Sell A House As-Is. What Will The Homebuyer’s Perception Be?

Sell my house as is

I often run into home sellers who state upfront they want to sell a house as-is. 

There is a time and place to sell your home as-is, but for most home sellers I don’t believe that is their actual intention. 

Keep in mind there is a legal definition of an as-is sale and then there is a buyer’s perception of as-is and you don’t want to market your home as-is unless you need to.

Market your home as an as-is sale only if it is necessary.

If it is not necessary to sell your home as-is, you may be sending the wrong message to the buying public.  And, on top of it you could be exposing your home to the wrong buyers.

Many home buyers who want to sell their home as-is sell to iBuyers like OpenDoor.  Or another alternative is to turn to investors that offer cash for a home.  Either way you are looking to sell your home for less than fair market value.

Definition Of Selling A House As-is

I like this concise definition of As-Is, excerpted from The Enforcibility of an As-Is Clause from Robert E Williams. Cited by K. Woodmere Associates, L.P. v. Menk Corp., 720A. 2nd 386 (N.J. App. Div. 199800

“When used in connection with the sale of real property, ‘as is’ generally means the purchaser is acquiring real property in its present state or condition. The term implies real property is taken with whatever faults it may possess and that the grantor is released of any obligation to reimburse the purchaser for losses or damages resulting from the condition of the property conveyed”

What Does It Mean to Sell My House As-is?

As stated above, generally the term “As-is” means the home is being sold “as is” meaning, just as the house sits and as you view it. 

It implies that under no circumstances will you do any repairs to the home or is there any warranty on the home. 

As a seller that sounds great!!

But realize when you state upfront the sale of your home is as-is, you are sending a loud and clear message.  And is that message the right message to achieve your goal when selling your house?

When you sell a house as-is, it does not mean:

  1. You don’t have to answer any questions honestly when asked.  While Massachusetts is a Caveat Emptor State, meaning a seller is under no obligation to disclose any defects to the property (with a few exceptions, lead paint and if you are serviced by a septic system), legally you are bound to answer all and any questions honestly.  State law strictly states you must answer any questions honestly that are asked of you.
  2. You can deceptively hide an issue.  While legally you may not have to volunteer any negative information about your home, it is never alright to deceptively hide an issue.

Real Estate Agents Are Held To A Higher Standard

Note, real estate agents are held to a higher standard in Massachusetts and must disclose any known material defects of the property. 

They will and should ask you to fill out a seller’s disclosure disclosing facts about your home.  It is always best to fill it out and be transparent.  Being upfront and transparent will always prevent the least amount of problems.

Now any good real estate attorney will put an “as-is” clause into a purchase and sale contract.  It further protects the seller from any implied warranties or claims after the sale. 

While not completely necessary, it reinforces the fact that the buyer has had time to do their due diligence and they are accepting the property as-is at the closing. 

Again, this does not protect the seller from any misrepresentation or fraud.

Selling A House As-is- How Will The Buyers See It?

A buyer’s perception of a house being sold as-is will be different than the typical seller who asks me to list their house as-is.  A buyer will perceive a home being sold as-is as having multiple problems ranging from many minor issues to major issues.

What the buyer interprets when they “house being sold as-is”:

Selling Your House As-is  =   Serious Defects  =  Serious Discount

Before insisting your agent lists the property as an as-is sale in the MLS, think carefully about your intent and the ramifications that will follow.

A Home Should Be Sold As-Is When:

Serious Issues a Seller Won’t or Can’t Correct.   And there are truly no funds to do any repair on the property.   This is usually notifying the public the house has issues ranging from needing major TLC (tender loving care) to a full gut rehab. 

The Seller Can’t Be Bothered. A seller does not want to put energy into the sale of a home. They have other things going on in their life and can’t deal with the stress of selling.  They just want to be done with it.  A home in an estate will often be sold as-is.

Third-Party Who Never Occupied The Home Is Selling. An estate or foreclosure where the actual seller has no knowledge of its condition.  Most likely they have never been or recently been to the house.

What Are Most Sellers Trying to Say When They Tell Me Sell My House As-Is?

Often when a home seller tells me they want to sell their house as-is, their house is in perfectly acceptable condition. And they are hoping to get top dollar for their home.  But you can’t get top dollar for your home and market your home as an as-is sale.

What they are trying to tell me is I am not doing anything else to my home or any home repairs or renegotiating after a home inspection.  Take it or leave it. 

And that is certainly a home seller’s prerogative. 

Think Very Carefully Before Marketing Your Home As-is

But to state the sale is as-is, upfront in the MLS, you are narrowing down the potential buyers for their home.  Immediately you will get the bargain shoppers looking for the fixer-uppers.  If your home is in good shape, these are not the true buyers for your home.

Secondly, what if an actual problem shows up during a home inspection?  Sometimes a home inspection will reveal a problem that a home seller did not know anything about. 

A big deal killer in recent years is mold in the attic.  Most home sellers are not even aware they have it but it is certainly can be a huge deal killer.  Are you going to kill a home sale over a few thousand dollars in mold remediation?  An issue that a real estate agent will now have to disclose once they know.

A Better Option For Selling A House As-is

A better option for selling your home as-is can be multi-faceted.  It starts with keeping an open mind, preparing your home properly for the market and pricing it properly for the market and the condition it is in.

A home that is properly prepared for the real estate market and is priced accordingly will usually have a relatively smooth home inspection process.  Buyers know when they have a good house at a fair price and are less willing to give up a home over a few minor home inspection issues.

If there are serious safety, structural or system issues that are revealed they may be issues you want to address if you truly want to sell your home.  Remember it is always your prerogative to say no to a home repair requestThe final say is yours

It is important to work with your agent and see if the repairs are truly something that should be done or not.  When you are in a seller’s market it is much easier to say no to a request than when it is in a buyer’s market.

Don’t set a tone up front with buyers.  Play it by ear and deal with each issue as they come up appropriately.

How Much Less Will I Get For A Home I Sell As-Is?

Make no bones about it, if you sell a home as-is you are going to lose money on the sale. How much?

There are many variables that go into what an as-is home sale will cost a seller. But figure if you are going to market your home as an as-is sale you will probably get 75-95% of the home’s true value.

Make sure you discuss with your local Massachusetts REALTOR, if first marketing your home as-is will be the right strategy for your home.  And what that will mean for the bottom line to you at the closing table.

When Is It Appropriate To Sell A House As-is?

I usually reserve the house sold as-is clause in the Multiple Listing Service for when a house has a serious condition or title issue which is not correctable by the home seller. 

It usually boils down to homes that typically cannot receive financing because of their condition.  And that condition could mean title or physical condition or any other set of circumstances that would prevent financing. 

Or, it could be a situation where the home seller may have the money but won’t put it into the property.

Again, to state up front that your house is being sold as-is just raises a red flag for buyers. And one you do not want to raise. 

Only under certain circumstances do you want to call that out in your listing.  The average home buyer will view it as a project they do not want to get involved with.  And the bottom feeders will come out thinking they can get a great deal on a home.


I understand what many home sellers are saying when they tell me I want to sell my house as-is.  But that may not be the best way to market your home. Especially, if you are looking for top market value for your home.

What you are telling me is you are not going to be giving any concessions for repairs. The concession could be a price reduction or doing the repair itself.  And, that is handled in how you negotiate not by listing your house as-is.   Set your home price at the right price and prepare your home accordingly.  Barring unforeseen, major issues you shouldn’t have a problem.

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