What does “As Is” really mean?
When buying or selling a home we frequently hear that the property is being sold “As Is”. Throughout the course of the past several years that term has had several “definitions” as it was interpreted different ways, depending on what side of the transaction you were on (meaning if you were the Buyer or the Seller).
Initially sellers who wanted to sell their property “as is” were still required under the Regional Sales Contract to make sure all mechanical items in the property were in normal working order. Additionally they were responsible for any repairs and treatment for termite or wood destroying insects damage, to comply with all orders or notices of violations of any county or local authority and comply with any property owner’s or condominium owners associations notices of violations related to the physical condition of the property. In essence they could sell a property “as is” but they had to be sure it passed certain criteria.
This created several disputes among the parties, when at the settlement table; sellers discovered that indeed they were responsible for items in the property that they thought the purchaser would take care of since it was sold “As Is”.
To clarify the issue and bring all parties expectations in line, the contract was amended to reflect the following language:
“Except as otherwise provide herein, Seller will deliver the Property free and clear of trash and debris, broom clean and in substantially the same physical condition to be determined as of the Contract Date or Date of Home inspection or Other_____________________________________.
The Purchaser acknowledges that except as otherwise specified in this Contract, the Property, including electrical, plumbing, existing appliances, heating, air conditioning, equipment and fixtures shall convey in as is condition as of the date specified above.”
This seemed to be straight forward but there were questions about the termite, HOA and other issues that were not specified in the new language that still needed to be clarified.
The NVAR Contingency Clause Addendum was then modified to address those specific items. It is now a requirement for the seller of a property selling it “As Is” to include that addendum, amending the contract items they are including in their “As Is” language. Your real estate agent can discuss at length that addendum and whether or not you will need to include it in your contract negotiations.
As real estate professionals we have remained abreast of these changes and are here to assist you in understanding exactly what you are committing to when signing an “As Is” contract (no matter what side of the transaction you are on). Always use a trusted Realtor and settlement agent who know what your best interests are and how to protect them.
Catherine L. Gillman
4545 Daisy Reid Avenue, Suite 100
Prince William, Virginia 22192