Builders Of New Homes Require Mediation And Arbitration Of Disputes With Home Buyer

By Christopher Combs | August 15, 2021

Question: We signed the builder’s purchase contract to buy a new home in 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 mediate…


Recent Power Of Attorney May Not Revoke Earlier One

By Christopher Combs | August 8, 2021

Question: Our mother is in her 80s, and we recently moved her from her Sun City home to an assisted living facility. My younger brother has always been a problem for the family, and for the last three years he has lived with our mother. I have a power of attorney from our mother that she signed in 2016. We are in escrow now to sell her Sun City home under our 2016 power of attorney. At a recent family meeting to agree on what to do with the proceeds of the sale of our mother’s home, my younger brother…


Court Can Force Property Seller To Sign Deed

By Christopher Combs | August 1, 2021

Question: Last month we signed a contract to buy a Mesa home. Even in the last 30 days, however, prices in Mesa and other parts of the southeast Valley have skyrocketed. Everything is ready for the closing of this Mesa home, but the seller refuses to go to the title company to sign the deed to us. We have to move out of our apartment in less than two weeks. Is there anything that we can do to force the seller to sign the deed to us, and close escrow on our home, before we have to move out of…


Judgment Lien Against Principal Residence Prohibited

By Christopher Combs | July 25, 2021

Question: We are in escrow to sell our Gilbert home. When our daughter went to UCLA four years ago, we guaranteed payment of her credit card. Although our daughter is doing fine now, she dropped out of UCLA and never paid the balance on her credit card. We were sued as the guarantors of her credit card, and we now have a $30,000 credit card judgment against us. The title company says that this $30,000 credit card judgment, unless we pay it off, prevents us from selling our Gilbert home because both the buyer and the buyer’s lender need a…


Landlord’s Listing Broker Must Have Access To Leased Property

By Christopher Combs | May 2, 2021

Question: I am renting a luxury condominium in Central Phoenix. The lease expires in three months. The owner’s listing agent now wants to show my luxury condominium to potential buyers. I have valuable leather couches, art work, and clothing in the home. Do I have to let the owner’s listing agent have access to my home? If so, how often are potential buyers allowed access to my home? Answer: In a residential lease, the landlord is entitled to reasonable access to the home. This reasonable access requires at least two days’ notice, and entry three to five times a week…


Recourse For Spouse’s Misuse Of Community Funds

By Christopher Combs | April 25, 2021

Question: After seventeen years my husband and I have been having serious marital problems. When I was back in Minnesota visiting my parents recently, my husband signed a contract to purchase a condominium in Mesa in his name only. The $10,000 earnest money was “hard” or nonrefundable after the 10-day inspection period. My husband couldn’t get a mortgage loan in his name only, however, so the purchase contract was canceled. The seller now refuses to refund the $10,000 “hard” earnest money. We are still trying to save our marriage, and my husband has apologized to me. Have we lost the…


No Title Insurance Coverage Generally If Home Is In Floodplain

By Christopher Combs | April 18, 2021

Question: We purchased a home on a five-acre lot near Payson. Two months after we moved into the home there was an overflow of the nearby creek which flooded our entire backyard. Apparently 25% of our five-acre lot is in the Town of Payson’s flood plain. We immediately reviewed our title insurance policy to see if there was flood coverage, or if there was an exception to title insurance for flooding. There was no reference in our title insurance policy relating to coverage for flooding, one way or the other. The seller of the home was an elderly lady who…


What To Disclose When Selling A Home

By Christopher Combs | April 11, 2021

Question: We own a home on the side of Camelback Mountain in Paradise Valley. If there are heavy rains, there will occasionally be minor rockslides into our swimming pool in the backyard. We are now selling our home. Do we have to disclose these occasional minor rock slides? Answer: Probably. In determining what a seller should disclose to a buyer, two rules should be followed: 1. If it is material it must be disclosed; if it is not material, why not disclose it? 2. If you were the buyer, would you want to know? If these two rules are followed,…