Selling a House As-Is: The Definitive Guide

Selling a House As-Is: The Definitive Guide

Selling a house as-is can make the process a whole lot easier. 

No repairs, no home improvements, and no haggling with buyers. 

But if you decide to sell as-is, you need to go into it with your eyes open. 

Because it can backfire on you.

In this guide, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about selling a house as-is so that you’ll know definitively if it’s the route you want to take.

What does it mean to sell a house as-is?

Selling a house as-is means that the seller is selling the property in its current condition and wants to get it sold quickly. 

In other words, you won’t be spending any time or money making repairs to your house prior to or during the sale. The buyer gets the property exactly how they see it.

What selling as-is does not mean

While selling as-is means you won’t be doing any repairs or improvements to your property, it does not mean that you are relieved from certain requirements that come with selling a home. 

You still have a duty of disclosure to a prospective buyer, no matter the condition.

Exactly what you have to disclose when selling a home as-is will change from state to state.

Each state has its own set of disclosures that need to be completed by the seller. 

These disclosures ask the homeowner a series of questions that they must answer truthfully and to the best of their knowledge.

For example, when selling a house as-is in California, home sellers will answer a series of questions on two separate disclosures: 

  • Transfer disclosure statement 
  • Seller property questionnaire 

Here’s an example of what they’re asked:

 

Disclosure for selling a house as-is

 

But the seller isn’t the only one that is required to disclose certain information. 

Real estate agents must also disclose everything they know about the property they’re selling. 

This is due to the Consumer Protection Act

Realtors have an obligation to disclose any fact that could influence potential buyers not to enter into a real estate transaction.

These can range from defects to road noise to the property being close to high-voltage power lines.

Here are a few other examples of what a realtor must disclose to potential buyers when they sell a home: 

  • Structural defects such as cracks in the foundation
  • Existence of mold in the home
  • Termite damage
  • Roof leaks (including stains from prior leaks)
  • Plumbing and electrical issues
  • Inoperable garage door
  • Water damage
  • Legal issues such as an encumbrance or lien on the title

Selling your home as-is doesn’t change any of these legal rights.

Both home sellers and real estate agents are still legally required to disclose certain information that could discourage potential buyers from wanting to move forward with the home sale.

Should I sell my house as-is or fix it up?

If you have the time and money, making repairs will almost always get you a higher sale price and allow you to sell your home faster. 

But if you don’t have the time or money, then you need to know how selling a home as-is works – and you need to know the exact steps you should take.

There are three main reasons why homeowners choose to sell a house as-is: 

  • They don’t want to spend the time and money making any repairs.
  • They’re experiencing emotional stress and want to sell the house as quickly as possible. 
  • They are in financial distress and have no option but to sell their home as-is.

No matter the reason, you should have a clear understanding of the pros and cons of selling a home as-is. 

Let’s break these down. 

Pros of selling a house as-is

Save time

You’ll pretty much skip one of the steps in the home selling process where sellers make repairs. 

And your chances of selling as-is to a cash buyer will increase, which can speed up the closing process (eliminates the need for the buyer to come up with a down payment and get a mortgage). 

Saving time is usually one of the main reasons why sellers choose to sell their home in its current condition.

Save on upfront costs

Repairs and improvements can add up, especially if your home is a fixer-upper. 

Whether you have the funds or not, you’ll save on the out-of-pocket expenses.

Eliminate some stress

You probably already have some anxiety about selling your home as you’re reading this. 

Selling as-is can prevent that from increasing by eliminating some of the work that needs to be done when getting your home ready to sell

Cons of selling as-is

Every home seller wants an easier home sale. 

Selling your home as-is can definitely help you achieve that. 

But when something sounds good to be true, it usually is. 

So now let’s talk about the cons of selling as-is.

Fewer offers

No matter what type of real estate market you’re in, the condition of your home plays a big role in how many potential buyers are interested in making an offer. 

If you forgo making any repairs and/or improvements, you’ll reduce the amount of demand from homebuyers. Here’s why the demand from potential buyers will drop:

  • Buyers may assume there’s something seriously wrong with your house (especially if it’s in poor condition).
  • They might think that if you can’t afford to fix it, the house is not fixable.
  • Many home buyers want a home that is in good to excellent condition. 
  • Some lenders won’t approve mortgages if the house is a “fixer-upper” and in poor condition.

