sellers must disclose all information they have about issues with the home. That includes anything a repair professional or inspector told them.
If mold was discovered in the home, for example, and the owner chose not to do anything about it, that would need to be disclosed. If it’s not disclosed and it’s discovered that the owner knew about it (for example, if it was included in an insurance appraiser’s report), they can be held liable for damages.
If your sole purpose for buying an as-is home is to save money, you may not be saving as much as you think you are. However, if this is the (potential) home of your dreams, be sure to have experienced legal guidance early in the process.