What Does Buying or Selling Real Estate ¨AS IS¨ Mean?
To sell a home AS IS is to sell the property in its current state with an understanding that no repairs will be made, and the property will come with its current faults and issues.
When you are buying a home “AS IS” it should be written clearly in the purchase and sale agreement.
AS IS in Mexico
In Mexico, AS IS has the same meaning. You, as seller, understand you must reveal at the same time, what you know to be deficiencies or problems with the property which may affect the buyer´s cost of acquisition. You have a heightened requirement to disclose what you know about your property.
What Selling As-Is Does Not Mean
AS IS does not relieve you as the seller from all the general obligations that come with the sale of a home. You cannot unload the property for whatever price you can receive, while avoiding the need to talk about or disclose any issues with the property.
Sellers have a duty to avoid making misrepresentations of fact or failing to respond truthfully to a specific question from a buyer.
SELLING “AS IS” DOES NOT MEAN NON-DISCLOSURE.
The purpose of an inspection of the property is to determine if it is in condition that would make the buyer not want to buy it. If the seller has disclosed what he knows about the property, and the buyer discovers these and other problems, he can withdraw at this point from the offer, in the matter described in the sales contract.
Many buyers realize that in Mexico there are no required forms for disclosure of termites, contamination, electrical grounding.
What the seller and buyer agree upon for repairs is between the parties as a result of negotiation.
Buyer and Seller can determine if they want to address the cost of repairs or the price of the home, but both have to agree after discussions, or the contract can be determined null and void.
In the case of a seller never occupying a home, it is harder to know its condition. This could be the case of a sale from probate, or heirs to the property are unaware of the condition of their parents´ home.
Professional agents taking a listing have their sellers fill out and sign a Sellers Statement of Property Condition. This report outlines what an owner knows and doesn’t know about their property and allows agents to represent a property more accurately.
Problems with Selling AS IS:
- Buyers can perceive your home negatively.
- Buyers can offer less for the property
- Sellers wishing to sell AS IS may have to work harder to demonstrate the value of the property.
- Sellers may find their AS IS condition attracts fewer buyers.
When to Consider Selling AS IS:
Most homeowners should avoid starting off a sale with AS IS. There are certain situations where selling as-is really is desirable.
1. You really cannot afford to make any repairs.
Work with your agent who may be able to come up with creative solutions which will allow you to avoid selling AS IS, or at least avoid putting it in your listing right from the beginning.
2. You really cannot handle the stress of a home sale.
If you can get help from friends or family, or if your agent offers to take care of the stressful aspects, as much as possible, you can probably get a better price for your home if you avoid selling AS IS.
3. Financial distress.
Look for investors who can be more objective about an offer, even though they will offer less. You may be able to close sooner.
Accepting an Offer and The Subsequent Home Inspection
There other time selling “AS IS” comes up is after an offer is received, but before the buyer home inspection takes place.
If you, as a seller, has agreed to your lowest price, you want your agent to be sure language is in the offer that the buyer knows he is buying the home “as is” and you are not coming down on the price or making any repairs for any defects discovered.
There are times when a seller has a little bit of money to invest into their property prior to listing it for sale. In this circumstance, it may make sense to do a few improvements prior to listing for sale. Discuss with your real estate agent things that should be fixed before putting the home up for sale.
Pricing a home properly is a skill and an art. Putting the right price on a property is difficult when selling a home AS IS.
Many agents are not skilled at estimating repairs and improvements that are necessary. Properties can end up being overpriced even when selling AS IS.
NOTE: Real estate agents are held to a higher standard when it comes to disclosing a home’s defects. Real estate agents are held to their Code of Ethics because they have to protect the public and not collude with a seller or buyer who is cheating or lying.
This article is based upon legal opinions, current practices and my personal experiences in the Puerto Vallarta / Nayarit (Bahia de Banderas) areas. I recommend that each potential buyer or seller of Mexican real estate conduct his own due diligence and review. If you have any other questions, contact me through my website.