ARTICLES & NEWS

REAL ESTATE AGENCY LAW ARTICLES

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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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…

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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.…

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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…

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