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…


Builder Without a Contractor’s License Can Only Build Self Home

By Christopher Combs | January 5, 2016

  Question: When we purchased our new home in Chandler last fall we knew that the builder of our new home was not a licensed contractor. The builder said that he had built the home as a retirement home for his parents, but his parents changed their minds and retired in South Carolina. We have had nothing but problems with our Chandler home, especially with the roof and plumbing. The builder has refused to talk to us. We filed a complaint with the Registrar of Contractors but they said that they could not help us because the builder was not…


A Verbal Contract to Build a Home Should be Enforceable

By Christopher Combs | November 29, 2015

 A Verbal Contract to Build a Home Should be Enforceable   Question:  We want to build a home on a lot we own in north Scottsdale.  After interviewing several homebuilders, we found a homebuilder that we liked.  The reason that we liked this homebuilder was that we had looked at a specific home a mile away that the homebuilder had built which was the same type of home that we want to have built.  The homebuilder showed us the plans and specifications for this home.  We had several more meetings with this homebuilder, and our handwritten notes show that we…


Homebuilder Misrepresented Square Footage of Home

By Christopher Combs | November 9, 2015

 Homebuilder Misrepresented Square Footage of Home   Question: We signed a purchase contract with a homebuilder for a new house to be built in north Scottsdale. After we closed escrow and moved into our new home, we discovered that an outside wall was in the wrong location per the plans and specifications for our new home. As a result, there is less square footage of living area. The homebuilder has refused to talk to us. Has the homebuilder breached the purchase contract?  What are our damages?   Answer: A homebuilder will be liable for breach of the purchase contract if the new home contains…


Corporate Office Often Must OK New Home Deal

By Christopher Combs | May 10, 2015

Corporate Officer Signature and New Home Deals   Question:  A new subdivision is being developed near our Gilbert home.  Last Saturday we went and looked at several of the model homes in the subdivision.  One of the model homes we loved, and we spent all day negotiating price, upgrades, and other contract terms.  At the end of the day all of the paperwork was signed by us and the sales agent, who told us “Congratulations on your new home!”  My wife and I then went out and celebrated that night!  The following week we received a telephone call from the…


Golf Property Doesn't Have to Remain a Course

By Christopher Combs | November 23, 2014

  Question:  Several years ago we purchased a home on a golf course in Ahwatukee.  Not only did we pay a premium for our home being on a golf course, but our purchase contract stated that “the golf course will remain a golf course.”  In addition, our community had deed restrictions that limited the use of the golf course for golf purposes only, unless a majority of the homeowners agreed to amend these deed restrictions.  The problem is that the golf course is no longer in operation, and the landscaping of the golf course is in terrible condition.  Being on…


Attorney Prepares Documents

By Christopher Combs | August 25, 2014

  Question:  I signed a contract to have a house built by a major homebuilder.  I signed this contract without using either a real estate agent or a real estate attorney.  When I purchased homes in Cleveland before moving to Arizona I used a real estate agent and a real estate attorney.  Should I contact a real estate agent or attorney now?  Should I purchase title insurance at a cost of more than $1,100 or should I simply rely on the good reputation of this homebuilder?   Answer:  A real estate agent representing a buyer is primarily involved in locating…


No Right of Rescission for Improved Lot

By Christopher Combs | August 11, 2014

  Question: We recently signed a contract to purchase a home to be built within a year on a lot in a beautiful community in north Mesa. Although we love our lot, the day after we signed the purchase contract, we realized that, because both of us work in downtown Phoenix, the daily commute would be too difficult from north Mesa. Inasmuch as we believed we had a seven-day right of rescission after purchasing this lot, we immediately asked for our $10,000 earnest money back from the developer. The developer said we did not have a seven-day right to rescission and…