Your Rights When Buying a Home “As Is”
Sept. 21, 2022
When scrolling through a listing of homes for sale, you might stumble across several houses sold “as is.” Homes sold as-is are usually the ones that catch the eye of the potential buyer because they usually come with a lower price tag. However, it is essential to understand your rights when buying a home “as is” and familiarize yourself with the potential pitfalls of purchasing such properties.
As a real estate attorney at Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C., I help clients in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas, navigate the legal complexities that come with buying residential properties, especially if the home is sold “as is.” If you are considering buying a home “as is,” I can help you with every step of the real estate transaction to protect your rights. With an office in Pittsburgh, I provide legal counsel to clients in Indiana Township, Ross Township, Fox Chapel, Oakmont Borough, Shaler Township, Penn Hills, and neighboring areas.
What Is Buying a Home “As Is”?
When a home is sold “as is,” it means that the property will be sold without doing any repairs before closing. In other words, the seller will have no obligation to make any repairs when a home is sold “as is.”
Typically, home sales involve prolonged negotiations between the seller and potential buyer to reach an agreement on the terms of the deal to close the transaction. Buying a home “as is” is more of a take-it-or-leave-it approach because the “as is” status relieves the seller from the obligation to make any repairs or improvements.
Essentially, buying a home as is means that you are getting a property that will require certain repairs and improvements, which has both pros and cons. The most prominent advantage is obviously the lower price tag. The disadvantage is that you are most likely buying a property with defects, which may include:
Improper electrical wiring
Mold growth in interior walls
Termite or mice infestation
Non-functioning heating system
Presence of asbestos
This is not a complete list of potential defects that may or may not be disclosed by the seller when selling a home as is. Thus, the decision to buy as-is homes comes with a number of risks. According to an Urban Institute Initiative, more than 35% of occupied housing units across the United States required at least one repair in 2017. When sold, many of these properties are listed as “as is” homes and are usually priced lower than similar properties. Consult with a real estate attorney before you close any kind of deal.
Your Options & Rights
As a buyer, you still have legal rights and options when buying a home “as is.” Just because you buy a home “as is” does not mean that you give up the right to disclosures. Real estate disclosures are governed by both state and federal laws. The purpose of disclosures in real estate law is to ensure that the buyer has sufficient information to make an informed decision.
When buying a home “as is,” the seller is still required to disclose known problems and defects that are covered by state or federal law. Failure to do so may allow you, the buyer, to sue the seller for damages and repair costs. Speak with an attorney to learn more about the required disclosures for “as is” homes in Pennsylvania.
Seek Dependable Legal Support
The process of buying a home “as is” is riddled with legal nuances and complexities. Many buyers who purchase “as is” homes do not understand their legal rights and options, which is why they’ll need legal guidance from an experienced attorney to shield them from potential issues and protect their interests. Contact me to get the legal support you need when purchasing property in Pittsburgh or other parts of Pennsylvania.