Release of Real Estate Agents Probably Not Enforceable

By Christopher Combs | January 2, 2022

Question: In a recent column you said that under the AAR Purchase Contract the seller and the buyer release their real estate agents from any liability in the transaction.  We sold our Chandler home in July. Neither my husband nor I remember seeing this release language in our AAR Purchase Contract. When we reviewed lines 428-434 of our AAR Purchase Contract, however, we were shocked to see that not only did we release our real estate agent and the buyer’s agent, but the release was in bold print, and we initialed this release. At that time we just signed and…

Real estate purchase contract

Specific Legal Description Not Required in Purchase Contract

By Christopher Combs | December 27, 2020

Question: We have a small commercial brokerage firm in Phoenix. Common brokerage practice in most commercial brokerage firms is not to state a legal description in the purchase contract. Instead, the address and the parcel number are specified, and an exhibit to the purchase contract says “legal description to be inserted by title company.” The reason is that no commercial broker wants to take the risk of inserting in the purchase contract an erroneous legal description, which can be complex and more than two pages. Is a specific legal description required in the purchase contract under Arizona law? Answer: No.…

Real Estate License

Short-Term Rentals Don’t Require Real Estate License

By Christopher Combs | August 9, 2020

Question: We live in a neighborhood of high-end homes in south Chandler. One of our neighbors has done short-term rentals of her own home for the past two years. She has recently started doing short-term rentals for two other high-end homes in our neighborhood. She is collecting money, paying for repairs, and advertising the homes as short-term rentals. We own a property management company that manages more than 100 rental homes with mostly one-year or two-year leases. Our property management company is required to have a real estate license. We know that our neighbor does not have a real estate…

Agent giving house key

Real Estate Brokers Have Obligation to Disclose

By Christopher Combs | April 26, 2020

Question: In a recent column you said that, under A.R.S. §32-2156 sellers and real estate brokers don’t have to disclose murders, burglaries, and other felonies that have occurred in the home. You also said that sellers and real estate brokers could have to disclose to buyers an abnormally high number of murders, burglaries, and other felonies that have occurred in the surrounding neighborhood. My question as a real estate broker is, what is the obligation of real estate brokers to determine if there is an abnormally high number of felonies that have occurred in the surrounding neighborhood? Do we as…

dual agency open house

Agent Sitting at Open House Represents Only the Seller

By Christopher Combs | December 15, 2019

Question: I am a new real estate agent who has been doing “open houses” on Sunday afternoons for other agents in our Glendale real estate office. I have been told by these agents that my goal at the open house is to not only find a buyer for the listed home, but to also find buyers that may want me to show them similar homes. Last week I was doing an open house for one home, but I thought another home would be more suitable for a buyer who was at the “open house.” Am I allowed to tell that…


No Commissions Owed Without Proper Documents

By Christopher Combs | February 27, 2019

Question: For several years I have owned a lot in the Wickenburg area that I inherited from my parents. I have been trying to sell this lot since last summer. One of my neighbors is a real estate broker, and he emailed me last week to ask if I would pay him a 5% commission if he found a buyer that would pay $300,000 for this lot. I emailed him back agreeing to his proposal. The next day this real estate broker emailed me a cash offer from a buyer for $300,000, with $25,000 earnest money. In the offer the…


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…


Agent Cannot Disclose Information Learned During Representation

By Christopher Combs | February 1, 2019

Question: Our brokerage firm had a six-month listing on a five-acre mini-ranch near Wickenburg.  Although we were in escrow three times in this six months, all three buyers canceled because of a potability problem with the water from the well.  The listing has expired, but a friend that I have known since high school contacted me to discuss making an offer.  I don’t want to represent my friend in making an offer, but can I at least tell my friend about the potability problem with the water? Answer: Probably not.  After the term of a listing agreement expires, the agency relationship…