as is condition
Today we would like to discuss a fixer home selling as is in a probate process. This was a recent sale on a listing where the seller was a “probate administrator with full authority.” I could write a book on selling probate listings but, I will stick to the as is portion of this sale as it is most interesting yet often confusing for buyers. From the photo you can see the exterior condition. There were also interior issues.
The seller left behind quite a bit of personal property in the interior, which we had to deal with. Also, due to dust, molds or other issues, these listings can require Hazmat.
Technically, when you get right down to it, the question about how does an AS IS sale work in Sacramento makes little sense because every sale is AS IS. But buyers don’t really understand that concept and many of their agents fail to grasp the verbiage, too. For example, many agents do not spend time perusing our purchase contracts. However, they should because our California Residential Purchase Agreement, paragraph 11, states the following:
11. CONDITION OF PROPERTY: Unless otherwise agreed in writing: (i) the Property is sold (a) “AS-IS” in its PRESENT physical condition as of the date of Acceptance and (b) subject to Buyer’s Investigation rights; (ii) the Property, including pool, spa, landscaping and grounds, is to be maintained in substantially the same condition as on the date of Acceptance; and (iii) all debris and personal property not included in the sale shall be removed by Close Of Escrow.
AS IS does not mean that after a home inspection the seller is required to make repairs nor otherwise satisfy the buyers’ concerns. Now, if you consider a first-time home buyer, well, not unusual to discover this type of buyer harbors a bit of confusion, especially if you listen to a buyer’s agent assuring the buyer she can make the seller do repairs. Not true. Every home presents defects. Every home requires upkeep and maintenance. No law requires sellers to make a home suitable for a buyer’s tastes or preferences.
Reasons for a price reduction in Sacramento. You’ve gotta love buyers who send offers with the explanation that they have adjusted the offer to account for all of the upgrades and repairs they plan to make. For starters, they think it has some bearing on the offer. Or maybe they simply just hope it is relevant in some way. It’s a wasted effort. Hello? I’d like to buy your house, but first you need to lower the price to to accommodate my desires. I’d like to install a swimming pool in the back yard because this house has no pool. What were you thinking, a lawn, in this drought? Plus, I’m really loving the Eames craze and plan to build low-level seating around the fireplace that’s not yet been built but which I will construct from hand-fired brick touched only by virgin hands.
Ooooh, I am NOT jiggy over the front door. No, see, this home really needs a double-door entry with a humongous lion head for a knocker. Do you know where I can buy such a thing? Oh, never mind, I’ll find it on eBay. Just give me that price reduction.
The roof is not jamming. That black and gray composition shingle is at least 10 years old. Whoa. It needs to be brilliant blue, perhaps imported tile from Japan. That kind of roof is really expensive, as you know, so I need to knock another $25,000 off the sales price. You don’t mind, do you, because you’re already making a boatload of bucks on this deal, right? Help a fella out, why doncha? What’s a price reduction to you anyway? It’s peanuts.
The kitchen appliances? The dishwasher, gas cooktop and refrigerator are white, for crying out loud. I don’t care that they’re brand new, I hate white. Hate it, hate it, hate it. If it’s not stainless with a hint of edgy ornate. Fuhgeddaboutit.
Let me also point out, I found a cracked tile in the master bath. Speaking of the master bath, I would really like a Jacuzzi instead of a regular bath tub. OK, it doesn’t need to be a Jacuzzi brand, but it still needs to bubble. Like my personality! Hey, look at my most recent selfie! I just shot it this morning when I ran over a homeless person in the street. My hair flowing in the wind. I felt this bump under my bicycle tire, but what the hey.
And the list goes on. Many buyers hold these types of opinions and demands today. Thank goodness there are still investors in the Sacramento marketplace. I’m finding that when homebuyer occupants thumb their noses, the investors swoop in. Lately, investors have been paying more, a lot more, than owner occupants to buy the same house. Why do you think that is happening? Could it be that investors know something that regular homebuyers do not?
You wanna price reduction in a low inventory market in Sacramento? Think again. If you need a Sacramento Realtor, call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759.
No agent is an island in this business. I might be a rock but I am not an island. I need my team members, escrow officer, transaction coordinator, lenders, title company, appraisers, office assistants and, most important, the agent on the other side to successfully close.
