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REAL ESTATE CONTRACTS ARTICLES

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…

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Tenants Have Protection in Foreclosures

By Christopher Combs | January 3, 2019

Question: We have been renting a home in Chandler for several years. We just signed another one-year lease. Two nights ago a process server came by and posted a notice of foreclosure in our front yard. Our landlord lives in Chicago and has not returned our phone calls. If our home is sold in foreclosure, when will we have to move? Answer: In general, a federal law protecting tenants in their homes during any foreclosure by the landlord’s mortgage lender has been in effect since 2009, and has been recently renewed with no expiration date. If you are a bona fide…

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General Warranty Deed for Resale Homes

By Christopher Combs | January 2, 2019

  Question: In a recent column you discussed the difference between a general warranty deed and a special warranty deed. You said that a special warranty deed from the seller to a buyer is used in 90% of Arizona real estate transactions. I am an Arizona real estate agent, and I was shocked because our standard Arizona Association of Realtors (“AAR”) contract provides for a general warranty deed from the seller to the buyer. I contacted the escrow agent that I use, and she said that “it is the other way around” from what you said. She said that 90% of…

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What if both Spouses do not Sign the Listing Agreement?

By Christopher Combs | December 3, 2018

Question: My wife signed a listing agreement with a real estate broker to sell our Chandler home. My wife did not consult with me before signing this listing agreement. Are my wife and I bound by the listing agreement signed only by my wife? Answer: Probably. A listing agreement is not a real estate contract. Rather, it is a personal services contract hiring a real estate broker, similar to hiring a landscaper or an accountant. The signature of either spouse will bind both spouses and their community property for any breach of the listing agreement. If you and your wife are selling…

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house keys in hand from seller

The Seller Won’t Move Out – What Should We Do?

By Christopher Combs | November 18, 2018

Question: The purchase of our Scottsdale home closed last Friday. We were planning on moving into our new home on Saturday, but the seller refuses to leave because he says that his new home won’t close until next Thursday. He promises to move out next Thursday, but in the meantime we are staying in a motel, and all of our belongings are still in storage. Waiting until Thursday is not a major problem, but how can we guarantee that the seller leaves on Thursday, as under our purchase contract he already agreed to leave last Friday? Answer: In your purchase…

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Why do Arizona Home Purchase Contracts have a Three-Day Cancellation Clause?

By Christopher Combs | September 14, 2018

The history of the three-day cancellation clause found in the current Arizona home purchase contract dates back to the development by the Arizona Association of Realtors (“AAR”) of a standard contract for home purchases more than 50 years ago.  At the time, home purchase contracts did not have cancellation notice requirements, allowing buyers and sellers to cancel the contract for any lack of performance, and to do so without notice. The concern in Arizona was that, because of summer heat and vacation schedules (and before fax machines and email), buyers and sellers might need more time to close escrow than…

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Must I Pay Commission if the Sale is Canceled?

By Christopher Combs | August 24, 2018

Question: After my husband retired we signed a listing agreement with a real estate broker to sell our Tempe home because we wanted to move to a condominium in east Mesa. Our real estate broker quickly located a buyer, and we executed a purchase contract to sell our Tempe home to that buyer. Our children have been very unhappy about us selling our Tempe home because they were all born in this home. We believe now that we acted too quickly in signing the purchase contract. We contacted our buyer, and our buyer agreed to cancel the purchase contract if we…

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For Rent

Partition Lawsuit by Sisters and Attorney’s Fees

By Christopher Combs | July 29, 2018

Question: My sister and I inherited our mother’s North Phoenix home after our mother died. My sister needs money and wants to sell the home immediately. I would like to make some improvements to the home and rent the home for rental income for both of us. My sister, however, says that she will not sign a lease to any renter of the home. If she won’t sign a lease to rent the home, can I sign the lease by myself? Can my sister require the sale of the home? If so, who pays for legal fees? Answer:  First, in…

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