"As Is"

There is a very interesting clause floating around the real estate world, one which, if unnoticed in the various contracts and offers, can cause no end of trouble.

"As Is."

In this case, not only was it noticed, it was gleefully insisted upon by the buyer of the old Hastings estate. The old farmhouse had been in the Hastings family for over three hundred years, passed down from generation to generation, even as the land surrounding the house and close buildings was slowly sold off. When the last Hastings, a lifelong bachelor with no heirs whatsoever, died at the age of ninety-two, he left the creaky old three-story white elephant crammed to the rafters with decades, if not centuries, of stuff: furniture, clothes, toys, tools, farming implements, fishing and hunting gear, sports and hobbies equipment, paintings, books, papers, bedding, linens, crockery, silver, china, gewgaws and gimcracks and thingamabobs and mold and dust bunnies. And that was just the house. The barn, carriage house, garden shed, even the chicken coop were the unfortunate repositories of even more piles and boxes.

When the estate agent had first walked through it, she had nearly cried. It would take more money to pay someone to haul it all away, not to mention cleaning what was left, than the entire place was worth. And there was just no telling, really, how sound the structure itself was until that had been done. She was sorely tempted to just bulldoze the whole thing and sell the land alone.

Nevertheless, she decided to take a chance and list it, "As Is", at literally a bargain basement price. Caveat majorly emptor. If nobody nibbled by the following spring, she'd call in the wrecking crew.

So it was that she was flabbergasted when a mysterious Mrs Smith called her up out of the blue one day and made an offer, for just eighty percent of the asking price. The agent was about to haggle, just out of habit, when Mrs Smith dropped those two other magic words in real estate. "In cash."

"Sold. Uh, you know it's 'As Is', right? All current contents included, no promises of any kind made about the structural integrity, etc? Have you even seen it?" As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she wished them back. But then, Mrs Smith said she had, and she understood, and in fact, "As Is" was absolutely perfect. It would give her husband and his brother a hobby, something to keep them occupied.

Sensing that said husband and brother might be as eccentric as the late Mr Hastings, the agent decided to say no more, and simply accepted the offer. She worked like mad the next few days, ramming through all the required inspections and document searches, in order to get to the closing table as soon as possible.

She had a serious shock on closing day, when she met Mrs Smith face-to-face for the first time, and recognized her as the mysterious adopted daughter of the legendary Pete Tyler – she should have haggled, after all. But it was far too late then, and after a bit she shrugged – glad to have gotten rid of the white elephant with so little trouble, after all, and for cash!, rather than have the fish slip off the hook. She might never have gotten even this good a deal again.