What does buying or selling real estate in Mexico “As Is” mean? It means mostly the same as in other countries: selling the property in its current state with an understanding that no repairs will be made, and the property will come with its current faults and issues.
When you are buying an “As Is” home in Mexico, it should be written clearly in the purchase and sale agreement. Sellers must understand that they must reveal at the same time what they know to be deficiencies or problems with the property that may affect the buyer´s cost of acquisition. They have a heightened requirement to disclose what they know about their property.
What Selling “As Is” Does Not Mean
“As Is” does not relieve sellers from all the general obligations that come with the sale of a home. Sellers cannot unload the property for whatever price they can receive, while avoiding the need to talk about or disclose any issues with the property. Sellers have a duty to avoid making misrepresentations of fact or failing to respond truthfully to a specific question from a buyer.
Selling “As Is” Does Not Mean Non-Disclosure
The purpose of a property inspection is to determine if it is in a condition that would make the buyer not want to buy it. If the seller has disclosed what he/she knows about the property, and the buyer discovers these and other problems, he/she can withdraw at this point from the offer, in the matter described in the sales contract.
Many buyers do not realize that in Mexico there are no required forms for disclosure of termites, contamination or electrical grounding. What the seller and buyer agree upon for repairs is between the parties as a result of negotiation. Buyer and Seller can determine if they want to address the cost of repairs or the price of the home, but both have to agree after discussions, or the contract can be determined null and void.
In the case of a seller never occupying a home, it is harder to know its condition. This could be the case of a sale from probate, or heirs to the property are unaware of the condition of the home.
Professional agents taking a listing have their sellers fill out and sign a Sellers Statement of Property Condition. This report outlines what an owner knows and doesn’t know about their property and allows agents to represent a property more accurately.
Problems with Selling “As-Is”
- Buyers can perceive your home negatively.
- Buyers can offer less for the property.
- Sellers wishing to sell “As Is” may have to work harder to demonstrate the value of the property.
- Sellers may find their “As Is” condition attracts fewer buyers.
When to Consider Selling “As Is”
Most homeowners should avoid starting off a sale with “As Is”. But, there are certain situations where selling “As Is” can be desirable.
- You cannot afford to make any repairs. Work with your agent who may be able to come up with creative solutions that will allow you to avoid selling “As Is”, or at least avoid putting it in your listing right from the beginning Save .
- You cannot handle the stress of a home sale. If you can get help from friends or family, or if your agent offers to take care of the stressful aspects as much as possible, you can probably get a better price for your home if you avoid selling “As Is”.
- If you are under financial distress, look for investors who can be more objective about an offer, even though they will offer less. You may be able to close sooner.
Accepting an Offer and Home Inspection
There are other times selling “As Is” may come up, such as after an offer is received, but before the buyer home inspection takes place.
If you, as a seller, agree to your lowest price, you will want your agent to be sure the language in the offer communicates to the buyer that he/she is buying the home “As Is” and you are not coming down on the price or making any repairs for any defects discovered.
There are times when a seller has a little bit of money to invest into their property prior to listing it for sale. In this circumstance, it may make sense to do a few improvements prior to listing the property for sale. Discuss with your real estate agent those things that should be fixed before putting the home up for sale.
Pricing a home properly is both a skill and an art. Putting the right price on a property is difficult when selling an “As Is” home.
Many agents are not skilled at estimating repairs and improvements that are necessary. Properties can end up being overpriced even when selling “As Is”.
Real estate agents are held to a higher standard when it comes to disclosing a home’s defects. They are held to their Code of Ethics to protect the public and not collude with a seller or buyer who is cheating or lying.
This article is based upon legal opinions, current practices and my personal experiences. I recommend that each potential buyer or seller of real estate conduct his/her own due diligence and review.