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“As Is” Listing Dramas

Of all the attention-grabbing terms to be found in Greenwich listings, the audacious “as-is” ranks right up there near the top of the deck.  Intentional or not, it carries a pronounced dramatic aura.  Whenever I have a seller that has reduced the list price to a level way below their expectations, they invariably tell me to let buyers know that it is “AS IS” (usually in that decimal and tone).

Contractors see Greenwich “as-is” listings as calls to action. House flippers’ pulse rates quicken when they come across it. For most typical prospective buyers, the term triggers furrowed brows and a hasty move onto the next listing. “As-is” carries shades of meaning with legal implications, but in general, it simply signals to the world that the seller is not interested in improving the offered property. If something needs to be fixed, it’s up to the next owner to handle it. For that reason, Greenwich as-is listings are nearly always accompanied by under market asking prices.

The unique impact of the term isn’t due to what’s stated, but to what’s implied. It’s hard to escape the suspicion that something must be haywire with the place.  That is where even more drama can develop—because that’s not necessarily the case. It may just signal an all-time genuine world-class home-buying bargain.  This is the case, where, for instance, the seller is simply eager to move on, and figures that the combination of “as-is” plus an appealing asking price will trigger one or more serious offers in a hurry.

The drama of the as-is listing can have a pronouncedly undramatic second act—which will be the case when I am your buyer’s agent. This wet blanket of an approach is known as the home inspection contingency. Even though it removes much of the casino-like excitement from the ensuing action, it’s seriously recommended for even the most optimistic of buyers. The relatively small cost that an experienced Greenwich inspector will charge is the best way to detect what, if any, major defects are likely to turn up—allowing for some realistic bottom line calculations. When included as part of any offer (as-is or not), this properly worded contingency provides would-be buyers an economical exit if the resulting calculations reveal a non-bargain.

Even if you are the sort of person that loves a little drama in your life, my suggestion is to keep it out of your real estate world and save it for the theatre.

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