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Beyond Face Value: Exploring the Nuances of 'As Is' Transactions

Posted by Anthony Serra | May 07, 2024 | 0 Comments

Does as “As Is” Real Estate Transaction Really Mean “As Is?”

“As Is” depends on the Intentions of the Parties

An "as is" real estate sale is often perceived as a straightforward transaction where the property is sold in its existing condition, with the buyer assuming all associated risks and responsibilities. However, the reality of what constitutes a genuine "as is" sale can vary depending on jurisdiction and the specifics of the transaction.

A True “As Is” is when there is no Inspection Contingency

In its truest form, an "as is" sale means that the seller makes no warranties or representations regarding the condition of the property. This includes any defects, damages, or issues that may exist at the time of the sale. Essentially, the buyer is purchasing the property in its current state, with full knowledge and acceptance of any potential flaws or problems. Most critically, it also means there is no inspection contingency in the contract and, therefore, no opportunity for the buyer to cancel the transaction based on the condition of the property. This type of “as is” sale is typically in situations where the buyer plans to tear down the dwelling and rebuild.

The Language on the Contract is Critical and Dispositive

For a sale to be truly "as is," it's crucial that both parties have a clear understanding of the terms and implications involved. This typically involves including specific language in the purchase agreement outlining that the property is being sold without any warranties or guarantees, without a home inspection contingency and that the buyer accepts the property in its current condition.

When “As Is” does not Mean “As Is”

However, there are instances where an "as is" sale may not be entirely absolute. In some cases, sellers may still be obligated to disclose certain defects or issues that they are aware of, even in an "as is" transaction. Additionally, laws and regulations in certain jurisdictions may impose limits on the extent to which sellers can disclaim liability for hidden defects or fraud. Of course, if the contract contains an inspection contingency that allows the buyer to cancel the deal based on the results of an inspection, then clearly the deal is not a pure ‘as is” sale, even though the seller has made it clear to the buyer that no repairs or repair credits will be made or given.

Know the Fine Print

Ultimately, whether an "as is" sale is truly "as is" depends on the clarity of the agreement and the legal requirements governing real estate transactions in a particular jurisdiction. Buyers and sellers should seek guidance from real estate professionals and legal experts to ensure they fully understand their rights and obligations before entering into such a transaction. A simple misunderstanding can have significant consequences.

About the Author

Anthony Serra

Tony Serra is a passionate advocate, especially for the elderly, disabled and those of modest means who need the services of an experienced and caring attorney. For more than 30 years, Tony has been helping common, everyday folks navigate their way through life's turbulent waters. Through innovation and utilizing modern technology, Tony and his law firm are now able to offer quality legal services that at one time were prohibitively expensive, at a fraction of the cost. If you need basic legal services, such as a Will, Power of Attorney, Living Will, Special Needs Trust, real estate transactions, uncontested guardianship pleadings and much more, please visit our website and our SMART LAW legal services platform. You will be pleasantly surprised by what we offer and glad you did! Tony is also an experienced mediator and founder of the Conflict Resolution Center of NJ. Tony has specific training in family matters as well as elder law and contested guardianship and estate cases.  


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