Arizona home buyers looking to buy homes for sale in Chandler, Mesa or Gilbert AZ want to buy with peace of mind!This series of essential tips for Arizona Home Buyers are designed to help you through the home buying process – a road map to follow while you are looking to buy one of the homes for sale in Arizona – to ensure a smooth transaction and a rewarding home ownership experience.

The buyer needs to verify all material information about the home is true and accurate. The public may expect the MLS listing to be an accurate representation of the facts about the house. But in reality, it is more of a sales document, emphasizing the desirable features of the property, rather than being a factual disclosure. Our AZ purchase contract requires the seller provide to the buyer a full disclosure of the condition of the home, known as the Seller Property Disclosure Statement (SPDS) within the first 3 days AFTER contract acceptance. Real estate agents are also required to disclose all MATERIAL FACTS known to them that could affect the value of the home. But they haven't lived in the home and may not live in the neighborhood.

I feel strongly that the buyer should know as much as possible about a home before making an offer and I attach my seller's SPDS (Seller Property Disclosure Statement) to my MLS listings so it is available online to the buyer. This is not a standard business practice required by law or universally practiced by the majority of listing agents. Therefore, I often request the listing agent provide my buyer a copy of their seller’s SPDS before my buyers make an offer to purchase a home, when available.

Sometimes real estate agents insert in their MLS listings information previously appearing in other MLS listings made by knowledgeable agents who regularly sell in the same community, or provide unverified information from the seller that the agent could have been misunderstood or the listing agent gives a best effort to be complete and factual, but may not be aware of all the facts. They may not be intentionally misrepresenting the facts, but only the buyer knows what is important to them and the buyer must verify all information deemed important and material.

Examples of where MLS Listing errors could exist are: names of local neighborhood schools, Seller-stated size of the home, remodel information, Homeowners Association (HOA) fees and charges. Homeowners Association Disclosure form, completed by the seller, is expected to be complete and attached to the listing when the listing goes live. This form should be attached to the listing in the Documents tab. While it should be complete and accurate, call the HOA to verify the information is correct.

During escrow, the buyer will be provided a great deal of information provided by the HOA itemized on page 2 of the Homeowner's Association Disclosure including fees, CC&Rs, pending litigation or increase in fees, etc. READ IT!

Common Misunderstanding about what is included in the sale

Many buyers, sellers and even some real estate agents misinterpret what is a fixture that is permanently attached to the home and, therefore, included in the sale versus personal property the seller is REQUIRED to remove at close of escrow, unless the buyer agrees to let the seller leave personal property inside the home for the buyer.

One of the more common problems during a real estate transaction is defining what remains in the home and what does not such as drapes, chandeliers and ceiling fans. For example, a clothes washer, clothes dryer, and refrigerator are personal property. These are typically free-standing and can be easily disconnected and removed with the rest of the seller belongings. Even a "built-in" Sub Zero refrigerator is on rollers and can be easily disconnected. Do not assume these are included. The buyer must specify in the purchase contract the personal items they want to convey. If the buyer does not specify what is included in the sale and to be left in the home, the seller is REQUIRED to remove them. This is the case even if the MLS listing says these items are included in the sale. The MLS listing is NOT PART OF THE PURCHASE CONTRACT. If you want items offered by the seller, a separate contract addendum must list all personal items to convey to buyer at close of escrow. If you don't ask or confirm an assumption, then you don't care about what is in the home.

Read the boilerplate description of what is considered a fixture that remains in the home and transferred to the buyer at time of sale. It is always best to be specific and expand the list. List fan remotes, fireplace remote electric starters, main gate key fobs, community pool gate key, magnetic cards, pool tools, garage door remote controllers (2 or more), potted plants in front or around the patio or pool, etc. Are the individual hanging mirrors in the bathrooms hanging on a hook? If they are, they may be gone when the buyer comes to the house to do their final buyer walkthrough. Assume nothing. It could be an innocent oversight on the part of the seller and a bad case of buyer assumption without confirming what the seller is thinking.

Seller Property Disclosure Statement (SPDS) and CLUE Report

The seller is required to provide the buyer, within the first 3 days of purchase contract execution, the Seller Property Disclosure Statement and CLUE Report (Previous 5-year Insurance Claims History) within the first 3 days of purchase contract execution. Review both documents carefully and let the information guide you to discover more about any concerns. This information is normally provided to the buyer well before the home inspection occurs. Have your home inspector pay close attention to any items brought to your attention within the SPDS, CLUE or based upon your own investigations that you want to know more about.

Meet the Neighbors - Before You Buy

Take the initiative to meet the neighbors and see if you want to live next door. They may tell you things they know about the sellers and the home, you would not have known to inquire about.

Did the listing say the property was renovated? Check with the city building department about the job and ask if building permits would have been required and if a copy is on file. Let your inspector know to check out what you learned.

Verify Utility Charges

Too much power being used because the HVAC is not functioning well or high water usage that could be caused by water leakage. Discuss your findings with your home inspector.

Verify Pre-Existing Conditions Exclusions of Home Warranty Policy Coverage

  • do NOT expect the home warranty company to fix anything you know to be "ready to fail", 
  • consider your willingness to lose the home should the seller refuse to make repairs or
  • your willingness to make repairs, when necessary, after you own the home.

I provide Seller Home Warranty Coverage during the listing period that can be passed to the buyer for a full first year of buyer coverage. By doing so, the chances of warranty repair denial, based upon a pre-existing condition, is dramatically reduced for the buyer.


Call, Text or Contact Sam with your questions about the home buying process. I have 25+ years of Buyer Broker experience to ensure existing problems are corrected by the Seller during escrow and do not become your problem to repair after close of escrow OR you are aware of and accept the home with unresolved issues to be corrected by you after close of escrow.

STAYED TUNED - Anything in big doses is hard to digest. Instead of blasting you with all home buyer tips, you are going to receive my recommendations in small bites…

So this is the seventh installment. If you are buying an Arizona home now and want the complete series of tips at once, email me and it will be sent on its way to you. Otherwise, please read my blog with all my home buyer essential tips. Return to Buyer Tip 6 or continue on to Buyer Tip 8.

Sam Elam, Associate Broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServicesSam Elam

Arizona Associate Broker, CRS, GRI, e-PRO, SFR
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Arizona Properties

Sam has 25+ years of full-time real estate experience assisting buyers and sellers transact homes for sale in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe AZ, and Phoenix investment property.

Contact Sam to discuss your Arizona home purchase plans and schedule an appointment to see how he can help make your plans become a reality.