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Buyers’ Expectation of Property Condition at Time of Purchase

The Property Condition Paragraph, usually, becomes the most misunderstood term of the contract by buyers when purchasing a home in the two jurisdictions I work in, Maryland and District of Columbia (DC). The contract of sale used by both jurisdictions contains a Property Condition Paragraph that eventually states that the property is sold in “AS IS” condition as of a specified date. However, somewhere between the time of contract ratification and immediately after the home inspection or certain other inspections, the buyers think the sellers are responsible for correcting everything in the home inspection report. As a buyer, you must not lose track of the fact that you are buying the property basically, “AS IS”. Of course, the buyers do not have to continue with the purchase if the home inspections show unsatisfactory conditions. The contract can be terminated at that point. DC made an effort a few years ago to clarify the property condition paragraph in the Regional Sales Contract by simply stating “Purchaser acknowledges that except as otherwise specified in this contract, the property, including electrical, plumbing, existing appliances, heating, air conditioning, equipment and fixtures shall convey in its AS-IS condition”. Buyers should make sure they understand this paragraph before signing the contract. Usually, sellers understand the paragraph very well and make sure their agent makes the “AS IS” Clause a part of the contract. However, in Maryland the Property Condition Paragraph is not as clear as DC. In Maryland, the paragraph states “all electrical, heating, air conditioning, plumbing (including well and septic), and any other mechanical systems and related equipment, appliances and smoke detector(s) included in this contract shall be in working condition”. In Maryland, sellers are made aware of this paragraph before signing the listing agreement.

Both the Maryland Residential Sales Contract and the Regional Sales Contract state that the sellers are responsible for correcting for termites. Visit http://melvinwhite.com for additional buyer information.

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