You might come across listings for homes sold “as is.” These listings grab buyers’ attention because they’re often priced lower than similar properties on the market.
A seller’s market could also make would-be buyers eager to act and make an offer without inspecting the property, which 47% of them did in recent years. However, as tempting as these properties may be due to their prices, there are a few caveats you should consider.
What “As Is” in Real Estate Means
When a homeowner tacks “as is” on a house sales listing, the listing usually doesn’t refer to a perfect, ready-to-move-into home. An “as is” listing typically refers to a property needing repairs, and the homeowner won’t make improvements or repairs before selling it.
Usually, homeowners sell their houses “as is” to save time and money. What the seller wants is to sell the house in its present condition.
If you’re a homebuyer, you might be taking a considerable risk by purchasing an “as-is” property. Any problems the property may have will be your responsibility.
When walking through a home sold “as is,” there are some red flags to watch for that will alert you of possible problems that could significantly devalue the property.
1. Foundation Cracks
Cracks are harbingers of potentially significant repair costs or worse. Freshly patched cracks can also be a cause for concern.
Foundation cracks can be signs of structural problems. These repairs are among the most expensive and can easily cost thousands of dollars. If you see cracks, have the foundation inspected by a professional to assess the problem.
2. Signs of Roof Damage
Repairing a damaged roof can be expensive. If the roof has several layers of shingles, make sure there are no signs of sagging or warping. Also, check the house’s ceilings, attic, and room corners. Stains and discolorations indicate roof leaks. There might also be water damage.
3. Moldy Odor
Another thing you should watch out for when buying a home “as is” is signs of mold. Mold is particularly egregious as it can cause health problems.
An earthy, stale, and musty odor emanating from a house may signify mold or mildew. Moreover, if the house smells of too much synthetic fragrance, like candles, air fresheners, or sprays, it may be to cover up problematic odors.
Check for leaks under the sinks, basement, windows, and other areas if you notice a moldy odor. If the leak has been undetected for a long time, materials like carpets, wood, and others may have to be replaced.
4. Poor Workmanship Related to Past Repairs and Additions
Repairs or additions done poorly are another red flag. These are usually signs of structural problems that will likely cost you a lot in repairs.
Clarify with the seller about the repairs and whether additions were permitted. Before purchasing the property, have a trusted home inspector look over the house. The inspector can tell you if an addition or repair has flaws.
5. Sunken-Looking Property
A house that sits lower than the surrounding properties, including its yard, is a massive red flag. If the home is located in an area where it rains regularly, there may be problems with drainage.
Investigate past flooding of the property. A “sunken” house in a flood zone often requires more work to restore than is financially feasible.
A house sold “as is” usually means the property needs repairs, and the seller wants to sell it in its present condition. Although this type of listing may be attractive to buyers because they are priced lower, there are red flags homebuyers should not ignore.
These red flags can cost the buyer a lot of money to repair.