ARTICLES & NEWS

REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS ARTICLES

Seller Must Disclose Solar Panel Lease

By Christopher Combs | January 28, 2018

Question: Last year we purchased a home in Arcadia. The home had solar panels on the roof. The purchase contract and the title insurance policy said nothing about a solar panel lease. After moving into our home, we started receiving notices from a solar panel company saying that we owed them monthly lease payments for the solar panels. Apparently, four years ago our seller had signed a 15-year lease for the solar panels, but never told us. Do we have to make these lease payments? Answer: Probably not. The seller should have disclosed the solar panels lease to you. There…

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Is Disclosure of Partying Neighbors Required?

By Christopher Combs | January 14, 2018

Question:  We have lived in our Goodyear home for more than 20 years. We never had any problems with our neighbors. Last year a young couple moved in next door. Every weekend there are parties, and I think that drugs are involved. We have listed our home for sale because we want to move into a smaller home now that our children are grown. Our listing agent said that we have to disclose to buyers any material and adverse fact regarding our home. Do we have to disclose these new neighbors? Our son is a lawyer in Los Angeles, and…

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Should we Invest Money in a Private Full-time Mediator?

By Christopher Combs | December 11, 2017

Question: Three months ago we bought a beautiful older home in north Phoenix from a seller who had made significant attractive renovations to the home such as granite countertops. We found out after moving into the home, however, that the essential items of any home, the electrical wiring and the plumbing, are in terrible condition. The seller lied to us about these two items on the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement, and our home inspector was apparently “asleep at the wheel.” The cost to repair these two items will be at least $60,000. The seller refused to mediate as required by our…

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Problems with Lawsuits against Home Inspectors

By Christopher Combs | December 7, 2017

Problems with Lawsuits against Home Inspectors   Question: We closed on the purchase of a home in Chandler three months ago. Since closing we have had significant electrical problems. A licensed electrical contractor said that, among other things, two electrical panels need to be replaced. The cost of these repairs will be at least $3600. During the 10-day inspection period, we had a home inspection at a cost of $475 which showed no electrical problems. Is our home inspector liable for the $3600 cost of the electrical repairs?   Answer: If your home inspector was negligent in failing to discover the electrical…

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Transferring a Mobile Home Through Beneficiary Deed

By Christopher Combs | November 22, 2017

Transferring a Mobile Home Through Beneficiary Deed   Question: I am a senior citizen who lives on Social Security in a mobile home in Florence. My mobile home is my only significant asset, and I want my daughter to have the mobile home when I die. I read your column about beneficiary deeds that can transfer a home without any probate. I wonder if I could use a beneficiary deed to transfer my mobile home to my daughter when I die?   Answer: A mobile home itself is personal property. If your mobile home is affixed to your land, however, the mobile…

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Fair Housing Laws in Cities Can Protect More Classes

By Christopher Combs | October 30, 2017

Fair Housing Laws in Cities Can Protect More Classes   Question: In a recent column you said that age is not a protected class under state and federal fair housing laws, and that senior citizens have no protection under fair housing laws just because they are old, e.g., some senior citizens run marathons. You also said, however, that many senior citizens are “disabled,” which is a protected class under state and federal fair housing laws. You are correct about state and federal fair housing laws, but cities and towns can provide in their fair housing laws for additional protected classes. For…

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Lose Vacant Lot if Don't Pay Property Taxes or HOA Fees

By Christopher Combs | October 23, 2017

Lose Vacant Lot if Don’t Pay Property Taxes or HOA Fees   Question: Twenty years ago my husband and I purchased a lot in northern Arizona. Although there were promises by the developer about development of the entire area, no development has occurred, and no development is anticipated. Every year we pay the property taxes and property management fees related to the development. We are retired, and want to reduce our expenses. Is there anything that we can do with the lot that would not harm our credit rating?   Answer: If you fail to pay the property taxes you…

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Transferring a Mortgage

Transferring a Mortgage after Death of Parent

By Christopher Combs | October 16, 2017

Transferring a Mortgage after Death of Parent   Question: In a recent column you wrote about a mother being able to transfer her Sun City home to her daughter either by beneficiary deed or by a small probate affidavit. If there is a mortgage on the Sun City home at the time of the mother’s death, will the daughter have to pay off the mortgage immediately?   Answer: Probably not. Although most mortgages have a standard due-on-sale clause that requires the mortgage balance to be paid off immediately upon any transfer of the home, most mortgages are governed by federal…

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