cattle ranch

Purchasing a Home with a Ground Lease

By Christopher Combs | February 21, 2021

Question: We are buying a retirement home in an east Scottsdale community. After we received the title report, we were shocked to learn that the “owner” of our retirement home was actually a tenant under a 99-year ground lease for all of the homes in the community. Our real estate agent said that we are getting a reduced price for our retirement home because of the ground lease, and that there are only 60 years remaining on the ground lease. We know that a reduced price is an advantage of the ground lease. Is only 60 years remaining on the…

Property fence

Encroachment On Neighbor’s Land

By Christopher Combs | January 17, 2021

Question: We have owned a home in Cave Creek since 2014. The owner of the lot to the west is building a home on his lot. This owner hired a surveyor, and the survey showed that our west wall is not on the boundary line, but is located three feet away from the boundary line on our neighbor’s side. We do not want to pay for the cost to move our west wall to the boundary line, and we have agreed to sign a quit claim deed to our neighbor for this three-foot strip of land. We now believe that…

Pool Deck

CC&Rs Must Be Followed Regarding Neighbor’s Pool Deck

By Christopher Combs | January 3, 2021

Question: We have owned a home in Chandler for over eight years. Our neighbor recently built a large wooden pool deck next to his swimming pool only five feet from our property line. We were in Colorado for most of the summer while this pool deck was being built. Our neighbors and their guests can now stand on this pool deck and look directly into our backyard. We never had any notice from the HOA or from the neighbor about the construction of this pool deck. Although we recently planted large ficus trees on our property line, this pool deck…

Deed to a House

Error in Legal Description Requires Re-Recording of Deed

By Christopher Combs | December 13, 2020

Question: The plat map for our Apache Junction subdivision shows that our home is on Lot 6. In applying for a permit to build a swimming pool six years after we purchased our home, we learned that the legal description on our deed says that our home is on Lot 16. Our seller was an elderly widow, and we think that she recently passed away. Our real estate agent says “no worries,” about the Lot 16 mistake, and that all we have to do now is correct Lot 16 to Lot 6 on our deed, initial the correction, and record…

Internet purchase

Internet Purchase Forms Should Not Be Used

By Christopher Combs | September 27, 2020

Question: We live near Lake Pleasant. Our next-door neighbor is retiring, and he and his wife are moving back to California. They want to sell us their home without paying a commission to a real estate broker. Our plan is to buy their home as an investment property for short-term rentals because we are near several spring training baseball fields. Our next-door neighbor has filled out a purchase contract that he located on the internet. Is it ok to use this purchase contract? Answer: No. You should hire a local Realtor for a minimal commission who will use the Arizona…

homebuild and blueprint

Home Builders Require Mediation And Arbitration

By Christopher Combs | August 2, 2020

Question: We signed the builder’s purchase contract to buy a new home in the San Tan Valley. The builder’s sales agent made numerous false statements, especially in regard to the upgrades that were available in the home. The “bottom line” is that we canceled the purchase contract and demanded our $20,000 earnest money back. The builder refuses to give the $20,000 earnest money back to us. In addition, the builder demands reimbursement for the $28,000 cost of upgrades that the builder says are worthless to any new buyer of the home. Under the builder’s purchase contract we are required to…

hillside view

Deed Restriction to Protect Hillside View

By Christopher Combs | May 10, 2020

Question: Our Estrella Mountain home was one of the first homes sold in our development. The lot behind us has still not sold. If a home is built on this lot, our beautiful hillside view will be spoiled.  Our thought is that we would contact the developer for an agreement to limit to one-story any home built on this lot. Can we pay the developer some amount of money to limit this lot to one-story homes? How long could the time period be? Answer: You could pay the developer for a recorded deed restriction to get a view easement over…

neighborhood plans

Amendment of CC&Rs to Prohibit Short-Term Rentals

By Christopher Combs | April 12, 2020

Question: In last week’s column you said that 51% of the neighbors in a Phoenix neighborhood could not agree to prohibit short-term rentals in their neighborhood. This Phoenix neighborhood had no CC&Rs. Therefore, many readers of your column might think that their Phoenix neighborhood cannot prohibit short-term rentals. In fact, most Phoenix neighborhoods have CC&Rs which can be amended by the homeowners to prohibit short-term rentals. The voting requirement to amend the CC&Rs can be as low as 51% of the homeowners. Our Phoenix neighborhood has CC&Rs that allow amendments by 51% of the homeowners, and we recently amended our…