Trash the Trash Before Closing

In this challenging (and we hope never again!) real estate market, we are seeing more and more properties listed for sale “as is.”  Some of these “as is” properties are in good shape, clean and ready for occupancy, and some are quite the opposite.  Recently, I was preparing for closing on a contract for an “as is” property when an interesting question arose.  The property was about average and in pretty good shape, but had trash in the house, on the grounds and in a detached shed/garage.

The Contract for Sale and Purchase states that the "SELLER will have removed all personal items and trash and cleaned the property" prior to closing.  But does this provision still prevail on a contract where the "Buyer agrees to accept  the property in its present “as is” condition?”

With less than 36 hours until closing, I asked my mentor and trusted 20 year Real Estate Expert Joe Manausa about what appeared to be a conflict.  We decided the best course of action would be to ask our legal counsel for clarification.  Because  there are so many similar situations out there, we want to make sure for our buyers (who want trash and personal items removed) and sellers (who want to limit any additional expense) that we have the accurate information.

It turned out to be very simple!  These are two separate clauses.  The removal of trash means...remove the trash.  "As is” refers to the condition of the property.  Just because the contract states "as is" does not mean the Seller can leave the property trashed. As the seller cleans the property of trash and personal items, he/she is required to leave it in the same condition it was in at the time the contract was executed.   In my situation, the Buyer closed on the home trash free!

Clarified things for me and my buyers – Hope it helps you!

Eva Armstrong
(850) 386-2001


#1 By Andrea Chapman at 7/11/2017 3:44 AM

Thank you for clearing that up. I'm glad to know that "as is" does not mean sellers can walk away from a mess.
Andrea Chapman

#2 By Eva Armstrong at 7/11/2017 3:44 AM

Andrea - Thanks - 'cause we do have some messes out there that sellers and lenders want people to buy!

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