QUESTION - I am starting to see several contracts where the agents are writing something like "buyer to purchase property as is" Snohomish County. Please refresh me on the legal ramifications of this.
ANSWER - The provision means nothing and has no significance, used in this context. If seller is attempting to create a situation where seller has no obligation to make repairs, then the statewide forms already create that outcome. The boiler plate terms of the statewide purchase agreement do not obligate seller to make any repairs. If buyer asks for repairs, seller has the freedom to decline, accept or counter buyer's request. If seller wants to communicate to a buyer that seller does not intend to make repairs, seller can say that. That statement cannot prevent buyer from asking for repairs ... which of course seller can then refuse.
If the term "as is" is used in the purchase agreement, the term can have meaning, but only if used properly, with respect to isolated features of seller's property. If seller includes the statement identified in the question, in the purchase agreement, believing that use of that statement absolves seller of all liability for the condition of the home after closing, seller is wrong. The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that the term's meaning is not so broad.
If seller is attempting to curtail seller's post closing liability for the condition of the property, seller should be advised, in writing, to seek legal counsel. Such a limiting provision can be drafted but broker is not licensed to draft that provision and such a provision is not available through the statewide forms.
A competent lawyer would not include this provision in a real estate purchase and sale agreement. Brokers must remember that they are held to the standard of care of a lawyer when drafting purchase agreements. This provision, standing alone in a purchase agreement, is likely to leave seller and thus, seller's broker, with significant difficulty.