Selling Property “As Is Where Is” Does Not Fully Protect Seller Against Fraud Claims

As Springfield, Missouri real estate attorneys, we have been involved in breach of contract and fraud cases from the sale of real property. Some sellers are under the incorrect belief that they may hide behind certain known problems with their property so long as they sell their property “as is where is”. However, those four words do not provide as much protection as some sellers believe. In Missouri, sellers cannot hide behind those four words if they otherwise have information regarding defects and fail to disclose those defects to the potential buyer. In Wagner v. Uffman, 885 S.W.2d 783 (Mo.App. E.D. 1984), the Missouri Court of Appeals stated that “a party may not contractually exclude one’s self from fraud through the use of general disclaimers.” Therefore, generally, if a seller knows specific defects, the seller must disclose those to the buyer even if the property is being sold “as is where is”. Those four words may protect you from a breach of contract claim, however they may not protect you from a fraud claim. If you are buying, selling, or otherwise have a real estate question, O’Reilly & Preston, LLC can help you answer those questions. We are experienced in and have handled numerous cases involving breach of contract, fraud, mechanic’s liens, and other disputes involving real property.