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What Does “AS IS” Really Mean in a Real Estate Transaction?

| Jan 28, 2021 | Real Estate

In most real estate transactions in New Jersey, a buyer has an opportunity to conduct home inspections to be aware of the condition of the property. Some properties are sold in “as is” condition. However, even in these cases, most buyers have the right to inspect the property with a home inspector, and to terminate the transaction if the property has defects beyond what they are willing to accept. “As is” simply means that the seller is not willing to make any repairs to the property to make it acceptable to the buyer, which a seller is not usually required to do anyway. If a property is listed “as is,” it puts a potential buyer on notice that a seller is not open to making repairs or offering a credit as part of the inspection contingency. It might be more appropriate to say “take it or leave it.”

Home inspection requests may be limited in other ways as well. Some sellers may specifically exclude any cosmetic issues from being raised in inspections, or limit inspection requests to repairs for defects, or systems that are not in proper working order. Some sellers may even request that the only requests that are made be for structural issues.

As a practical matter, it may be economical for a seller to agree to make repairs to a property rather than lose a potential buyer and start the home sale process over from the beginning, even if a property is being sold as is. A particular offer might be attractive enough to justify the hassle of making minor repairs or providing a small credit. This flexibility exists even in an “as is” property, because the parties can amend the terms of the contract if they all agree to do so.