Selling Houses As-Is: 8 Tips

An older, outdated home that is being sold as-is

Anyone who has sold a house can understand the appeal of selling a home “as-is.”

Think of the work and stress involved in the typical sales process: There is decluttering and cleaning that must be done no matter what. There could also be a long list of repairs, renovations, or remodeling needed in order to attract potential buyers. Then there is staging and shceduling time out of the house for showings. Even after all that, you spend sleepless nights hoping for an offer, or anxious that a deal could fall through. 

Selling houses as-is may not eliminate all anxiety, but it can help them avoid a lot of the expensive and time-consuming prep work. An as-is sale can be quick and painless and without some of the usual stress. The downside, however, is that the sales price could be considerably lower than it would have been otherwise.

Still, in certain situations, a homeowner might be willing to take that chance. If that is the case, we have some tips and suggestions to navigate an as-is sale.

When it Might Make Sense to Sell As-Is

The most common reasons for selling houses as-is fall into the following categories:

  • Needing to pull up stakes and move quickly, perhaps for a job transfer.
  • Lacking the energy or desire to do pre-sale work. For example, an elderly person moving into assisted living might not want to be bothered with making repairs.
  • Facing extensive repairs that the homeowner can’t afford and that they will not recoup from the sale. 
  • Getting rid of a house that is not a primary residence. Examples are a rental property, a vacation home, an inherited house, or an “extra” house after combining households.

In general, if speed and ease are more of a concern than money, selling a home as-is might be a good option. That is not to say a seller can’t get a reasonable price for an as-is home, especially in a hot seller’s market. But doing no work at all before putting a house on the market is almost certain to be reflected in lower offers. And the more flaws a house has, the lower those offers will be.

Tips for Selling Houses As-Is

Following are eight suggestions for a successful as-is sale:

1. Hire a Real Estate Agent

A couple meeting with a real estate agent to help them sell their home as-is

Selling houses as-is does not mean the same thing as For Sale By Owner. There is no need to go it alone. The seller will still need help in pricing the house and will benefit from a professional’s opinion and ability to find comparable properties nearby. A realtor will also lend their expertise in finding potential buyers, negotiating, and making sure everything goes smoothly at the closing.

2. Skip the Staging, But Clean and Declutter

Although there may not be an open house, potential buyers will still need to tour the property. So, while sellers can skip the professional stagers, scented candles, and creating a mood or atmosphere, they still should attempt to clean up the place. Sure, it could be sold truly as-is, junk and all. But buyers will lower their offers when faced with the expense of removing and cleaning whatever mess a seller leaves behind. In the case of a derelict, neglected house, it might be worth the effort, or the cost of a professional cleaning team, to remove debris and present some degree of cleanliness.

3. Consider a Home Inspection

In order to know what to ask for an as-is house, it is helpful to have a complete list of its flaws. Hiring a home inspector before putting the house on the market is a good idea. Even if the seller has been living in the house, there could be problems they are not aware of. If it is an inherited house or rental property, important issues with the foundation, mold, or electrical and plumbing will be uncovered in an inspection. Having this information will give the seller a realistic view of the property when setting the price. 

4. Be Strategic With Changes You Do Make

Woman painting a room before selling her house as-is

When it comes to selling a house as-is, some improvements or repairs might pay off with higher offers, but it is rarely a dollar-for-dollar swap. For example, investing $10,000 in a new roof doesn’t mean the sellers can expect an equal increase in the sales price. With that in mind, if the seller is willing to do any work, they can look for things that offer the best return on investment. A good cleaning (see #2 above), some fresh paint, or clearing dead landscaping won’t take much time or money but can spruce up just about any house.

5. Be Upfront with Disclosures

Marketing a home as-is does not remove the seller’s obligation to be honest about its flaws. One misconception about an as-is sale is that an inspection and disclosures are not necessary. This is simply not true, even if the buyer and seller agree to forego them. Not only will a lender want to know the home’s market value, certain disclosures are mandated by law. For example, in Missouri and most other states, a seller must inform buyers of things like lead paint or if the house was used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Illinois requires the completion of a disclosure form that addresses these issues and several others. The seller gains no advantage by hiding or lying about a home’s problems. In fact, it could put them in hot water legally.

6. Focus on Positives and Potential

Just because a house is for sale as-is, it still needs to be marketed to potential buyers. Highlighting things like a prime location, large yard, or finished basement can help make a house that needs a lot of work more attractive. It can also help to point out that the layout would make it easy to add on rooms or that the backyard is large enough for a pool. Helping buyers see the house’s potential might make them view it as a fixer-upper rather than a disaster.

7. Gather Cost Estimates

Couple gathering repair cost estimates in preparation to sell their home as-is

Finding out the cost of a new roof, new HVAC, sealing a leaky basement, or whatever is wrong with the house is helpful in several ways. First, having an idea of how much a buyer will need to invest to fix things can guide the seller in setting a realistic asking price. And when it comes to fielding offers, it gives the seller accurate information for negotiating. For example, if the price already offers a considerable discount, the seller can decide whether or not demands to lower it further are fair. For inexperienced or first-time homebuyers, a list of estimates will be useful in deciding if they are willing and able to take on the project of fixing up the house.

8. Is a Cash Sale a Good Idea?

As-is sales are magnets for buyers who flip houses or for rental real estate investors looking for deals. There are also large online companies that promise quick, easy cash sales. The price of the convenience comes in the form of rock bottom offers or fees. For sellers who are truly in a hurry, this is an option. In most cases, however, selling houses as-is with traditional methods with an experienced realtor can be just as fast and will avoid leaving money on the table.

Selling a Home As-Is with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties

Selling a house as-is can be a smooth and easy experience. In the St. Louis region and Metro East Illinois, contact Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties to help you navigate the process. Our agents have years of expertise and their knowledge of the local market will help you set a price, find buyers, and negotiate your as-is sale.

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