Without A Revocable Trust, A Probate Will Be Necessary

By Christopher Combs | September 11, 2022

Question: My wife and I have lived in California our entire lives. My wife recently passed away. Although I want to keep our home in California, I would like to buy a second home in North Phoenix. Should I buy the home in North Phoenix with some type of trust? Answer: Probably. You should contact an attorney who specializes in Trusts and Estates. In general, if an individual owns a home or other real property in two or more states, a revocable living trust should be considered. The reason is that, if your home or other real property in two…


Short-Term Rentals and the Arizona Supreme Court

By Christopher Combs | August 12, 2022

Question: Although your Q&A column has said several times in the last few years that CC&Rs can be amended by an HOA community to prohibit short-term rentals, hasn’t the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that CC&Rs cannot be amended by an HOA community to prohibit short-term rentals? In other words, can or cannot CC&Rs be amended by an HOA community to prohibit short-term rentals? Answer:  An HOA community can amend CC&Rs to prohibit short-term rentals. Any amended CC&R to prohibit short-term rentals will definitely apply to future buyers of a home in that HOA community. The question is whether or not…


Who Gets the Condo, the Husband or the Son?

By Christopher Combs | August 7, 2022

Question: In the winter months my husband and I live in our Scottsdale condominium. Our deed says “community property with right of survivorship.”  I have a son from my first marriage who is attending Arizona State University, and I want my son to have my interest in the Scottsdale condominium after I die. My will and my revocable living trust say that my son is my only beneficiary. When I die will my son inherit my interest in the Scottsdale condominium? My husband does not like my son so I cannot even discuss this issue with him. Answer:  No. If…


Short-Term Rentals Can Adversely Affect Communities

By Christopher Combs | June 19, 2022

Question: Last week you discussed the comments of a happy owner of a short-term rental home in Peoria that was rented during the six weeks of the baseball spring training season. We are from South Dakota and are not familiar with short-term rentals. Why is there such a controversy about short-term rentals in Arizona? Answer: Prefatory comment: I am reminded of the great WWF wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper, dressed in his famous kilt, yelling back at an angry, booing crowd, and saying, “Just when you think you know all the answers, I change the questions!” RIP Roddy. Arizona was the…


History of Lead-Based Paint Must Be Disclosed

By Christopher Combs | June 5, 2022

Question: We are both retired and buying a home in south Scottsdale. The home was built in the 1960’s. We recently received from our real estate agent a pamphlet on Protecting Your Family From Lead-Based Paint and other information about lead-based paint (“LBP”). Now that we have this information on LBP, we have no idea what to do. Even our real estate agent didn’t know. He suggested to put the LBP information with our escrow file, which already has a summary of our CC&Rs, and some warranty documents. Is there something that we should do now that we have this…


Is A Radon Gas Inspection Really Necessary?

By Christopher Combs | May 29, 2022

Question: We are buying a home in north Scottsdale and are in the 10-day inspection period. Our real estate agent is very detail-oriented. She has recommended a standard home inspection, a roof inspection, and a radon gas inspection. We have owned three homes in Nebraska, and have never heard of a radon gas inspection. Should we spend the money for a radon gas inspection? Answer: Yes. Radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after tobacco smoking, in the United States. Radon gas is generally located in rocky, mountainous terrain. In any event, the cost of a radon…


A New House. Some Old Debt. What Takes Priority?

By Christopher Combs | May 8, 2022

Question: We want to buy a Phoenix home for $800,000 with a $640,000 mortgage loan. During the Covid catastrophe two years ago, however, our art framing business was ruined. The result is that two credit card companies now have judgments against us for more than $50,000. Our mortgage broker told us that we should still be able to qualify for the $640,000 mortgage loan without paying off the two credit card judgments because an Arizona statute (A.R.S. §33-705) says that the $640,000 mortgage loan will have priority over the two earlier $50,000 credit card judgments. The title company, however, is…


Using Letters Of Intent In Real Estate Transactions

By Christopher Combs | April 17, 2022

Question: We want to rent a 7,000-square-foot home in Paradise Valley for two years for $12,000 a month. The owners live in Boston, and their attorney has drafted a letter of intent (“LOI”), which has been signed by the owners and forwarded to our rental agent for us to sign. Our rental agent says that the LOI is not binding on us, but simply states the basic terms of the two-year lease, e.g., 7,000-square-foot home, $12,000 monthly rent, and that the formal lease will be on the Arizona Association of Realtors (“AAR”) form lease. We have rented homes before, but…