House in " AS IS" Condition??

Hello everyone. A house I’m interested in is selling “AS IS”. I’m looking to purchase as my primary residence. This went on the market 6 months ago for $320K, then they dropped it to $289K, then $279K before taking it off the market. It’s now $229K… I’ve been in the house and it looks OK. But the whole neighborhood was build on an old apple orchard. They just buried the stumps and they’re decaying and leaving sinkholes. That’s the only real problem that I can visually see… But I’m worried about the unknowns that I can’t see. I’m more concerned about the big ticket items… Here’s the general info on the house…

Built in 1985
Contemporary style
2700 sq. ft
.44 acre.
Last sold in 1988 for $205K
4BR 2.5 bath.
Forced hot air/ air condition.
Newer roof and furnace.

I like the fact that its selling for only 25K more than it sold 24 yrs. ago…My question is WHY???
I do know that the owner is a middle aged single woman who took over the house after her parents died. She has a brother in an assisted living facility along with a few health problems of her own…
I have general knowledge of home construction, but lack the expertise on specific items like electrical, plumbing, foundation etc… I have a home inspector in mind that I used for my current home that did a VERY good job…

So, based on all this, can you guys give me some clues to look for before spending the money on a home inspection?  Any help would be greatly appreciated.. Thank you.


Welcome back…

Obviously the seller was either asking too much for the house, and/or was not marketing it correctly.

A house that sold in 1988 already exposed its structural and mechanical weaknesses, if there were any. Anything more will represent normal maintenance, repair and replacements. And a 1988 house (or earlier) is gonna need some stuff, if not some serious cosmetic upgrades (if it hasn’t been done already). 1988 styling? Ick.

At this age, too, the furnace and air conditioning are now antiques and worthy of replacement. New equipment is both quieter and more efficient than any 1988 equipment (or before).

Regarding value: The only thing that matters are the current comps; not the price of the last sale over two decades ago.

Meanwhile, you’ve identified a classic, motivated seller. So, take advantage of the offer.

Regarding an inspection: You want to check for leaks, the quality and reason for prior repairs, termite damage (if this is a problem in your region), dry rot around under any water fixture including the toilet, tub, sink, kitchen, and water heater. Then check outside; under the eaves…where the gutters run off, or lack of gutters, or cracks in the foundation due to water-induced heaving (because there was improper drainage).

Evidence of ANY water coming into the basement is an expensive threat to your wallet. You need ZERO water coming into the basement that isn’t being maintained with a sump well and a pump by design (on purpose). All this without knowing if you have a basement or not… Oh well.

Of course the age of the roof, evidence of repairs, and how many layers of roof are in place all make difference as to repairs and costs.

Back to water damage…I personally turn on all the water, and have someone help me flush all the toilets at once, after filling each tub half-way up, to deliberately put the fullest load on the mainline as possible, by simultaneously draining/flushing everything at once.

Anything can slow one or two drains, but if the main line is loaded and the shower, tub or toilet are slow to drain, something is wrong; roots, cracked pipe, etc.

So, I would especially look at the age of the mechanical equipment, wood damage, anything having to do with plumbing and water run-off, and of course the condition of the roof. :beer

One last thing, look for dark areas around the supply air vents. The heat exchanger in a furnace can burn through after so much use. As a result soot (and carbon monoxide) will blow through the house and show up around the vent covers. This is of course unhealthy, if not dangerous.

I could say more, but I’m not a professional home inspector… and I don’t play one on TV! :anon

Thanks Javipa. The good news is that the roof and furnace are newer… I believe within 5 yrs. The basement is partially a full basement and partially a bulkhead. The bulkhead is from an addition put on in the 90’s. I believe the bulkhead is a 4’ depth… I think that’s the minimum code for a one level addition in the northeast. Another concern is the wood siding. They even encased the the chimney with it… I remember seeing a water stain on the ceiling right about where the chimney is located… The “comps” in the area have sold from $250K - $300K. I plan to get as much info as I can through public records. I’m concerned with easements, liens, survey’s etc… I think the " as is " tag might scare away a lot of buyers. I plan to spend a lot of time inspecting the house on my own… I think I’ve learned enough about houses to at least spot something that doesn’t seem right. I agree witht the plumbing and foundation. They are the huge ticket items. It does need some updating, but I’m not concerned about that too much… Its the stuff I can’t see that concerns me. Thanks again…

Our house was 12 yrs old when we bought it. We’ve had to replace one central air unit. We also had to replace the appliances because most of them had at least some type of issue. So check the dates on those too. You should be able to get a termite inspection for a reasonable price. I think most people here pay around $100 when they get an inspection before selling a house. Wood siding = maintenance. Has the exterior been repainted recently? The last time I started scraping wood siding, I decided in the first hour of that ordeal that the house would soon be encased in vinyl siding. I’ve heard material prices are up high for stuff like that now, but lots of handymen are starving for work so you should be able to find cheaper labor. I’ve had several main sewer lines replaced on our rentals. For a line run about 50-60’, I usually pay around $800 or so here. I don’t know that the As-is listing will scare too many people off. I would look at it as the house is more of a take it or leave it house since the seller is obviously stating they’re not fixing anything before the sale.
As others have said, welcome back. Nice to see another regular posting again.

I love buying as-is. Most homebuyers are scared off because of stuff like GFCI outlets that need to be added or some such minor thing. Replacing a sewer or fixing a wet basement is usually a good way to capture good equity if it’s bought right. those kinds of things aren’t nearly as bad as they are made up to be, and homebuyers are really afraid of maintenance.

A dry basement company will come in and charge 15k for something that can be done in a weekend with a day of backhoe work on Friday and Monday. A sewer is the same thing. A backhoe operator can do it ffor $75/hr in a day.

Well it depends on the buyer. AS IS properties are more likely to be purchased by those who knows what need to fix, or clean up, etc. - unlike other buyers who don’t.