Longer time to sell

If you decide not to sell your house as-is to a cash buyer for a discount, then there’s a chance that your house will sit on the open market. 

You’ll save time prepping, but the overall listing process to sell your house can take longer compared to not selling your home as-is. 

You could leave money on the table

If you don’t do repairs or home improvements, you could be losing out on more money.

You’ll lose the “sweat equity” earned by making repairs and doing the work before listing.  

For example, if your home is worth $500,000 as-is but could fetch $550,000 with just $7,000 worth of repairs and upgrades, it would clearly be worth doing. 

There’s a reason why there are so many real estate investors (the ones who are cash buyers), including some of the big-name real estate companies, who are willing to make you an all-cash offer.

Lowball offers

When potential buyers see a house listed for sale that needs work, many of them automatically assume that the seller is in a desperate situation (more so if the property is in bad condition). 

Inspection contingency

Buyers can include an inspection contingency in their offer, no matter the condition of the property. 

But the better the condition that the house is in, the lower the chances are that buyers will include this in their offer.  

How to sell a house as-is

Selling a house as-is is almost the same as not selling as-is. 

The difference?

You get to skip several steps.

But you risk having a longer sale and not selling for the best price. 

If selling your home in its current condition is the route you’re thinking of taking, then follow these exact tips to know where to start and how to sell your house as-is. 

1. Seek advice from a trusted real estate agent

You probably have a million different questions. 

“What will my home sell for as-is?”

“What will it sell for if I fix it up?”

“Does selling as-is to a cash buyer make sense?”

Well, an experienced agent who can be trusted will have the right answers. 

The key is making sure that the realtor can be trusted. 

You do that by knowing which questions to ask a real estate agent when selling – and knowing which answers you should get before committing to them.

But one question, in particular, is critical.

“Can I cancel the listing agreement?”

You need to get a “yes.”  

Many real estate agents won’t do this. 

The ones who do are much more likely to be worthy of your trust to sell your home.

They’re the real estate agents who won’t claim that your home in its as-is condition is worth more than it is.

Overpromising on the sale price to get a commission is an extremely common tactic, especially for homes that need work. 

This is one of the reasons why you see price reductions on houses listed for sale that need updating.

But the price isn’t the only thing you’re going to need help with during the sale of your home.

You’re going to need the right agent for a whole lot more.  

This is why seeking advice from an experienced and trusted real estate agent is where you need to start to sell your home.

It will make your home sale so much easier, especially when going the as-is route.

2. Do a home inspection before listing

Wondering why a home inspection is listed here if you’re selling as-is?

Because it gives potential buyers more confidence. 

They’ll know that you don’t plan on making any repairs to your property (more on this shortly), but the home inspection report will help alleviate any doubts they have about the unknowns. 

This gives them more confidence to make a better offer, which ultimately can help you make more money from the sale of your home.

The cost of a home inspection varies depending on your area and the size of your house. 

On average, expect to pay around $200-$600 to have a home inspector visit before putting your house on the market.

Getting an inspection before listing your house for sale will also help establish trust with potential buyers, which can boost your chances of selling your house faster.  

3. Get cost estimates for potential repairs and home improvements

Now that you have your home inspection report, make a list of the needed repairs. 

Do this with your real estate agent because they’ll be able to tell you which ones are worth including. 

And they’ll also be able to tell you if there are any quick, inexpensive fixes you could make.

Next, have your real estate agent get cost estimates from service pros.

You’ll want to do this for both the repairs listed in the home inspection and potential improvements. 

Improvements can be things such as:

  • Heating and AC
  • Flooring
  • Kitchen 
  • Bathrooms
  • Basement
  • Roof

If you are selling your home with the right real estate agent, they probably have contacts with local contractors – so doing this shouldn’t be a problem. 

Add these costs to a Word document and have your real estate agent attach it to the home inspection. 

This will give potential buyers a much clearer picture of how much work needs to be done to your house and what it might cost them. 

Doing this will give you more negotiating power if buyers try to lowball you on the price.

4. Be a truthful homeowner when disclosing

If you’re like most homeowners selling a house as-is, your biggest fear is that you won’t be able to sell your home.

You may be tempted to hide something from a potential buyer – but don’t do it. 

Doing so can cause a nightmare to a seller that you don’t want to think about. 

It benefits you to let buyers know about everything that’s wrong with your home before they make you an offer. 

