Buying a home in Arizona is easier than it is in other states, but it’s still a complicated process. Fortunately, you can set us on auto-pilot, with us handling most of the details, so you may just want to fill out our detailed questionnaire to find your ideal new home. While you get yourself pre-qualified for a mortgage, we’ll start searching for homes on the market that meet your needs, and, just like that, we’re off on the Phoenix/Scottsdale house-hunting adventure.
But buying a house is a big step — whether it’s your first house or your tenth — so we’re beyond delighted to share with you everything we know about the process.
Steps in the buying process…
Buying a home in Arizona is an intricate procedure. A home can close — meaning all the steps from acceptance of the contract to recordation of title to the new owner — in as few as four days, but it’s more common for closing to take three weeks, a month, or longer. Through every step in this entire process, we will be present, representing your interests. These are the major milestones in the transaction.
- Lender pre-qualification. Until you are pre-qualified for the loan you will need, no seller will take you seriously. Generally pre-qualification is a very quick process.
- Home search. Working with the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (MLS), we will search for homes that meet your needs. We’ll tour them, one by one, looking for the one that feels like home. This can take anywhere from three hours to three months, depending on your requirements.
- Making the offer. Once we’ve found the perfect home, we’ll fill out the nine-page Arizona Association of Realtors Residential Purchase Contract, which serves as both the offer to purchase the home and defines the terms and conditions of the sale, once it is accepted.
- Contract acceptance. Perhaps after some haggling by counter-offer, the contract is accepted. The transaction goes into the escrow process with the title company, where all the documents necessary to effect the sale will be accumulated.
- Inspection period. Acceptance of the contract initiates the inspection period, the time available to you to have professional inspectors in to evaluate the home. Arizona real estate law is very well balanced between the seller and the buyer, and the inspection period is your opportunity to make sure that you are getting full value for your money. Generally, inspections will be done by a generalist home inspector and by a wood inspector — who is looking for wood-destroying insects and evidence of rot — but there is no limit to the kind and quantity of inspections you can have done. For any defect turned up in this process, you can choose to accept it as is, request that the seller repair it, or you can exit the contract unilaterally, without consequence. This is an extraordinary level of buyer protection.
- Repair period. Should you request repairs from the seller, they will be effected at the end of the inspection period.
- Final walkthrough. This is your opportunity to follow up on the seller’s repairs and to make sure the home is in the same condition as when the contract was accepted.
- Recordation of title. Throughout this two to six week span of time, many other documents have been prepared and placed in escrow. You qualified for your loan and signed a stack of loan documents. The title company researched the history of the property and helped to clear any lingering defects on the seller’s title. The title company also prepared title insurance policies for you and for your lender, warranting that your title to the property will be free and clear of defects. When all of these documents are finalized, the title company will record the change of title with the county recorder. This recordation of title is the actual legal transfer of ownership in Arizona. No lawyer — unless you want one. No closing conference. No last-minute disputes.
In fact, the underlying process is a good deal more complicated than this list of steps. This is why you depend on us, and why we depend on our valued partners — Brady Lending Group, World Wide Credit Corporation, Security Mortgage Corp., North American Title Company, ServiceOne Home Warranty, Premier Inspectors of America and Pest Control Solutions. Working together, each of us doing what we do best, we take an intricate procedure — fraught with legal peril — and make it smooth and sleek and elegant.
Relocating to the Phoenix area?
We do relocation better than anyone. Because we’re so internet savvy, we can save you thousands of dollars in airfare when you relocate to the Phoenix area. Using the telephone, the fax machine and by making custom web pages, we can handle most of your transaction by ‘remote control’.
It’s not a TV infomercial, it’s a fact of life in Arizona real estate. If you have the funds available, you should make a down payment — at least enough to avoid paying mortgage insurance premiums. But if you’re short on cash, or if your funds are not liquid, there are loan programs that may allow you to take possession of a home for virtually no out-of-pocket costs. Everyone’s circumstances are different, but we recently sold a home where the buyer put down $500 in earnest money, the seller paid all of the closing costs, and the buyer received $120 cash back at closing. The buyer’s total cost for the home was $380. Your mileage may vary, but, if you’re still renting: Why?
How to go about losing the home of your dreams…
Not every contract is accepted. Sometimes the asking price is too high and the seller is unwilling to come down. Sometimes the other terms and conditions present insuperable barriers. But sometimes buyers get aggressive, trying to get a house for less than it’s really worth, and they end up losing their dream home. We’ll work hard to make sure that you pay no more than you should, but the time-on-market for well-kept, well-priced Arizona homes can be mere days. Working from the sales histories for comparable homes, we can tell you what the house you want should sell for. When we find your dream home, the best advice we can give you is to make sure that your first offer is your best offer.
A home warranty keeps your dream home from turning into a nightmare…
With every resale home we list or sell, we provide a free one-year home warranty. It’s our way of saying thanks to you for trusting us with your business. But it’s also a great way to introduce you to the value and benefit of home warranty plans. Even factory-new items can break in a home, but it is certain that, through time, wear and tear will cause components in your home to fail. Some repairs are cheap and easy — ninety-five cents at the hardware store and two minutes with a screwdriver. But when costly repairs are needed, with a home warranty your liability is limited to the amount of the deductible — usually less than fifty dollars. Even with home inspections and seller repairs, things can break. We provide a free home warranty so that you can buy your home in confidence.
There are two documents, at a minimum, that you should read before we go out looking at houses. Both require the Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you’ll need to download and install (by following the instructions from the link above) if you don’t already have it.
The first is the Arizona Association of Realtors Home Buyer’s Advisory, which explores the process of buying a home in Arizona in depth.
The second is the Arizona Association of Realtors Residential Purchase Contract, a facsimile of the actual contract we will prepare when we find the house of your dreams. In fact, we’ll be filling out a dizzying array of other documents, as well, but an early familiarity with the nine-page purchase contract will make it seem less frightful later.
Ready to get started right now?
You can make an appointment to meet in your home or our offices. Or you can request a Comparative Market Analysis of your home’s value. You can fill out our detailed questionnaire to find your ideal new home. Or you can just pick up the phone and dial 602-740-7531. (Outside of Arizona? Dial 1-800-508-5430.) Either way, we’re at your command, devoutly loyal, smart, frisky and eager to please…
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