Meaning of "as is" in acontract to purchase a home from private seller
What does "as is" mean in an agreement to sell a home. The owners are selling the home themselves. Do they still have to diclose all known problems? is there a specifiec PA. law that states this? Does the homeowner have to diclose problems with their home to other potential buyers after we have informed them of the problems?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Real Estate Sale in "as is" Condition
A property being sold in as is condition is being sold with all defects. What you see you get so to speak. Any repairs needed are the responsibility of the buyer. This is a dangerous type of purchase. However, the seller is required in Pennsylvania to make a disclosure of all know defects even if the property is being sold as is. At the very minimum you should have the right to an inspection. If the inspection reveal defects that are not acceptable you should have the right to terminate the agreement of sale. You should see an attorney before signing any such agreement of sale as it is quite dangerous for you if you are putting a substantial deposit down.
"as is" in real estate contract
An Agreement of Sale for real estate (the "Contract") that says it is "as is" means that the seller's are not making any statements as to its condition, and that the buyer is buying the property in the condition it was at the time of the offer, subject to any other agreements in the Contract.
The Contract may still contain an option for the buyer to have an inspection and to cancel the Contract if the inspection reveals problems.
Yes, Pennsylvania does have a requirement for sellers to disclose all known material defects that are not readily observable. Those disclosures are not warranties of the property condition, but are based on the seller's knowledge of the date the disclosure is signed by the seller. Act No. 84 of 1996 provides a sample form disclosure that sellers should prepare and provide to buyers when they sign an agreement of sale.
Even with such a disclosure, buyers should contract for the right to have an inspection.
Once the sellers learn of conditions, for example as the result of a buyer's inspection, this becomes part of the seller's knowledge, and should be disclosed to prospective buyers after that time.