What Buying a House “As Is” Really Means

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You found a house in your dream neighborhood. It has the right number of bedrooms, bathrooms and a nice backyard. It’s just what you were looking for.

Then you learn it is being sold “as is.” That house that seemed so perfect now seems a bit frightening.

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Selling as house “as is” basically means the seller will make no repairs or improvements and is selling the house in its current condition, according to realtor.com. In many cases, the houses are “as is” because the seller can’t afford to make the improvements.

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“Once you buy that house, it’s yours and you’re pretty much stuck with whatever decision you made, so you really need to be very educated and thorough about what you’re doing,” said David Tamny, owner of Professional Property Inspection in central Ohio. “It’s a minefield for the unsophisticated buyer.”

Buying a house is a stressful endeavor under any circumstances, and when you’re buying a house “as is,” things can be even more stressful. But it isn’t all bad news.

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Things to consider

Houses that are sold “as is” usually have a lower price than others on the market. If you are a DIYer with some experience, patience and time, buying a house “as is” may be a great opportunity in the long run. Sometimes homes are sold as is because the house may be owned by a bank due to foreclosure, or the seller died and inheritors just want to get it off their hands. In a case like these, you may get a house at a steal.

Of course, the flip side is that the house may have many hidden problems and you may be buying a total money pit.

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The biggest piece of advice Tamny noted is to get a home inspection. While a home inspection can’t tell you everything that could go wrong, it can give you a clearer picture of the health of the house and help you determine if it may be worth the investment.

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Bottom line: Buying a house “as is” can be risky. However, if you’re willing to put in the work and have the skills to do so, buying “as is” can be a worthwhile investment.

Here are 12 tips for getting the most out of a home inspection.

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