As Is, Where Is – What Exactly Does it Mean?

The times we live in, and events we’ve lived through, have done much to shape the market we’re currently experiencing and with no obvious sign of it slowing down, it’s appropriate to consider some of it’s emerging nuances. 


Absolutely unheard of prior to the Christchurch earthquakes, this phenomenon is now gaining traction and finding great appeal from specific buyer groups. 

These groups include, tradesmen comfortable with the requirement to do some repairs or remediation, landlords both current and new to the prospect, and homeowners attracted to the cheaper price points sometimes having missed out on other property. 

The standard characteristics of these properties can vary from homes that appear obviously uneconomic to repair due to subsidence or significant damage, to those that come into that definition due to a specifically worded policy document. For example; if the insurance policy wording required the property be returned to the same condition prior to events. If, as in these cases, that’s unfeasible then an  ‘As Is, Where Is’  property is the result, despite some houses being both habitable and attractive. 

The new upside encompasses nearly every player at this particular table. 


The buyer gets a property at prices that are much (sometimes very much) less than they would be normally, the biggest bonus of all (to them). However, this particular type of property now has a very strong group of followers and as many of the homes are auctioned, those prices are getting higher. The other simple consideration for the buyer is banks tend not to be part of the equation considering it a high risk proposition. 

So, many purchases are made on an absolute cash basis. It’s surprising how many people are able to do that and from their weekly attendances at our auction rooms I can testify to their strong appetite for more of the  ‘As Is, Where Is’ homes and their competitive nature. 


For a sellers perspective I’m going to refer to a piece posted by one of my colleagues Andrew Swift who, along with the team at out Harcourts Parklands Office has developed a high level of expertise in marketing and selling ‘As Is’ property. 

“Essentially a win-win for all, the seller has been paid out from the insurer for the dwelling (or repairs in it) and they only have to realise the value of the land portion”. By paying out on the dwelling the insurer is relieving its obligations over the property and by allowing the dwelling to remain on the site, which not all companies do, it is also forfeiting any obligation it may have for demolition”. 

I think of this as insurers speak for “Adios Amigos, we’ve done our bit and are out of here,” but that’s just me.

What can then occur is these cumulative figures can and do in some cases exceed the value of the property prior to the earthquakes. It’s one of the ironies in the world we now operate in and I like the fact it’s giving people a sense of optimism and a fresh start! 

The bonuses for the City in this equation is a higher level of accommodation, something that is desperately needed.
A positive solution for some of our locals who once felt overwhelmed by circumstances beyond their control, and a greater sense of positivity. 

I can also say that when an  ‘As Is, Where Is’ property came on the market, neighbouring a business we owned we attempted a purchase only to be beaten by a buyer well versed in the benefits these homes offer. 

My advice to anyone contemplating a similar purchase is do your research, cross your fingers and if you’re at an auction, do your best. You will not have the luxury of being the only buyer!

So, owners get advice, don’t go it alone, you have a window of opportunity. Experts, both realtors and lawyers who know this field inside out will make that window a BIG ONE. 

For up to date information on the nature and number of uninsured properties try these websites: – our own website lists ‘As Is’ properties for sale, hosts ‘As Is’ articles, our monthly market updates cover the Christchurch market (including ‘As Is’ properties) and you can contact any gold consultant for further conversation regarding the ‘As Is’ market.


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