How do you get the most out of selling a house as is?

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When preparing to sell your home, it can feel overwhelming to think about getting the property into pristine, show-ready shape — especially if you’ve been putting off a laundry list of repairs. Instead of investing more money before you list it, you can consider another option: selling a house as-is.

What does it mean to sell a house as is?

Selling a house as-is means that a buyer will get the property in its exact condition without any additional repairs or upgrades.

Most real estate transactions involve some back-and-forth bargaining — a buyer might request a $2,000 credit if a home inspector identifies a serious plumbing issue, for example — but a property with the “as-is” distinction means that the seller isn’t going to address any repairs.

Broadly speaking, properties listed as is tend to be priced lower, since the buyer will likely have to spend more money to complete additional work once they have the keys to the house.

Why would someone sell their house as is?

There are two main reasons to sell a house as-is: to save time and to save money.

Let’s say you need to relocate for work and unload your home as quickly as possible. Hiring a contractor to complete a project is going to seriously delay your listing. If there’s enough demand out there from buyers and you know you’ll get offers, selling it as-is can help speed up the process.

You might not have the cash to pay for a project, either. There are already plenty of costs that add up when selling a house, and a home in disrepair can raise those expenses further. For example, if the roof is in desperate need of replacing, you may need to shell out around $8,400, based on estimates from HomeAdvisor — not to mention more money to address leak damage to rooms underneath the leak. Selling a house as-is allows you to skip that cost, at least upfront — you might be paying for it later in the form of a lower sale price.

Is it bad to sell your house as is?

Selling a house as-is isn’t necessarily bad or good. It does come with potential upsides and downsides:

Pros

  • A faster path to closing – Rather than waiting for repairs to be finished, you can immediately put your house up for sale. Assuming your buyer has the funds (or access to a loan), you’ll be able to speed to the finish line.
  • Fewer costs to sell – While some sellers pay to stage their homes and budget extra money for upgrades to make a property look perfect, selling a house as-is means less pressure on your bank account.

Cons

  • Lower selling price – You’ll save money on the front end by skipping the repairs, but an as-is listing could attract bargain-hungry buyers or investors looking for a serious deal.
  • Fewer interested buyers – If you’re selling your house as-is, you might not get a big crowd or lots of interest, depending on how hot your market is. The “as-is” designation can be a red flag and cause some buyers to assume there’s something dreadfully wrong with the home.
  • Potential challenges with securing a mortgage on the buyer’s end – The buyer will no doubt pay for a home inspection, and if they’re looking for approval for a mortgage, most lenders will insist that a home not have structural, safety or health issues before they can lend money on it. Even if the buyer wants the property, the lender needs to sign off, too.

How to sell a house as is

If you selling your house as-is feels like the right choice for you, follow these four tips for a smooth and successful sale.

1. Negotiate with your real estate agent

It might be tempting to try to sell your house on your own to avoid paying any commission fees to a real estate agent, but you should still consider enlisting a professional with a track record of successfully helping others sell as-is. If you’re looking to save, consider negotiating the commission below the standard 6 percent or working out some type of a fee-paid arrangement.

2. Be upfront and honest with property disclosures

Selling a house as-is doesn’t excuse you from disclosing known defects. For example, if you know there’s a mold problem or a crack in the foundation, you’re legally obligated to inform the buyer. If you misrepresent the condition of the property, you can still be held liable for issues. So, be honest, and make the fact clear from the beginning that you aren’t going to make repairs.

3. Keep it as clean as possible

You might not be able to invest in any major repairs, but you can still maintain a tidy home. Keep the yard mowed, and be ready for viewings at all times. Keep surfaces clean, beds made, dishes put away and as much clutter as possible stored and hidden.

4. Think about how low you can go

Know what your bottom price is going to be, and be ready to make a quick counteroffer. If just a thousand or two stands in the way of a deal, you always can relent and trim your price accordingly.

Should you buy a house as is?

What about the other side of the transaction? Buying a house as-is comes with extra work (if you’re making the repairs yourself) and extra money to pay to transform the property into something that feels like a dream home.

That can sound a bit daunting, but it can make your future brighter: If you manage to buy a fixer-upper in a real estate market where home values are surging, your investment will appreciate. When it’s time to sell, you may be able to earn a sizable return.

If you’re thinking about buying a home as-is, there are a few key questions to ask:

  • How much will you need to invest in addition to the sales price? Tour the property with a contractor to get an idea of what a realistic budget will look like to complete additional projects.
  • How much more would you have to pay for a home that’s move-in ready? Look around the market to see if there are properties that don’t require additional work. Can you afford one of those now to avoid the extra costs and stress of a renovation project?
  • How will you pay for it? If you determine that buying a house as-is is right for you, compare a range of mortgages and loans that can cover home renovations. An FHA 203(k) loan or HomeStyle Renovation loan, for example, can help you borrow the money for the sale and the work you plan to do once the house is yours, meaning you’ll be able to lock in a low interest rate and make those upgrades as affordable as possible.

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Written by
David McMillin
Contributing writer
David McMillin writes about credit cards, mortgages, banking, taxes and travel. David's goal is to help readers figure out how to save more and stress less.
Edited by
Mortgage editor
Reviewed by
Professor of finance, Creighton University