A Guide to Buying a House As-Is

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Houses that are sold as-is don’t allow for the buyer to request any changes or repairs from the seller. Though they are often priced lower than other houses on the market, it is important to do some extra digging into the property’s condition before buying as-is. 
“Sold as-is” may have popped up as an option during your home search. Typically less expensive than other market competitors, these houses often come with caveats—the buyer cannot ask the seller to make changes or repairs before closing. 
But with the right questions and proper know-how, you can figure out whether buying a house as-is is right for you. What’s more, Jerry is here to help you figure that out. 
This article covers everything from the implications of “sold as-is” properties, to important considerations, and how to use the Jerry super app to find the best and most affordable home insurance for your new abode.

Here’s what it means to buy a house as-is

It’s not uncommon to request changes or fixes from the seller before buying a new house. But for properties that are listed for sale “as-is,” then you’re getting the house in its current condition. This is a big deal for homebuyers because all repairs or modifications become the buyer’s responsibility.
Houses sold as-is are still required to provide federal and state disclosure standards. This could range from things like an acknowledgment that lead paint was used on the property to if the home is in a natural hazard zone (think: prone to earthquakes or wildfires).

Why buy a sold as-is home?

Before writing off all sold as-is homes, consider why a seller lists the home that way. In some cases, the changes and repairs are too expensive for the seller. Or, the sellers may not have the luxury of time to wait for the repairs to be done. In these cases, some perfectly good homes with little to no issues are sometimes sold as-is. 
As a buyer, it’s good to know that sold-as-is properties are often less expensive, making it an especially good deal if there are few changes or major repairs.

Six things to think about before buying a house as-is

Before buying a house as-is, it is important to think through the implications that come with it. Here’s a look at six considerations to help you determine whether buying a house as-is is the right move for you.

Minimum property requirements

If you’re financing your new home, you’ll be faced with your lender’s minimum property requirements (MPRs). MPRs require that a dwelling meets certain livability standards. MPRs can differ based on loan type. 
The table below breaks down the different MPRs for each loan type.
Loan typeWho’s eligibleMinimum Property Requirements
**FHA loans**Individuals with debt or low credit scoreStructurally sound; safe for a family to live in at the time of purchase
**USDA loans**People in rural areasStructurally sound; water-tight roof; up-to-date electrical system; functioning heating and cooling systems; working plumbing and water pressure
**VA loans**Military veterans and active-duty military membersRoof is in good condition; functioning heating system (can heat the home to at least 50 degrees); working sewage system, water heater, and other mechanical systems; home has no insects or pests
**Conventional loans**Varies by lenderSafe; structurally sound; any issues are due only to wear and tear; problems must be minor
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Since MPRs vary by loan type, make sure to check with your lender to confirm what their MPR requirements are. You’ll want to confirm that the house you’re buying as-is meets their standards! 

Home inspections are needed

Home inspections look for major issues with the property, and they need to be requested and scheduled by the buyer. This is a step you won’t want to skip if you’re buying a home as-is. Not only will an inspector uncover any hidden issues, but you’ll get an idea of how much repairs will cost.
Since you won't be able to request any changes or repairs from the seller, it’s a good idea to have an inspector visit so you can know what type of project you’re getting yourself into.
If the seller doesn’t allow for a home inspection, this is a major red flag. Likely, the seller knows that there is a serious problem with the house and is trying to hide it. Use this situation as a clue that you should ask the seller even more questions before buying, or walk away from the deal entirely. 
Key Takeaway Home inspections aren’t required when buying a house but they’re an important way to uncover any undisclosed issues with the property. Find a local home inspection service online or ask your real estate agent to get you set up with one.

Only parts of the house may be sold as-is

Just because the property is listed as-is, doesn’t necessarily mean that it applies to the entire house. Sometimes, “sold as-is” applies only to certain parts of the house
These are parts of the house that are commonly sold as-is:
  • Fireplaces
  • Sheds and/or garages
  • Swimming pools
  • Broken appliances
Before agreeing to a contract, talk with the seller to find out what “sold as-is” means for the listing. If only a few features of the property are being sold as-is, then you can negotiate on other parts of the house! You may request changes or repairs on anything that doesn’t fall under the “sold as-is” category during the negotiation process.

State and federal disclosures apply

There are laws in place requiring sellers to disclose known problems to the buyer in a disclosure statement. Disclosure regulations vary by state. At the federal level, all sellers are required to disclose the use of lead paint on the property.
This is especially important for houses built before 1978—the seller must disclose that the property may expose inhabitants to lead. Lead-based paint was banned in the late-70s and the past use of lead-based paint in the house may leave remnants. However, buyers are allotted 10 days to get a professional paint inspection or lead risk assessment before moving forward in the deal.
Even if you’re buying a house as-is, remember that you have the right to this important federal disclosure along with any state disclosures.

A good real estate agent is essential

When it comes to navigating “as-is” sales, an experienced real estate agent is essential. They can help with making sure your budget is fair and you don’t overpay for what you’re buying. 
A real estate agent will also be familiar with the local disclosure laws, connect you with contractors and technicians to help you through any repairs, and can translate any complicated real estate lingo so that you fully understand all that’s involved with the home you’re buying. 
Yes, agent fees can be high, but consider them an asset in making sure you get a good deal and not a property with more problems than you asked for.

Consider a home warranty

Maybe the kitchen appliances work smoothly or the air conditioning was revamped a couple of months ago. In these cases, you can make sure the working appliances and systems are protected by getting a home warranty. This policy helps cover the costs of repairing these items if they break later on. 
Remember, home warranties are different from home insurance! Home warranties cover the repairs or replacements for any of the property’s major components—appliances, heating and cooling systems, and swimming pools are common examples of fixtures covered under warranties. 
Conversely, home insurance offers financial protection in the case of unforeseen perils such as storms, floods, fires, vandalism, or theft. 
Since buying a house as-is does not guarantee you any repairs or replacements before the sale, it’s a good idea to have both a home warranty in addition to insurance. That way, you have extra financial backing in case something goes wrong in your new house!

How to find affordable home insurance

If you decide that buying a house as-is is right for you, make sure you have home insurance to protect you and your belongings from any future damages. 
Put your home insurance on autopilot with Jerry the insurance super app. Jerry is the easiest and most effective way to find a home or auto insurance policy that is customized for you. All you have to do is download the app, answer a few questions, and Jerry will take care of the rest. 
We’ll do a comprehensive cross-analysis of policies from the top, name-brand insurers to make sure you have a policy that suits your needs. Choose the policy you like, then we’ll do the hard work for you—that means handling all phone calls, paperwork, and renewals. 
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It depends. You’ll typically pay less when buying a house as-is. But keep in mind that you may end up spending even more than your initial budget on repairs. Unless you’re up for a remodel or project, buying a house as-is can be risky. 
In some cases, the house listed as-is may only have a few minor fixes or problems—this makes buying as-is a smart idea since it will save you money! But, always make sure to do your research and home inspection first. That way you can know if there’s a bigger underlying problem you’re getting yourself into.
If the entire house is listed for sale as-is, then you cannot negotiate with the seller. However, if just the pool, kitchen appliances, or other features are being sold as-is, then you can negotiate on the rest of the house!

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