Posted by JPiper on May 21, 2000 at 08:55:29:
I always sell ?as is?. But my opinion is that you should go way beyond this to protect yourself. Understand that some states require certain written disclosure. Even if your state doesn?t require written disclosure, there?s a decent chance that it?s a customary practice to provide written disclosure. The old rule of ?caveat emptor??..buyer beware?.doesn?t work as well in a court today, if it works at all. I make written disclosure, and I make it liberally, bending over backwards to disclose things that I have observed. I have found that people will buy even when disclosure has been made.
But I even go beyond this. Most of the time I like a buyer to have the place inspected by a third-party inspector. In other words, I may be selling ?as is?, but I don?t preclude an inspection so that they have full knowledge of what ?as is? means. If the buyer is adamant about not hiring an inspector, I have them sign a form in which they acknowledge that they were informed of their right to hire an inspector, that it was recommended by me, and that they have declined to do so. The form even goes so far as to state that not hiring an inspector is considered a bad idea, and is not recommended.
I also have a form signed which goes through literally ever part of the house and states that I do not warranty or guarantee any part of the house. And reiterates that I have never lived in the property and therefore do not have complete knowledge of possible defects of the property. It also states that I am not an expert at detecting problems in houses and that the buyer acknowledges this.
Does this hurt selling a property? I don?t think it does. Of course understand that I sell all my own properties, and my typical buyer is someone who has credit issues and that I am usually going to help into the property in some manner?..usually carrying a second.
Now a quick story. Most of the houses I deal in are old?.and do have problems of one type or another. In one case, toward the end of a rehab I inadvertently discovered that a house had a collapsed main sewer line. I made oral disclosure of the problem to the buyer. She wanted to get into the house and I didn?t have time to remedy the problem before closing. Therefore, I made written disclosure and at the same time agreed in writing to pay part of her closing costs in payment of this problem.
Several months down the road this buyer sought out legal counsel after she had the problem fixed, since it turned out to be quite expensive?.more than what I had paid her as a remedy. Her legal efforts didn?t get past first base?.but I?d say the reason it didn?t was because of strong paperwork and disclosure.
My theory is to try to anticipate possible problems and then head them off at the pass.