What does "as-is" condition mean?

Traditionally, as-is condition indicated that the house needed some repair work but the seller was not willing to negotiate the price based on the results of the home inspection. Recently, I have been seeing this more frequently used for houses that appear to be in excellent shape. This is probably because, as I write this in Fall 2020, we are experiencing a very strong sellers' market. Sellers are communicating to prospective buyers that they will not negotiate repairs based on the results of the home inspection. In such cases, it is not necessarily an indication that the house is in rough shape.

When the market is less favorable to sellers, I generally do not recommend listing the house as-is because it gives the impression that there may be problems with the house.

From the perspective of a buyer, there are two ways to protect yourself. One would be to conduct a pre-offer home inspection to reassure yourself that there is nothing terribly wrong with the house and then you could go on to make and offer without a home inspection contingency. The second would be to conduct a home inspection after going under contract that allows you to walk away if you are unsatisfied with the results. So long as you do this during the allocated amount of time for that contingency, you will not be in default.

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