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Sellers Can't Warrant What They Don't Know

October 16, 1994

The growth of "as is" sales is the result of two observable truths in the 1990s Southern California residential real estate arena:

(1) Most foreclosures are the direct result of buyers walking away from recent loans where their property is now worth less than their loan debt. Many of those losers that stay and don't walk away from their devalued home, come up with another approach. They find fault, create a problem to sue the seller so they can both keep the home and get some of the market loss back.

(2) As a result, "as is" has risen out of the ashes of probate procedures (absentee sellers) to become the new protection against often frivolous lawsuits from those recent purchasers seeking recovery from their dramatic losses.

Alerted sellers are now saying in effect, "I will not pay for any repairs or alterations after escrow closes. Caveat emptor (Let the buyer beware). You cannot charge me after the fact with what I do not know."

Sellers simply cannot warrant what they have no knowledge of. Therefore, sellers want buyers to agree in advance that the product sold is not perfect.

PETER FLEMING

Pacific Palisades

The writer is a Westside realtor with Jon Douglas Co .

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