Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Arizona real estate attorney?

An Arizona real estate attorney is a licensed professional who is trained in Arizona real estate law and an expert in this practice area. Your attorney’s job is to help you avoid unforeseen problems by anticipating potential issues which may come up during your Arizona real estate transaction. Your counsel is there to be your advocate and ensure your interest are protected at every phase. This individual will review and draft the necessary legal documents, negotiate different terms on your behalf, and manage any problems which may arise. If necessary, your Arizona real estate attorney will represent you in court proceedings. Armed with a detailed understanding of Arizona law, your Arizona real estate attorney will be your voice and protector through your every step of your real estate transaction.

Do I need an attorney to review my purchase contract if I have a realtor?

It is legal for an Arizona realtor to draft a real estate purchase contract. Most realtors use a general form approved by the Arizona Association of Realtors. However, in many cases, this form will not reflect the unique circumstances of the parties or property involved in the transaction. The form will also state that the realtor is not legally responsible or liable if there is a problem down the road. It is strongly recommended that you have a lawyer review any Arizona real estate contract to ensure that your interests are protected and that the right language is present in your agreement. Without counsel, you run the risk of entering into a legally binding contract without legal advocacy and protection.

What type of real estate do you handle?

Our office represents clients in residential, commercial, and land transactions. We represent buyers and sellers as well as landlords and tenants. In the event your case is not appropriate for our practice, we will refer you to the right resource.

How much do you charge?

Every dispute is different, and therefore, attorney’s fees will vary according to the client’s circumstances. The best way to determine your anticipated legal fees is to come in for a consultation so that we can review your situation, give you a realistic idea of what future costs to expect, including a payment plan if needed. Contact our office form more information.

What is the difference between the lien and the debt?

If you get a loan when you purchase property, you will sign a Promissory Note and a Deed of Trust. The Note, which is the debt, is the contract between you and your lender that you agree to repay the money they loaned you to buy the property. The Deed of Trust, which is the lien, is a document that is recorded and gives notice that the property was put up as collateral for the loan.

The purpose of the Deed of Trust is to notify future buyers that there is money owed and they cannot get clear title until it is paid back. Once the loan is paid in full, the Deed of Trust is released. Note that if the debt is discharged in bankruptcy, the lien is still in place and you cannot sell the property until the lender agrees to release the lien.

What if my lender does not get my loan documents to title in time for closing?

Standard residential purchase contracts allow for a Cure Period which begins when a Cure Notice is sent. If your agreement has this term, you are permitted three days to cure any default, which would include your loan documents. The Cure Period applies to the buyer and seller. If there are other allegations of default, the three day period applies to those as well.

Can I use the same realtor as the seller or should I get my own?

Although it is legal to use the same realtor as the seller, it is strongly discouraged. This is called a dual agency relationship, and when the same realtor represents both buyer and seller, there is a conflict of interest. As the buyer, you can be at a significant disadvantage in this situation as the realtor is not obligated to disclose critical information to you, If you had your own realtor, you would be entitled to receive a full disclosure regarding the property.  It does not cost any more money to be represented by your own realtor since the seller pays the commission almost all of the time.

What is a beneficiary deed?

If you own real estate and you want to leave it to someone when you die, one way to accomplish this is by executing a Beneficiary Deed. This is a deed that is signed and recorded while you are alive but does not become legally effective until your death.

My home foreclosed and my lender is suing me. What should I do?

If you are served with a lender lawsuit, you need to consult with an Arizona real estate attorney right away. You and your counsel can evaluate the allegations together and determine your next steps. The worst decision you can make is to do nothing. By failing to act, you could end up waiving important defenses and not being able to offer a rebuttal.

What is a short sale?

A short sale is the sale of your home for less than the sum of the mortgage balance and closing costs. Although a lender may permit a short sale, you should be aware that there may be tax consequences and this transaction can impact your credit.

I sold my home in a short sale, and my lender has reported it as a foreclosure to the credit bureaus. Is there anything I can do?

Yes, you can dispute the incorrect information by filing a dispute with the credit bureaus. The credit bureaus will contact your lender to get the correct information. You will need to send proof of the short sale, but the approval letter and HUD 1 settlement statement from the title company should be sufficient.

I own my home free and clear. Can I sell it and carry the mortgage?

Yes, as long as you comply with the Dodd-Frank law. This is a federal law that puts certain limitations on the type of loan you can carry and how many loans you can carry in a specific period of time. The law makes a distinction between a home owned personally and one titled in an LLC, so be sure to know the rules before you enter into this type of transaction.

My spouse was a real estate investor and he died suddenly. I don't know what to do.

The best course of action is to contact an Arizona real estate attorney who can assist you in assessing your circumstances.   Several pieces of information must be gathered regarding any existing mortgages, leases, or other property ownership and interests. Once you have this information, your attorney can help you understand your situation and options.

My husband got the house in our divorce settlement. Does that mean I am free of that debt?

Not necessarily. If your name is on the mortgage, you are equally responsible for the payments. If he stops paying, the lender will contact you to make the payments and your credit will be damaged. However, there are steps you can take, which will protect you from this occurring.