During 19 years of working on houses, I watched a lot of people move. Moving from one home to another is a big deal. Not only on the sheer scale of things, after all, everything one owns will be moved, and a long time place of shelter and security will be left behind. A lot of emotions come to the surface in each family member, including the pets. These are legitimate feelings. Strong, and full of good reason. Guys like me get a call because they are looking for a consultation to make a plan. They may have a list they have written on their own or they may have a list the real estate agent gave them. This is my favorite part. Reviewing most customers’ lists, simple things can be found. Things they want to be repaired because they are proud of their home and want to sell it in a certain condition. Sometimes the list can be pared down, save a few dollars and get the house on the market. Listing agents love to leave lists of things to be done also. Curb appeal, clutter-free rooms, and a house rid of pet or smoking odors are all fair game. Do it. And do it yourself if you have the time and energy. After that, sell the house AS IS. I’m not kidding. I’ve been through moves both ways, and every time the AS IS sales make for a much different process. Any house will sell like this. You’ll get resistance from a lot of agents, that’s ok, there’s a dozen more waiting for your call. Find one that appreciates the process and embraces it. Stick to the plan, don’t buckle or give in when people try to change your mind.
Here’s what to expect. Many AS IS agreements have multi-tier options of AS IS. Everything from “I’ll take it” to “Here’s a few things I’d like to have done, even though it’s AS IS”. You can indicate on your contract with the agent which of those options you are willing to consider in an offer. This works. You may hear that 30-40% of potential buyers will be eliminated in an AS IS sale. Great! You’ve already narrowed down the field to serious, low-maintenance, cash, or pre-approved buyers. Be prepared to understand and accept the financial facts about your home. You’ll be tempted or asked to consider doing a bunch of work on the house before it’s listed so the house will sell for a higher price. Fair point. Do the math, imagine spending $15,000 fixing the place up, making it “market ready” or upgrading supposed outdated fixtures, Then ask yourself, if all that money and energy spent having it done, will actually raise the selling price $15,000 why do it? There would have to be a larger gain, say $20-25,000 to make it worth it. Consider also, home sellers frequently replace fixtures, flooring, and appliances, only to get a call from one of their old neighbors after moving away, just to learn the new buyers threw it all in a dumpster when they moved in and remodeled. Skip this craziness. Sell AS IS. Another good reason to sell AS IS is to eliminate the written critique of your home, after which the potential buyer expects you to complete the items on the list. Most people don’t want an honest critique of their homes as they move out. We all know which rooms are worn, what room has all the nail holes in the wall from the art and we know the library is purple. We don’t have to be told or judged. Want the house? Buy it AS IS and skip the critiques and chores list. In many cases a mechanical and pest inspection will be done, usually dictated by the loan. Don’t take it personally, every house in America has something show up on inspections. Some buyers bring cash and buy AS IS, with no need to satisfy a loan officer. These are quick and effective sales, with almost no hassles.
Here are some things you can do when you sell AS IS. Know your financial position. Know how much equity is in the home. Your goal is to leave with as much of it as possible, plus, with any luck more, thanks to the market in your area. Keep the house in good shape. This doesn’t mean paint everything beige, as not to offend, but keep the house repaired and free from deferred maintenance. If you’ve gotten behind on this, pull out your phone, look at your equity, and ask yourself how much of it you want to give up catching up on the house, vs how much of an effect the needed maintenance has on the selling price of the house. I’ll remind you that the US housing market is currently booming. Americans buy houses that are a mess! A needed paint job or unfinished basement isn’t going to wreck the sale of your house. Keep your personal belongings to a minimum. You can do this on an ongoing basis, and be ready to sell your house at a moment’s notice, or be ready to liquidate personal belongings before you sell the house. It’s hard to sell a house that is full of stuff, and most agents will ask for a lot of that stuff to be moved out before the house goes on the market. This includes garages, attics, and basements. Include the surrounding property when doing maintenance. Keep trees trimmed and outbuilding in good shape. All of this can be accomplished, even as you live your life exactly like you want in the meantime. Live in the house exactly the way you want to, decorate, paint, wallpaper, and furnish in your style. The house will sell. And when you decide to move, to the next place where your life makes the house a home, a home full of your energy and style, be ready to make it the easiest move possible. Sell your house AS IS.