On October 6, 2006, CNN Money reports of Moody’s Economy. com survey and analysis of housing markets of metropolitan areas in the United States. The authors of this study project that one of the areas that would be most affected by price decline in the near future is the Sarasota real estate housing market, ranked fifth overall of the home price decline forecast. The deepest price drop of 14 percent is yet to be experienced by the third quarter of 2007. In a market like this, many homes are being sold “as-is.”
Buyers are often averse to taking risks in screening or buying an “as-is” real estate property because of the general fear that sellers might be trying to cover up something radically wrong with the house. On the contrary, buyers should not overlook “as-is” homes solely for this reason. As a matter of fact, as Sarasota real estate buyer’s agent Regina Brassil points out, “[as-is] homes are often great purchases with very minor work needed.”
Normally in the Sarasota real estate housing market, as in any other real estate market for that matter, a home seller might be accountable for a particular proportion of the repairs required to be done to the home. This proportion for repairs is usually determined by a licensed home inspector. What buyers should be considerable about is that sellers are more and more selling the home “as-is” to turn aside the chances of unexpectedly paying for repairs out of their pockets, especially as costs escalate with homes sitting in the Sarasota housing market longer than usual. In addition, “as-is” homes are being sold for a variety of other reasons, and sellers may not be particularly aware of any concern regarding the integrity of the home. Nevertheless, these as-is home sellers often will ask a lower price in return. Buyers’ aversion is generally driven by the misconception that an as-is home is in need of a massive overhaul. Quite contrarily, this is rarely true in reality.
There is also no reason to worry because buyers are protected in several ways. In Florida, sellers fill out “Property Disclosure” forms, which are readily accessible by prospective buyers. In this form, the seller is bound to disclose any material problem of the house that he is aware of, such as prior roof drips, planned land use changes, or an out-of-order security system, to name a few. Moreover, sellers refer their knowledge to prospect buyers in order to help them make a better informed decision. Thus, fears about concealed damages to the house are pretty unfounded.
Another protection bestowed to the buyer is that they are allowed, by all means, to invoke their right to an inspection of any Sarasota real estate property they wish to purchase. In Sarasota, the inspection period generally ranges from 10 days to 2 weeks, and gives home buyers the chance to carry out any inspections–through a professional home inspector if they wish–most commonly being a general home inspection and a pest control inspection.
Brassil recommends writing a contract “As-Is with Right to Inspect.” By the time they make a bid, buyers can specify a dollar value in repairs they are willing to absorb. If a licensed professional inspector reckons that the repairs required for the property exceeds the amount they can absorb, buyers have the right to call off the contract and retrieve their deposit. Such an arrangement can be considered “win-win” because not only does it allow the seller to desist from being accountable for any repairs, but also affords protection to the buyer that they are not locked into a contract in case a serious issue about the home surfaces out.
Buyers might be led to think that they all have the decisive hand in transactions taking place in a buyer’s market like the Sarasota housing market. But it is important for them to be aware that a seller is never in charge for aesthetic improvements to the home such as a new paint job, for example. Put differently, a buyer cannot base the costs for needed repairs from expected aesthetic costs. Buyers need not worry though, for they will be protected from major aspects of the home that is not readily obvious to the untrained observer.