Sure the house is “as-is” – but as of when?
Lots of buyers and sellers understand what as-is means. The issue is – when does “as-is” apply? In your standard New York real estate Contract of Sale, “as-is” means “as of the date herein.” This means that the condition of the house on the date of the Contract of Sale should be the condition of the house at Closing. Many sellers are under the false presumption that “as-is” means the condition at Closing. This is sadly the result of attorneys not being thorough with their clients, and making sure the client knows to keep the house in relatively the same condition all throughout the Contract to Closing timeframe.
The Fridge Just Went!
What does “as-is” mean if during the Contract to Closing phase, something breaks or needs repair? For the seller? Tough Luck. If something breaks or needs repair during the Contract to Closing period, the Seller must fix the item, or come to an agreement with the buyer for monetary compensation. This relates back to the “as-is” provision in the Contract (among other provisions). The appliances must be in as-is condition (and be in working order). Not only must appliances be in as-is condition, but so too should the floors, walls, bathrooms, even the doorbell.
An Attorney’s Role in the “As-Is” Saga
Part of the “scrolls” attorneys get when they’re admitted to practice law reads “Counsellors.” This is a duty attorneys have when discussing complicated legal matters with their clients. Attorneys must counsel their clients – by suggesting how to act, as well as all pertinent parts of Contracts and the Closing process. Most “as-is shock” is a direct result of an attorney’s omission to explain to their client just what as-is means. As-is as of the date of Contract. Unless changed (very, very rare), expect the property to be in substantially the same condition from when the buyer and seller have signed the Contract of Sale.