Agent giving house key

Real Estate Brokers Have Obligation to Disclose

By Christopher Combs | April 26, 2020

Question: In a recent column you said that, under A.R.S. §32-2156 sellers and real estate brokers don’t have to disclose murders, burglaries, and other felonies that have occurred in the home. You also said that sellers and real estate brokers could have to disclose to buyers an abnormally high number of murders, burglaries, and other felonies that have occurred in the surrounding neighborhood. My question as a real estate broker is, what is the obligation of real estate brokers to determine if there is an abnormally high number of felonies that have occurred in the surrounding neighborhood? Do we as…

dual agency open house

Agent Sitting at Open House Represents Only the Seller

By Christopher Combs | December 15, 2019

Question: I am a new real estate agent who has been doing “open houses” on Sunday afternoons for other agents in our Glendale real estate office. I have been told by these agents that my goal at the open house is to not only find a buyer for the listed home, but to also find buyers that may want me to show them similar homes. Last week I was doing an open house for one home, but I thought another home would be more suitable for a buyer who was at the “open house.” Am I allowed to tell that…


No Commissions Owed Without Proper Documents

By Christopher Combs | February 27, 2019

Question: For several years I have owned a lot in the Wickenburg area that I inherited from my parents. I have been trying to sell this lot since last summer. One of my neighbors is a real estate broker, and he emailed me last week to ask if I would pay him a 5% commission if he found a buyer that would pay $300,000 for this lot. I emailed him back agreeing to his proposal. The next day this real estate broker emailed me a cash offer from a buyer for $300,000, with $25,000 earnest money. In the offer the…


Dual Agency in Real Estate Transactions Presents a Problem

By Christopher Combs | February 4, 2019

Question: We listed our North Scottsdale home for sale with a long-time family friend because we trusted her.  A buyer has now signed a purchase contract for our home. This buyer, however, is represented by another real estate broker in the same brokerage firm as our listing agent.  Our listing agent says that she is sorry but she is now a dual agent who represents both us and the buyer.  Although we have signed the purchase contract and a form consenting to dual agency, we are not happy.  How can the same brokerage firm represent both us and the buyer, when…


Agent Cannot Disclose Information Learned During Representation

By Christopher Combs | February 1, 2019

Question: Our brokerage firm had a six-month listing on a five-acre mini-ranch near Wickenburg.  Although we were in escrow three times in this six months, all three buyers canceled because of a potability problem with the water from the well.  The listing has expired, but a friend that I have known since high school contacted me to discuss making an offer.  I don’t want to represent my friend in making an offer, but can I at least tell my friend about the potability problem with the water? Answer: Probably not.  After the term of a listing agreement expires, the agency relationship…


No Sewer Connection Despite Seller’s Representation

By Christopher Combs | January 24, 2019

Question: When I purchased my home in Paradise Valley, the seller represented to me that the home was connected to a sewer system.  I am now trying to sell my home, and the first buyer during the inspection period canceled the purchase contract because his home inspector discovered that my home was not connected to the sewer system, but only had a septic system.  The cost to connect to the sewer system is $35,000.00, which is basically the loss in value of my home.  Doesn’t my real estate agent that represented me when I purchased my home have some liability for…


Listing Commission is Owed if Seller Backs Out

By Christopher Combs | January 15, 2019

Question: I represented the buyer in the purchase of a Tempe home. Three days before close of escrow the Canadian seller changed his mind and refused to sign the deed to close escrow because of tax problems. The buyer had the financing and all inspection conditions were satisfied. The buyer got his earnest money back because he doesn’t want to hire a lawyer to sue the seller. I believe that as the buyer’s broker I am owed a commission by the listing broker who refuses to talk to me. Am I right? Answer: Yes. The general rule is that a…


Negligence of Real Estate Agent Requires Testimony of Another Agent

By Christopher Combs | December 21, 2018

Question: After we purchased our Glendale home we hired a landscape architect to design the landscaping for our back yard.  Although my husband and our two sons purchased the materials and did the work, they followed the design drawings of our landscape architect.  The problem is that during heavy rains our master bedroom is flooded because of improper drainage in our back yard.  When we contacted an attorney to file a lawsuit against our landscape architect, the attorney said that he would need at least $1,000.00 to hire another landscape architect to be able to testify as an expert witness…