Robert Paul, Real Estate Pro in Bedford, NY

Is giving the tag "as-is" or handyman special to a listing the kiss of death?

Asked by Robert Paul, Bedford, NY Mon Jul 26, 2010

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On the contrary. Although it'll scare some people off, it'll attract others.

There are plenty of people looking for bargains and are pretty handy with tools. They'd love to buy a place at a discount, and then improve/fix the place themselves.

In fact--insider's secret--I've known investors who've had perfectly decent homes they were selling market those homes as "handyman specials." The homes could be priced a bit under the market and they probably could have used a bit of updating, but nothing much. But what it did was, it attracted people who were looking for bargains who weren't going to whine about the countertops not being granite or the appliances not being stainless steel. And they weren't going to freak out when the home inspector said that one of the outlets had reverse polarity.

So, while you don't want to do that with an upscale property, it's actually a great strategy for a "bread and butter" property that's a good value.

Hope that helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 26, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
Not at all. This way they come in with the idea of the property needing repairs and they can quickly estimate the cost to repair to see if it's a deal or not.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 25, 2014
I have two thoughts. Number one, I think "as is" can be used effectively with strategic pricing. In our present market, oftentimes the list price of the house is so close to what the seller owes, that they have no choice but to offer it "as is." However, there really is no such thing as "as is," because if the appraiser says something needs to be fixed, the underwriter will require it to be done. If the buyer is not willing to make the repair on his own, the deal could easily fall apart. On the other hand, "as is" could conceivably frighten off a first-time homebuyer.

Thought number two: When not used as a tag line, "as is" can be used as a great negotiating tool. If the seller receives a less than desirable offer, oftentimes he can pull the "as is" card and say, "Yes, we'll take your offer, but we're selling the property as is, with no repairs." Again, the appraiser in his remarks can require certain items to be repaired as a condition of the appraisal.

Every listing is individual, so there's not really a blanket statement that covers every situation.

Abbey Turner, ABR
The Turner Team @ Keller Williams Realty
Greenville, SC
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 28, 2010
When I read listings, "as is" and "handyman special" mean two different things. "Handyman special" tells me the house is in poor condition and the buyer needs to be prepared to do a very significant amount of work for the house to be comfortably lived in. "As is," on the other hand, signals that the seller knows work needs to be done and that they expect the buyer to do it because they won't. I have seen "as is" houses that are in quite decent condition, but something needs to be done and the buyer needs to accept the house that way. There are buyers specifically looking for handyman specials, though they are a small segment of the market. because "as is" can mean any one of a number of things, it always makes sense to visit the house and see what the true story is. Bottom line is that I dpn't believe either is a "kiss of death" -- just a "head's up" to the buyer who has expressed a willingness to do work to know what to expect.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 28, 2010
Some sellers think that they're positioning themselves better for negotiations by stating that the property is being sold "as-is", but I think that communicates "fixer."

But "fixers" are fixers, regardless of what you call them, and I've always thought it was better to advertise to the most likely buyer of the property than the least. "Cute, adorable, waiting for your touches" should mean that the home needs a little cosmetic attention, not a complete rebuild of the north wall and foundation plus installation of indoor plumbing!

It also helps, I think, to line up financing for the home so that prospective buyers - and their agents - can be assured on that point.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 27, 2010
I don't believe it is the kiss of death. It lets everyone know know right off the bat that the seller is not going to fix what is broken, or tile a floor, or put in a new range if one burner is not working. If the house really is priced to reflect what needs to be fixed, the buyers know upfront what they are dealing with and can accept it. It also does not mean that the seller won't negotiate the price if the inspection turns up something structurally or horribly wrong.

Sally Griffiths
Weichert, Realtors,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 27, 2010
I think that sometimes we underestimate the buyer. There are many, many buyers who would welcome a handyman special and may actual look for them. One, because they can get a house at a good price and do their own work and secondly, they can put their own mark on the house. They're not getting the prior owners house, their creating their own environment.

"As-is" in my book is can work, if the house is really priced to sell as is. If not, then you can attract buyers that think their getting a real bargain, but come to find out that the house may not be as negotiable as they thought. It's best to use when the seller is truly realistic about how much the house is worth "as-is"

Overall, I think if the seller wants to list their house "as-is" or handyman, buyers will see what they are getting and go for it if that is the type of house they are looking for.

Barbara O'Connell
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson NYS
Margot Bennett, Inc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 26, 2010
I don't think so at all. But, here is what has worked well for me and my sellers. Sometimes, I get a seller who wishes to market their home "as-is" because they don't want to do any repairs and it is a little dated inside. However, like you, I sometimes feel that may deter a potential buyer and I never like to do that on a listing. So, we market the home without that "tag," as you call it. Then when an offer comes in below asking(I haven't really seen too many buyer's offer asking unless it is a super great deal), the seller can accept or counter with any number they wish below asking and then add that the home will be "as-is." For many buyers, this is a fair tit for tat situation. They get a good deal, but the home will be as-is. Buyer is still entitled to inspections, but the proper expectation is set. Once a buyer wants the house and has established the value, I feel that is the best time to introduce the "as-is" scenario. Personally, I think you may get more showings, in leaving the "tag" out. Once people see it, I find it is easier to coax an offer than to never have them come by. Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 26, 2010
As others before me have so eloquently said, "Not necessarily." However, when a Seller wants to sell As-Is, it's important for the agent to explain to the Seller what As-Is really means.

Some Sellers want to sell As-Is because they feel that it protects them from the responsibility of disclosing material facts about the home that could affect the Buyer's decision to buy, or the price he/she might pay.

As agents, we need to make sure that the Seller understands that As-Is simply means the Seller will not pay for repairs. It does not absolve Sellers from their duty to disclose under the laws of the state in which the property is located.

The same applies to selling a home as a "fixer-upper." The Seller needs to disclose what he knows. To do otherwise could result in a lawsuit.

Warm regards,
Maggie Hawk, REALTOR
(386) 314-1149
Watson Realty Corp.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 26, 2010
I think it will attract the very people who would actually buy the home!
"As is" is music to some people's ears!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 26, 2010
I actually read a study a few weeks back that showed such terms tend to make a property sell quicker. It was the total opposite to what one would think; kinda wierd, but fascnating.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 26, 2010
It's better to be honest in your marketing and you'll attract the right buyer. Believe it or not, Fixer Uppers are still a very popular category.

Stacy Carter
Associate Broker
Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 26, 2010
Depends on what you are attempting to accomplish. I specialize in selling distressed properties and I'm only interested in dealing with experienced buyers of such properties. Integrity is a lost commodity in this business. If the property is being sold "as is" and/or if it is a "handiman special" it should be advertised and marketed that way.

I'll be more than happy to work with you on such properties.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 26, 2010
Not necessarily, here in SW Florida we usually use the "as is" contract, meaning what you see is what you get, the banks usually require this as we have been dealing with a lot of banks in this market. This is not always a bad thing, with every negative there is a positive. Think of it this way, if its a "handyman special", it may be priced a lot cheaper. You will most likely have to put some work into the house itself, but some people look for houses that way. Some people fix up houses as a hobby and sell it for much higher, or fix it up for themselves to suit their needs and put their taste of paint, floors, exc in it. Not always do people buy a house and like everything about it, some people change things in it anyways, so why not just buy a "handyman special" to make it everything you want.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 26, 2010
"As-is" can mean many things while "handyman special" usually means a disaster of a house. If the price is right, anything will sell.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 26, 2010
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