ARTICLES & NEWS

REAL ESTATE AGENCY LAW ARTICLES

Liability of Real Estate Brokerage Firm for Acts of its Real Estate Agents

By Christopher Combs | December 10, 2023

Question: I am the designated broker of our small Glendale real estate office. I know that I have to supervise all real estate agents in our office. One of our real estate agents recently made inappropriate remarks and physical advances to a female real estate agent at an open house. She even filed a police report. Is our real estate brokerage firm liable if there is a lawsuit by this female real estate agent against our real estate agent? Answer:  Probably not. The Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled that a real estate brokerage firm has no liability for the…

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Commercial Tenants Have Little Statutory Protection

By Christopher Combs | October 22, 2023

Question: We are tenants in a Peoria office building. During a week of 120-degree heat last July, the air conditioning system for the entire office building “crashed,” and our landlord said that it would be at least two weeks to get the necessary parts to fix the air conditioning system. Because we were in the middle of a major project, most of us couldn’t work from home. We were, however, able to get office space in the office building next door for two weeks at a cost of $8,000. When we requested reimbursement of this $8,000 from our landlord, our…

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Broker Should Submit All Purchase Offers

By Christopher Combs | August 14, 2022

Question: We listed our Gilbert home for sale for $650,000. After two months we received a cash offer for $638,000. We reluctantly accepted this cash offer for $12,000 less than our listing price. We have now learned from another Realtor that, before we accepted this $638,000 offer, this Realtor’s buyer had made a $650,000 offer to our listing broker contingent on qualifying for a new loan. When we confronted the listing broker about this other $650,000 offer, the listing broker said that she didn’t think that this $650,000 buyer could qualify for a new loan, so she didn’t bother to…

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What Qualifications Do Real Estate Agents Need?

By Christopher Combs | April 10, 2022

Question: In a recent column you said that, under Article 26 of the Arizona Constitution, a real estate agent has the right to practice law, e.g., draft purchase contracts or leases in a real estate transaction. We recently moved to Arizona from West Virginia, and we are planning on buying a new home from a homebuilder in Gilbert with the purchase price in the $1.2 million range. We were surprised to learn from the Gilbert homebuilder’s sales agent that real estate agents in Arizona generally take the place of a lawyer in the purchase of a new home. Sounds totally…

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Can Listing Agent Bind Seller to Purchase Contract?

By Christopher Combs | April 3, 2022

Question: In a recent column a buyer made a $480,000 offer to purchase a Casa Grande home. The listing agent emailed the buyer’s agent, “Sounds good. Let’s open escrow. Seller signing the purchase contract.”  The seller then sold the house to another buyer for $510,000. Your answer was that the email of the listing agent was binding on the seller to sell the Casa Grande home for $480,000. At our Tuesday brokerage office meeting, almost everybody in the office disagreed with you. Please explain your answer. Answer:  First, the answer to the question was “probably.” This area of the law…

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Can Seller Cancel Listing Agreement?

By Christopher Combs | March 27, 2022

Question: We signed a listing agreement to sell our Glendale home for $780,000. Our listing agent said that she had listed and sold 16 homes in our subdivision. Although our listing agent said that the listing price of $780,000 was too high, we were in no rush to sell our home in this “booming” market. Therefore, we refused to lower the $780,000 listing price. After two months our listing agent has not brought us one offer, although a similar home in our subdivision just sold for $755,000. We asked our listing agent to have an open house, but she said…

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Listing Agent’s Representations Can Be Purchase Contract

By Christopher Combs | February 27, 2022

Question: We made a full listing price offer of $480,000 with $20,000 earnest money for a home in Casa Grande. Our real estate agent emailed our $480,000 offer to the listing agent who emailed our real estate agent back the next day “Sounds good. Let’s open escrow. Seller signing the purchase contract. Will send tomorrow.” After we received a copy of this email from our real estate agent, we thought that we had a contract. We then scheduled a home inspection, called our mortgage broker and filled out some paperwork, and paid $250 to a roofing company for a roof…

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Is 10-Day Inspection Period A ‘Free Look’?

By Christopher Combs | February 20, 2022

Question: We signed a purchase contract to sell our Rio Verde home to Los Angeles buyers for $1.2 million with $50,000 earnest money. During the 10-day inspection period the buyers cancelled the purchase contract and demanded their $50,000 earnest money back. Their only reason for cancellation of the purchase contract was that they would be too far away from Scottsdale Fashion Square and the downtown Scottsdale area with restaurants, shopping, etc. We think that the buyers just found another home that they liked better than our Rio Verde home. Therefore, we don’t want to give the buyers back their $50,000…

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