The Arizona real estate market may be booming, but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore the potential of legal disputes. Failing to do so could result in costly litigation or, even worse, loss of property rights entirely. To avoid legal disputes when buying or selling residential real estate in Arizona, keep these tips in mind at all times.
1. Buy Property From a Reputable Source
In today’s market, where many people are looking to sell their property quickly, it is important to do your due diligence in researching the property before you buy. If possible buy from someone you know, or were referred to. Not only is it safer, but you’ll get a better understanding of why the seller is selling their property. If the seller lived in their house for many years and had great experiences in that neighborhood, it may give you more confidence that it will be a safe place to live as well. If the seller has never been able to sell their home or had problems during previous transactions, these things could cause concern. This is just one small example of what type of questions you should ask an agent before entering any real estate transaction.
If you don’t know anyone in real estate, consider using a site like Trulia or Zillow to search for information on houses that interest you. Make sure you read up on recent sales, housing conditions, and the value of properties in those areas before putting in an offer. While these sites may not be perfect, they can help you narrow down your choices based on variables that matter most to you. Once you’ve found a property you’re interested in, reach out to a trusted real estate agent who will take time to get acquainted with both you and the property before you make any offers or decisions about buying or selling property. You want someone who will stick by your side during what could be stressful times, so make sure they are reputable and not shady before handing over money or contracts.
2. Be Represented By a Trusted Arizona Real Estate Agent
It’s your job as a seller or buyer to find an agent who you trust and can make sure everything goes smoothly. Agents are trained professionals familiar with all of the ins and outs of buying or selling a home. Trustworthy agents will walk you through every step of an agreement, whether for your sale or purchase, so there are no surprises during escrow. Furthermore, dedicated agents have in-depth knowledge of current laws that may affect you when selling or buying property and consider any particular circumstances you may have while looking at homes.
Remember, buying or selling property can be stressful. Many things could go wrong, and you’ll want someone with extensive knowledge on your side who can ensure everything goes smoothly. If you find an agent you trust, they will work with you every step of the way. Furthermore, they will take use their years of experience in real estate law to help ensure that your purchase or sale goes as smoothly as possible.
3. Purchase Title Insurance
Title insurance is a policy that protects you from legal challenges against your title. It’s important to have title insurance because it protects you even if you don’t know about a problem. With many homeowners still reeling from Arizona real estate foreclosures, getting an experienced eye on your title can help keep them out of financial trouble in the future. When looking for a title company, look for someone who has experience with their state’s current laws and policies. Some other things that can help avoid Arizona real estate legal disputes: setting up clear guidelines and making sure someone else has easy access to documentation.
When you purchase a property, your title insurance company will require you to provide information about its past ownership. The company reviews past owners and liens or other encumbrances on your property, such as easements, trust deeds, or unpaid taxes. You’ll also need to provide detailed legal descriptions of each lot in a subdivided parcel and document any environmental hazards that might exist on your property. If you decide to sell the property later, these documents can help facilitate a smooth sale when transferred into your buyers’ title insurance policy.
4. Find a Quality Home Inspector
According to a recent survey, 25% of buyers said they walked away from a deal because of an unfavorable inspection. But what’s surprising is that only 7% said they received a clean bill of health at their home inspection. What does that tell you? A professional home inspector isn’t necessarily required for everyone, but it can be very helpful if your property is old and has been around for decades. If you have doubts about your home’s structural integrity or want someone qualified to look out for your family and pets, then hiring a home inspector might be in your best interest.
On average, inspectors charge a couple of hundred dollars for their services. Before making your final decision on who will inspect your house, talk with several businesses so you know exactly what they’ll be reviewing and how thorough they can be in their work. Some options are better than others, depending on your budget and timeline. It’s also important to ask about certifications and licensure when looking for a home inspector. This ensures that whoever is inspecting your property has gone through proper training and is familiar with any local codes or regulations in your area.
5. Research Arizona Homeowner’s Association Records
If you’re looking to buy or sell property, whether it’s a house or condominium, residential real estate records are an essential part of your due diligence. One such document is a homeowners association (HOA) record packet, which can tell you all sorts of things about your prospective property including CC&Rs and other rules and regulations of the particular HOA. There are many kinds of HOAs, including condo associations and planned communities. Some are required by state law; others operate independently. All have certain documents that must be filed with county land records offices for any real estate transaction involving property governed by those documents to be recorded properly. In short, HOA documents protect everyone involved in a real estate deal—buyers and sellers alike—from having their interests mismanaged or neglected.
6. Contact an Arizona Real Estate Lawyer
If you plan on buying or selling real estate in Arizona, having a legal professional handle your real estate transaction can save you time, energy, and money in the long run. There are several issues that you’ll want a skilled legal professional by your side for, such as if you’re buying a home and get into a dispute with your seller over terms of sale or closing dates, your lawyer can write up an agreement that protects both parties. If you run into disputes with people already living in your future property—or their landlord—your lawyer can help resolve those problems.
Stephen J. Anthony is a trusted Arizona attorney who is experienced in matters regarding:
- Real estate failure to disclose matters
- Breach of contract
- Real estate title issues
- Easement issues
Anthony Law is a trusted Arizona law firm that will work with you to achieve a smooth and dispute-free real estate transaction. Contact us by calling (602) 362-2396 to schedule a consultation at our Scottsdale office.