ARTICLES & NEWS

REAL ESTATE PLANNING ARTICLES

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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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Buyer May Want To Waive Home Inspection

By Christopher Combs | March 13, 2022

Question: In a recent column you said that, if the seller was unhappy with the sale price of the home and as a result would not allow a home inspection by the buyer, the buyer could waive the home inspection. In other words, you said that the buyer should “suck it up” because the seller wanted more money! You obviously do not understand the terms of the AAR Purchase Contract. First, the seller has signed the AAR Purchase Contract, and therefore has agreed to all terms and conditions, including a home inspection by the buyer. Second, lines 302-303 of the…

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What Provisions To Review In Commercial Lease

By Christopher Combs | March 6, 2022

Question: My son wants to open an 1,100 square foot frozen yogurt shop in a large Mesa shopping center. The shopping center leasing agent gave my son a 32-page lease with 7 exhibits for my son to review. My son can’t afford a lawyer to spend hours reviewing this 32-page lease and seven exhibits. Therefore, I will try to help him because I am a licensed real estate agent, but I sell homes and know very little about retail leases used by shopping centers. Any suggestions? Answer: When we review a retail, industrial, office, or any other commercial lease for…

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