In a competitive seller’s market such as we are in now, homes are often sold as-is. Either the seller has designated it in the listing, or the buyer made it part of their winning offer. This usually means that an inspection report would not be used to negotiate for repairs or credits. Some buyers skip the inspection, and others have an inspection done for their own information and to ensure that there are no major defects or expenses.

Some houses are good candidates for buying as-is, and some are not. Here are some tips that realtors and buyers can use to help with the decision. Since the structure, roof, and exterior are easy to view, most people are able to assess these components.

Mechanical equipment:

You can usually find an ANSI (American National Standards Institute) date on the data plate. These are standards that are issued periodically. The equipment is manufactured to this standard. This isn’t the same as the manufacture date, which can be several years newer. There is a website that helps decode the serial number or other data to pinpoint the age. It is If all three of the furnace, air conditioner, and water heater need to be replaced, it could be costly.


If the main electrical panel uses fuses and/or is less than 100 amps, it may make sense to upgrade to 200 amps and circuit breakers. If the main fuse cover is approximately the size of a cassette tape, it is 60 amps. If it is closer to the size of a VHS tape, it is 100 amps. Fuses aren’t necessarily dangerous, but they are less convenient. When a kitchen is remodeled, you may need 6-8 circuits just for that.  Also note that there are two manufacturers of panels that are always recommended to be replaced, Federal Pacific and Zinsco. (see separate blog post)


If accessible, you could look at the main service pipe coming in. An original service pipe in an older home may need to be replaced, especially if a bathroom will be added. Galvanized supply piping throughout the home may need to be replaced, either now or in the future.

These aren’t necessarily reasons to pass on the house, but can help provide a better sense of cost.