Hoping to sell your house without making any repairs? How much do you lose selling a house as-is? Read on to find out.
If you’re considering a house sale, the preparation involved in getting the property ready to be shown, attracting buyers, and passing inspection can be a mountain of work—especially if the house isn’t in top condition. If you want to move quickly, you might be tempted to consider an option that doesn’t require upgrades, repairs, or contingencies: selling your house as-is.
Listing a property “as-is” rather than polishing it up for an open house can be appealing if you’d rather save time and effort. But how does an as-is house sale work, and most importantly, how much do you lose selling a house as-is?
While it certainly depends on the number of repairs needed, you can typically expect to sell an as-is house for 5-10% less than a move-in ready home.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the process, along with financial considerations and pros and cons. With this information, you can decide on how to move forward with your home—as-is, or otherwise.
Why Sell a House As-Is?
Whether you have a backyard shed you never received a permit for, some flooring that could use replacement, or electrical work that’s not up to code, there are plenty of reasons why you may wish to sell your house as-is. Although many homeowners may opt to fix up these details in hopes of selling at a higher price, you may be willing to lose out on profit if it means your sale will be faster, easier, or require less effort.
Common reasons for an as-is listing include:
- Limited time to invest in sale preparation due to a job move or family emergency
- Elderly homeowners whose homes have declined alongside their health and strength, and are selling the house to pay for assisted living
- If you have already closed on a new house and need to stop paying two mortgages
- If you’re selling an inherited house that’s far from you, damaged, or needs major renovations
- The sale of a rental property with accumulated dings, wear, and damage
Ultimately, if the amount of time, work, and money that goes into getting a home sale-ready is worth more than the potential loss in the closing price, an as-is sale may be the right option for you.
What Happens When You Sell a House As-Is?
At a practical level, an “as-is” listing gives potential buyers a heads-up about two key differences from a traditional sale. The potential buyer:
- Cannot rely on an inspection and follow-up negotiation for repairs or credits
- Will accept legal responsibility for the house’s current issues
Removing or Changing the Role of a Buyer’s Home Inspection
A classic definition of an as-is sale means there is no inspection contingency. The buyer submits an offer without the expectation of being able to have the home inspected and either renegotiate terms or walk away from the sale with no penalty.
However, depending on the location, the home seller’s situation, and the local real estate market, some buyers present offers to as-is sellers with:
- An inspection contingency allowing the home buyer to cancel the sale (but not negotiate)
- A contingency that allows a walkaway only for severe health and safety hazards
- A request for permission to bring in an inspector for informational purposes (without having the right to cancel the sale based on inspection findings)
Responsibility for Property Issues
State law governs who is legally responsible for a home in any real estate transaction—including as-is sales. A handful of states rely entirely on a “buyer beware” approach (except for the federal requirement of lead paint disclosure). However, most states accord significant disclosure responsibility to the home seller, even for as-is sales.
Let’s take California as an example. Out of any state, it has the most expansive and restrictive real estate laws.1
In California, the buyer signs an acknowledgment of as-is offer prior to closing. This acknowledgment states that they’re asking to buy the property in the condition it is on the date the offer is submitted.
California sellers are responsible for fully transparent divulgence via the standard Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement, plus additional required certificates and reports—nearly 40 points of data.1
This covers all issues and defects in the home and lot, as well as:
- Current, past, and potential environmental and natural hazard dangers
- Neighborhood noise complaints and issues
- Past citations against the property
- The nearby presence of sex offenders
Although you don’t have to allow a home buyer to inspect your property, you will have to pay for and present certification of these inspections and reports as part of the disclosure standards:
- A certified structural pest inspection report
- A smoke detector statement of compliance
- A disclosure notice of property tax requirements and anticipated changes
You also cannot minimize, disguise, hide, or fail to mention any known defects and are legally obligated to honestly answer any questions about the property. Any misrepresentation or refusal to disclose information opens a seller up to fines and legal penalties.
The Drawbacks of Selling a House As-Is
There is no absolute percentage range for the price difference between traditional and as-is home sales, because there are too many variables to consider.
However, real estate agents agree that as-is listings are usually priced lower and attract fewer potential buyers. In general, houses that need some work may sell for 5–10% less than move-in-ready homes, while severely damaged properties could sell for as much as 50% less.2
Factors that go into how much price drop to expect for your as-is sale include:
- Condition – Are we talking about total tear-down or an outdated home with a yard full of weeds? If your home has structural damage or significant hazards, you can expect a much lower sale price than a house with a harvest-gold-and-avocado-colored kitchen last updated in the 70s.
- Buyer type – It’ll make a difference if your prospective buyer intends to live in the house, fix it up and flip it as an investment, or tear it down for the land. Flippers tend to be more knowledgeable about seeing past the surface to calculate the cost of repairs, while it’s rare to find homeowner-buyers who’re looking for a serious fixer-upper.
- Location – If your house is in a hot city, desirable neighborhood, on a cul-de-sac, or has a lake or cliff-top view, the location may be valuable enough to balance out the work needed.
- Housing market conditions – If the demand for homes has increased during the time you’re selling yours as-is, it may be easier to find a buyer who’s willing to work with the upgrades needed. However, if you’re selling your home at a time when plenty of options are available, you may find it more difficult to make a profit.
The Benefits of Selling a House As-Is
Most of the benefits of an as-is sale come down to time and effort. For instance, perhaps you’re inheriting a house and are trying to unload the property across the country from your residence. In this case, the travel needs and time you’ll lose by spending a week or more cleaning and sprucing it up may cost more than the potential difference in sale price.
With an as-is listing, you can typically expect:
- A speedier sale – As-is property sales typically close faster than traditional listings, particularly when housing shortages exist.
- Savings on monthly costs – With a quicker closing, you’ll be able to stop paying utilities, mortgage, property tax, and homeowners insurance bills on your old home sooner.
- Less work – Traditional sellers can spend weeks or months clearing the clutter, repairing and tuning up the house, painting, deep-cleaning, trimming the yard, power-washing the exterior, upgrading fixtures or appliances, and home staging—the list goes on. An as-is sale takes the pressure off your shoulders to fine-tune your property to a buyer’s delight.
- Save on upgrades and repairs – Whether it’s supplies, equipment, or labor, all the upgrading, cleaning, and maintenance above can cost money as well as time and effort. If you’re not in a position to make an up-front investment in property improvements, an as-is sale lets you skip these outlays.
All that said, it’s important to consider whether selling your home as-is is the only option. For example, if you’d prefer not to move at all, but need help paying your bills, you may have other options—such as sale-leaseback programs that allow you to convert your equity to cash while staying in the home you love.
Sell Your House With a Sale-Leaseback
Are you considering listing your house for sale as-is to meet immediate financial needs? If you want to stay in your home but need cash, you have another option. Sale-leasebacks help homeowners convert home equity without the costs and hurdles of a traditional sale or mortgage process. Many programs work with homeowners regardless of credit score, income, or debt ratios—including those who’ve been ignored or poorly served by big lenders.
If you’ve built up equity in your property, sale-leasebacks can help you convert that equity without a traditional sale and before you’re ready or being forced to move when you’d rather stay in the home.
Selling a house as-is won’t give you the return that you might get if your house was free of repairs and ready to move into, however, it could be a good option if you need to get rid of a house quickly due to circumstances. If you’ve found yourself in need of cash and have to sell your house, a sale-leaseback could be a good option for you.