‘As Is’ Agreement Doesn’t Protect Seller Hiding Knowledge of Defect

By Christopher Combs | January 9, 2017

 ‘As Is’ Agreement Doesn’t Protect Seller Hiding Knowledge of Defect   Question: We purchased a home in Tempe from a cantankerous old man who would only sell his Tempe home “as is.” Although we did a thorough inspection we failed to discover until two months after close of escrow that tree roots had partially obstructed our sewer line. The cost to repair the sewer line will be at least $2,500. The plumbing contractor that we are hiring to do the repairs said that the seller must have known of this problem with the sewer line. Did we waive any claim…


Group Homes Protected Under Fair Housing

By Christopher Combs | December 9, 2016

Group Homes Protected Under Fair Housing   Question: We live in McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale next to a group home for eight elderly adults. We want to sell our home. Our real estate agent says that Fair Housing laws prohibit age discrimination, and therefore we are not allowed to disclose this group home to a buyer in the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement. What happens, however, if we are specifically asked who lives next door by the buyer, the buyer’s agent, or even the buyer’s termite inspector? What do we say?   Answer: The state and federal Fair Housing Acts (“Acts”) do not…


Disclosure of a Neighbor Arrested for Sex Offense

By Christopher Combs | October 28, 2016

Disclosure of a Neighbor Arrested for Sex Offense   Question: In a recent column you said that a seller of a home in Scottsdale did not have to disclose to the buyer that the next door neighbor’s 15-year-old son had been arrested for molesting a 12-year-old girl. Under the standard real estate contract in Arizona a buyer is advised to go online to the public registry for sex offenders to see if there are any sex offenders in the community. Why does the seller have to disclose anything to the buyer if the buyer has been informed in writing of the…


Seller’s Fraud by Failure to Disclose "Trumps" Buyer’s Negligence

By Christopher Combs | September 27, 2016

Question: We owned a home in Phoenix for 12 years. When we listed our home for sale, my wife with the help of our real estate agent completed the seller’s property disclosure statement (“SPDS”). I just signed the SPDS one night when I came home from work. Although we had done several repairs to the roof, my wife forgot about these roof repairs when she filled out the SPDS. We sold the home 3 months ago. We received a letter from the buyer’s attorney this week saying that the buyer has had major problems with the roof. The buyer’s attorney…


Exceptions to Real Estate Disclosure Requirements

By Christopher Combs | July 25, 2016

Exceptions to Real Estate Disclosure Requirements    Question: In your columns you are always talking about the obligation to disclose a “nasty neighbor.” Our next door neighbor’s 17-year-old son was recently arrested for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl. He is back home after posting bail. We have a daughter and are immediately listing our Glendale home for sale. Our real estate agent said, however, that we do not have to disclose to a buyer this sexual assault by our next door neighbor’s 17-year-old son. Wouldn’t any buyer with small children want to know about this sexual assault by our next door…


Neighborhood Nuisance Disclosure

By Christopher Combs | June 28, 2016

Neighborhood Nuisance Disclosure   Question: In a recent column you said that a seller of a home had to disclose a “nasty neighbor” next door. Why? Some neighbors are nice, and some are not; and some neighbors are nice now and nasty later, and vice versa.   Answer: You minimize the importance of neighbors. There was major litigation a few years ago in the Show Low area between a cattle rancher and part-time residents from Phoenix. These part-time residents from Phoenix were very nasty, and they yelled obscenities and threw trash in the front yard of the cattle rancher’s home. In…


Nondisclosure of Termites is a Fraudulent Misrepresentation

By Christopher Combs | May 12, 2016

       Nondisclosure of Termites is a Fraudulent Misrepresentation   Question: At the time that we purchased our home in Tempe we received the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement (SPDS) from the seller stating “no” in response to the question “have there ever been termites?”  After one month in our home the pest control company that we hired said that we had a bad termite problem.  Our pest control company said that we should contact the Structural Pest Control Board (the state agency that regulates termite companies).  The Structural Pest Control Board said that their records showed that, while the seller…


Relocation Company's Failure to Disclose

By Christopher Combs | April 29, 2016

Nondisclosure not Always Limited to Single Transfer   Question: Under the relocation program of the seller’s employer, the relocation company purchased the home in North Scottsdale when the seller was being transferred to Virginia.  The seller did not disclose to the relocation company severe flooding problems in his backyard.  Several months later when the relocation company sold the home to us the relocation company did not disclose to us these severe flooding problems.  After close of escrow, however, we learned from neighbors that the seller was always complaining about the severe flooding problems.  The cost to correct these severe flooding problems…