It reduces the chances of them backing out of the sale or filing a lawsuit against you after it closes. 

Every state has different laws regarding what needs to be disclosed when selling a home.

For example, some states have a “buyer beware” rule (known as a “caveat emptor rule”). This means it’s up to the buyer to do their due diligence. 

Your real estate agent will provide the necessary disclosures to you that you’ll need to sell your house and can discuss which laws your state has in place when it comes to what you’re obligated to disclose.

5. Have the right selling strategy

The first thing to remember when selling a home as-is is that you need to take the focus away from the negatives (defects, poor condition, how much work is needed, etc). 

These should still be disclosed, but they shouldn’t be the focal point when marketing to buyers. 

Your selling features should.  

Every home has them, even when selling as-is. 

Here are a few examples:

  • Top-rated schools
  • Priced below market value
  • Family-friendly neighborhood 

These need to be a part of your marketing strategy. 

For a home that needs work, using something in the listing description like, “add your own artistic touch” can also help potential buyers focus on the positives about your house.

This is another reason why selling with a trusted agent is key.

The best agents can sell a home in as-is condition much faster and for more money than you think. 

And you know what they won’t do?

They won’t include “as-is” in any of the marketing. 

You and your real estate agent know that you’re selling a property as-is, but you don’t need to tell the world about it. 

This will just put you at a disadvantage as buyers will think you’re desperate to sell a house. 

Instead, throw the hook out there to get a solid offer.

Then, if the buyer does ask you to make repairs, let your agent discuss it with the buyer’s agent.  

The buyer will be emotionally invested, which will swing the leverage in your favor.

6. Factor “as-is” into your listing price

Putting the right price on your home is vital, especially when selling a property as-is. 

You have to know that your home is going to be less desirable if you choose to not make repairs and improvements. 

A mistake that many homeowners make when selling their house in as-is condition is thinking that their home is worth more than it is. 

You want to avoid this at all costs. 

Here’s why…

Potential buyers are going to compare your home to other homes that have recently sold. 

They’ll look at the condition of those homes, compare it to yours, and then factor in the amount of work (and time) that is needed if they were to buy your house.

If your price is not realistic, you’ll discourage them from wanting to give you an offer. 

This can easily make your listing become “stale” (a.k.a “sitting on the market”). 

Once your listing becomes stale, it’s an open invitation for a buyer to give you a purchase contract with a lowball offer. 

This is the absolute worst position to be in when selling a house because it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll end up selling for less than you should have if you had priced it right from the start. 

But this doesn’t mean that you need to set the price lower than it should be. 

It just means that you need to put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer and know what they’ll be considering. 

You need to rely (and trust) on your real estate agent to be the expert and advise you on the best list price. 

If you’re selling with the right one, they’ll not only know how to set the best price for a home in as-is condition, but they’ll know exactly how to justify it to buyers and their agents if they start to haggle with you. 

FAQs about selling a house as-is

Can I sell my house as-is?

Yes, any homeowner can sell a house as-is, but doing so doesn’t mean you’re relieved of the legal requirements that come with selling a home. You’re still required to disclose certain information to the buyer.

Should you fix up your house before selling?

In almost all cases, the answer is a definite “yes.” Even if you do minor, inexpensive repairs, the difference those fixes make to the price you get for your house will usually far exceed the cost of making those repairs.

How much do you lose selling a house as-is?

The amount you lose will depend on how much work your home needs and how much money it costs to fix it up. Usually, the more fixing up that is needed, the more you will lose because most buyers will make an offer that factors in more than the cost of work needed.

For example, if a buyer thinks that your home is worth $700,000 fixed up, and they think that your home needs $50,000 worth of work, then they might submit an offer for $620,000. In this scenario, if you decided to accept their offer, you would lose $30,000. 

Conclusion

Selling your house as-is can sometimes be the best option, especially if you’re short on time, energy, or money for renovations.

But if you decide to list your home in its current condition, you need to know how it can affect the sale of your home and the best way to go about it.

Follow the strategies in this guide and you’ll put yourself in the best position to sell your house as-is quickly, and for the best possible price.

Joseph Alongi

Joseph drives the strategic vision and works closely in all facets of our business as we continue to grow and build the SoldNest platform. He holds a real estate broker's license in California and has over seventeen years of industry experience. He's dedicated to making the entire real estate experience easier, faster, and more profitable for everyone.