Recent Ruling Leaves Agent-Broker Liability Questions

By Christopher Combs | January 23, 2017

Recent Ruling Leaves Agent-Broker Liability Questions    Question: In real estate school we were taught that under Arizona law a real estate agent was an employee of the broker. The reason was that the broker was required to reasonably supervise all real estate agents under the license of the broker. Therefore, the broker as the employer was liable for all wrongful acts of the real estate agent. An Arizona court recently ruled, however, that a real estate agent is legally an independent contractor, and not an employee. Therefore, the broker has no liability for the acts of the real estate agent.…


Cancellation of Listing Agreement

By Christopher Combs | December 19, 2016

Cancellation of Listing Agreement   Question: Before I signed a six-month listing agreement for the sale of my Peoria home, I had a telephone conversation with my real estate broker. Both of us were in Arizona. In this telephone conversation my real estate broker said that, although his office policy required a written six-month listing agreement, I could verbally cancel this six-month listing agreement after thirty days. I recorded this telephone conversation without my real estate broker’s knowledge. When I decided after thirty days that I really disliked this real estate broker, I told him to cancel the listing agreement.…


Developer Changed Subdivision Plans

By Christopher Combs | October 7, 2016

Developer Changed Subdivision Plans   Question: When we purchased our Buckeye home we were in Phase one of the subdivision. The developer’s sales agent said that Phase two and Phase three of the subdivision would have larger homes on larger lots. The sales agent said that, therefore, our lower-priced home would have strong appreciation in value. The homes in Phase two and Phase three have recently been completed, and these homes in Phase two and Phase three are smaller homes on smaller lots. The sales agent no longer works for the developer. Do we have a claim against the developer…


Sellers Need not Disclose Past Deaths, Crimes

By Christopher Combs | April 11, 2016

  Arizona Stigmatized Property Law     Question: In the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement we disclosed that my mother died of a stroke in the living room of our Wickenburg home.  The buyer is an investor who “flips” homes to other buyers.  The buyer said that I did not have to disclose to him my mother’s death in the home, and that he will not have to disclose her death either.  Is the buyer right?   Answer: Yes. Under the Arizona stigmatized property law a seller, a landlord, and any real estate agent are not required to disclose that a…


Real Estate Misrepresentation Case Requires Evidence and Damages

By Christopher Combs | January 11, 2016

 Real Estate Misrepresentation Case Requires Evidence and Damages   Question: We purchased our home in North Peoria two years ago.  At that time, the developer’s sales agent told us that because of water runoff problems, the beautiful desert immediately beyond our backyard would never be developed.  The view from our backyard of this beautiful desert was the main reason that we purchased our home.  The developer is now building a culvert to channel the water runoff and, after this culvert is completed, the developer will be building homes in the area beyond our backyard.  The developer’s sales agent is no longer…


Homeowner Distraught Over Low Sale Price

By Christopher Combs | September 27, 2015

  Question:  My wife and I listed our Peoria home for $130,000 based on the valuation from our real estate agent who lives across the street.  We had four offers to buy our home for full price the next day.  We accepted one of the $130,000 offers.  A week later, however, two of our neighbors told us at an HOA meeting that they were upset because we were selling our home too low.  In other words, the $130,000 sale price was lowering the values of their homes.  Their “guess” was that our home was worth at least $170,000.  I immediately…


A Landlord Has the Right to Reasonable Access

By Christopher Combs | August 9, 2015

  Question:  I am renting a beautiful home in east Mesa.  The landlord is trying to sell the home, and the landlord’s listing agent wants to show the home to a potential buyer.  I have valuable art work and other items of personal property in the home.  Do I have to let the listing agent have access to my home?   Answer:   Yes.  The landlord is the owner of the home, and is entitled to reasonable access to the home.  This reasonable access generally requires at least two days’ notice, and can only be at reasonable times, e.g., between 9:00…


Disclosure of Fissures Required in Some Cases

By Christopher Combs | July 12, 2015

  Question: We recently bought a ten-acre ranchette in Mesa as a horse property.  Shortly after we closed, my wife was riding one of her horses in the rear portion of our corral, and her horse stumbled and fell.  After we investigated, we discovered that there was a large fissure under the soil that had only been partially filled in before being covered up with dirt.  We then hired an engineer who determined that there was not only this large fissure, but also two smaller fissures under the dirt in our corral.  We wished that we had been warned by…