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Earnest Money on New Construction not Unreasonable Damages

By Christopher Combs | October 3, 2018

  Question: We entered into a contract to purchase a new home in a subdivision in the Buckeye area for $300,000. We deposited $30,000 earnest money in escrow. After 45 days while the home was still in the framing stage, my wife decided that she wanted to quit her job and return to school. We will not be able to afford this new home now, and we would like the return of our $30,000 earnest money. Due to strong demand in our subdivision, the homebuilder has just raised the base price of our model home, and should therefore make a large…

Solar Panels Foreclosure

Who Owns Solar Panels after Foreclosure?

By Christopher Combs | July 22, 2018

Question: Last month after a bank foreclosure our investor group purchased a home in Apache Junction. The home has solar panels on the roof. We recently received a letter from the attorney for the solar panel company that leased the solar panels to the former owner of the home. The attorney requested a time to come to the home to remove the solar panels. The attorney enclosed with the letter a UCC-1 financing statement that was recorded before the bank’s foreclosure deed to us. Who owns the solar panels now? If the solar panel company still owns the solar panels,…

golf ball

Developer Responsibility for Protection from Golf Balls

By Christopher Combs | July 8, 2018

Question: We purchased a home five years ago in a golf community in Mesa. We specifically purchased our home adjacent to a tee box because we did not want any damage from golf balls. The developer is now modifying the golf course and the tee box will be moved so that some balls hooked from the re-designed tee box will end up hitting our roof, windows, or even us! Does the developer have the right to move the tee box? If so can I require the developer to pay for the cost of screening or other protection for our home?…

Real Estate Blog

Is a Home Builder Liable for Reduced Living Area?

By Christopher Combs | April 9, 2018

Question: We contracted with a builder for the purchase of a new 5,000-square-foot home in North Scottsdale. After we moved into our new home, we discovered that an outside wall of the home was located almost a foot closer than indicated on the plans and specifications. As a result, there are 200 square feet less of living area in the home. The homes are worth over $300 per square foot in our community. Do we have a claim against the builder for $60,000 because of this loss of 200 square feet? Answer: Probably not. The builder of a home is only liable…

Home Construction Defects

Arizona Statute of Repose Limits Claims for Construction Defects

By Christopher Combs | July 18, 2016

 Arizona Statute of Repose Limits Claims for Construction Defects   Question: We purchased a new home in Fountain Hills in September 2010. We recently discovered that the stucco is falling off in some places, and that there are even holes in the stucco near the garage where we can see the insulation and wiring. After we complained to our homebuilder, they said that their homebuilder’s written warranty expired two years after we bought the home. We then filed a claim with our homeowner’s insurance company, but they denied our claim because they said that a homebuilder’s warranty is for 8…


Seven-Day Right of Rescission is Inapplicable

By Christopher Combs | May 4, 2016

  Seven-Day Right of Rescission Inapplicable to Vacant Lot     Question: We recently purchased from a homebuilder a lot in a beautiful Sonoran desert community in the Fountain Hills area. The construction of our home on this lot was to be completed within nine months. Although we love the lot, the next day after we purchased the lot we realized that the daily commute to our Camelback Road offices would be too difficult. We thought that under the subdivision laws we had a seven-day right to rescind the contract to purchase this vacant lot. Therefore, that next day we emailed…


Statute of Frauds doesn't Apply to Sale of Homebuilder Services

By Christopher Combs | March 23, 2016

 Statute of Frauds does not Apply to Sale of Homebuilder Services   Question: In a recent column you said that, if the owner of a lot verbally agrees with a homebuilder to have a home built on the lot, this verbal agreement is enforceable.  I am a licensed real estate agent.  In real estate school we were taught that all contracts for the sale of a home or any other real property had to be in writing.  Was I taught wrong?   Answer: No. If a home or any other real property is being sold, the contract generally must be signed…


Distinguishing a Contractor from an Employee

By Christopher Combs | February 1, 2016

 Distinguishing a Contractor from an Employee   Question: We recently hired a contractor to do some remodeling work on the bathroom of our Glendale home. We asked that he only work between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. while our daughter was in preschool. Before any work was started, we signed an agreement with the contractor that he would be paid every two weeks based on hours worked and materials purchased. Three days ago the contractor slipped in the bathroom and broke his ankle. He now wants us to pay for his medical bills because he said he was our employee, and…