Before making an offer on a home please know that when sellers say they are selling the home "as is"' it does not mean that you cannot have a home inspection. In fact you should always have a home inspected by a quailfied home inspector.
The purpose of the home inspection is to find out about material defects. If it is going to cost too much to repair and/or replace items mentioned by the home inspector, based on the contingency clause in your agreement of sale, you can decide whether you want to purchase the home or not. When the seller is selling "as is" it means that the seller is not going to do repairs. This is quite common in bank owned homes.
It is important to get a home inspection even when you are buying a home "as is". The sellers may have a number of reasons for selling "as is".
1. They may not have enough money to pay for repairs.
2. They may not know any handymen or contractors to get the work done.
3. They may be scared to have strangers come to the house to repair the items.
4. They may not want to be bothered with repairs and may not mind selling for less money. They may have listed accordingly.
5. It may be an inconvenience to repair or replace items that need it for a number of reasons including health issues, relocation etc.
If your contract states that you have the option to back out of the contract if you are not satisfied with the inspection report you can do so. You can also try to get the seller to either reduce the price or cover the cost for items mentioned in the inspection report.
Another misconception buyers have about "as is" sales is they think that they will get all the furniture in the house when they buy the house. Furniture is not part of real estate. Fixtures that are permanently installed are included but the furniture is not included unless it is mentioned in the listing and you should also note it in the agreement of sale that it should be included. All inclusions and exclusions should be spelled out. It is common for washer, dryer and refrigerator to be negotiable items, because they are not permanently attached they are not fixtures.
There have been sellers who have left all the junk in the basement saying it was sold "as is". You may have to buy a home in this condition if it is a foreclosed home.
It is important to work with a good agent and a good attorney when buying a home. Sellers must disclose known material defects even if they are selling "as is". Check with your agent or attorney about discosure laws.