ARTICLES & NEWS

FAMILY REAL ESTATE ARTICLES

Title Insurance

Divorce By Publication May Be Necessary for Title Insurance

By Christopher Combs | March 21, 2021

Question: My three children and I have been living in an apartment in central Phoenix since my husband left us three years ago. My mother died last year and I recently received a cash inheritance of $225,000.00. I have now signed a $225,000 purchase contract for a Chandler home. The escrow company says that my husband has to sign the paperwork to disclaim any interest in this Chandler home. What can I do when I have no idea where my husband has been living the past three years? Answer: If only one spouse is buying a home, the title company…

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Listing Agreement

Brokerage Firm “Owns” the Listing – Not the Agent

By Christopher Combs | March 7, 2021

Question: One of our best friends is a real estate agent who lives in our Queen Creek neighborhood. We signed a six-month listing agreement with this real estate agent. After only two months our real estate agent left her brokerage firm and went to a new brokerage firm. The designated broker of her old brokerage firm has refused to transfer our listing agreement to our real estate agent’s new brokerage firm. In fact, two real estate agents of the old brokerage firm even called us to discuss a marketing strategy for the sale of our Queen Creek home. Our real…

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Beneficiary Deed

Beneficiary Deed Not Revoked by a Will

By Christopher Combs | February 7, 2021

Question: My wife’s father passed away ten years ago. My wife’s mother then executed a beneficiary deed to their Chandler family home to her daughter, and they both continued to live in this home. Two years ago when I married her daughter, my wife’s mother executed a will that gave the Chandler home to both my wife and myself as community property. My wife’s mother recently passed away. Unfortunately, my wife and I may soon be filing for divorce. If we do file for divorce, will I lose my community property interest in the Chandler family home? Answer: Probably. Under…

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Morgage transfer

Will My Children Owe Mortgage Balance In Full When I Die?

By Christopher Combs | May 31, 2020

Question: I own three rental properties in Surprise. Each one has a bank mortgage with a “due on sale” clause, i.e., the mortgage must be paid in full upon any transfer of the rental property. My revocable living trust states that my three children become the owners of these three rental properties upon my death. Will the “due on sale” clause in each of these mortgages require my children to pay the entire mortgage balances on these rental homes when I die? Answer: No. Under a 1982 federal law there are exceptions to the enforcement by mortgage lenders of standard…

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foreclosure

HOA Can Foreclose on Home for Unpaid Dues

By Christopher Combs | May 24, 2020

Question: Our mother has been struggling with dementia that has worsened over the last year. We recently moved her from her Mesa home to an assisted living facility in Gilbert. The Mesa home is both a physical disaster (with numerous repairs necessary) and an HOA paperwork disaster. The HOA dues total more than $3,000, and have not been paid by my mother for over a year. In addition, there are numerous unpaid HOA fines of more than $2,000 for overnight parking in the street and for not making repairs to the exterior of the home. The HOA’s management company has…

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Baby room

Son Entitled to Appreciation in Home’s New Value

By Christopher Combs | May 3, 2020

Question: My son and his girlfriend bought a home in North Phoenix three years ago as tenants in common. They each contributed $15,000 for the down payment, and my understanding is that they have been splitting the monthly mortgage payments and other home expenses. Last year they had a baby, and they needed another bedroom. We loaned our son $20,000 to add on a bedroom. Although my son and his girlfriend are happy now, what happens if they break up and have to sell the home? Will my son get back from the proceeds the $20,000 cost of the bedroom…

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partition lawsuit

Partition of Home if Co-Owners Cannot Agree to Sell Home

By Christopher Combs | December 22, 2019

Question: Two years ago my boyfriend and I bought a home together in Chandler. Both of our names are on the deed and the mortgage as tenants in common. We are no longer happy living together, and I plan to move into an apartment. My boyfriend wants to continue to live in the home and doesn’t want to sell the home. He says that under the law I am required to continue to pay one-half of the mortgage. Can I require my boyfriend to sell the home now and split the sale proceeds? Answer: Yes. If you and your boyfriend…

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warranty deed beneficiary deed

Subsequent Deed Revokes Beneficiary Deed

By Christopher Combs | November 10, 2019

Question: My mother recently passed away. Her only significant asset is her home in Sun City West. Three years ago when her boyfriend was living with her she recorded a beneficiary deed granting the home to him. They broke up a year ago, and my sister moved into the home to help my mother. My mother then recorded a warranty deed of the home to my sister. Just before my mother died, however, she executed a will in the hospital giving the home 50/50 to me and my sister. What a mess! Who owns the home now? Answer: Your sister…

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