The trick is to not burden the client with every little hiccup in a transaction. That’s one of the reasons home sellers and buyers hire a Sacramento real estate agent — it’s to be a buffer. This doesn’t mean we don’t disclose what’s going on, but there are some behind-the-scenes situations that don’t affect the parties and the parties might be better off not hearing about it, until it closes, if ever. There is no reason on god’s green earth to make other people miserable if they can be spared.
That’s why Powers that Be created real estate agents. We are the ones who often bear the brunt of the transaction. We take the punches so our clients don’t have to.
The agent I worked with on this last transaction was wonderful. She worked tirelessly to meet the demands of the escrow, and I would eagerly work with her again in a heartbeat. Many agents are fabulous in this business and will do whatever it takes to close. In the beginning, though, her buyer was a little bit wary and not as optimistic as his agent.
The home that sold was newer, built in 2010, so we weren’t overly worried about defects or problems, although every single home on the face of the planet will have some kind of defect. There are no perfect homes out there. But because so many escrows lately have developed problems midway through after buyers discover a small defect and suddenly wanted to renegotiate or lower the price, the seller, on advice from a legal friend, elected to be upfront about what she expected. Cut off that behavior at the pass.
In the counter offer, she explained the Sacramento home was sold in its AS IS condition. Yes, that verbiage is in the contract, but few pay attention to it. She simply asked the buyer to agree not to request repairs nor try to renegotiate, regardless of what a home inspection may reveal. The buyer was worried that he could not cancel, but after he thought about it he realized that was not really a valid concern. The seller wanted assurance of some sort that when she removed her home from the market, the buyer would not continue to negotiate.
She wanted the AS IS clause to mean AS IS. Not maybe. There are buyers in Sacramento who have no intention of closing on the sales price they offer. They know it when they write the offer. These types of buyers plan to further reduce the price after the home has been removed from the market for a few weeks. That’s a sneaky way to do business.
Some buyers don’t know when the negotiations have ended. Some negotiations, on the the other hand, never end. But this one did. It stopped at the counter offer. The buyers agreed and the escrow closed, as they say in Shakespeare, without further ado, sigh no more.
My heart goes out to buyer’s agents who have to deal with the AS IS Condition issue day-in and day-out. They can explain that a seller will not give them a credit nor make any repairs but the buyers will still push. I realize that sometimes it’s not the buyers who are the problem — it can be their relatives or their coworkers or their drinking buddies: Hey, when I bought my house, the seller painted the entire interior, bought me all new appliances and threw in a Mercedes. The implication being that the buyer is a wuss or a nitwit. The self-important braggers neglect to point out this was 20 years ago or in a different city but the point is it is not this transaction. All transactions are different.
When I receive an email from an agent with a single sentence attempting to defy the AS IS, I know what happened. The sentence might say, my buyer is requesting a $3,000 credit to closing costs. Or, my buyer would like to know if the seller will split the cost of a new roof, which might have been a talking point during negotiations. So, the agent feels a little silly having to ask that question because the agent had already discussed it with the listing agent and the buyer prior to the offer. I know the agent pointed out the roof and said it was the buyer’s responsibility. And I know the buyer understood. And we both know that I know.
Still, the buyer’s agent must ask the question if the buyer poses it.
If the buyer’s agent thinks the buyer has half a chance of obtaining any of these requests — which the buyer had made after the buyer promised not to make them — the buyer’s agent will try to build a case for the buyer. But when there is no case presented, just the request, I know the poor agent is feeling the pain.
Buyers often don’t stop to consider that they might be irritating the seller with these types of requests. Especially when they tripped over the sidewalk walking up to the front door. They should not come back later after promising not to ask for repairs and demand that the seller replace the sidewalk. It makes the buyer look like an idiot (or conniving), none of which sets well with the seller. Any special requests the buyer might need down the road, such as an extension to close or any gifts such as refrigerators or washers and dryers are unlikely to be granted when a buyer attempts to break a promise.
If a buyer doesn’t want to handle the consequences of purchasing a home in its AS IS condition, then maybe the buyer shouldn’t try to buy a home under those conditions in a hot Sacramento seller’s market. It’s all a part of home ownership anyway. Things break, malfunction and stuff need to be updated, repaired and maintained — all during the life of a home buyer. It’s scary for a buyer starting out, and that’s where the buyer’s agent can be an invaluable tool.