Tip 7 – Verify Everything –
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, most importantly, to ensure a rewarding home ownership experience.
Verify all information during your 10 Day Inspection Period.
The buyer needs to verify all 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. In reality it is more of a sales document, emphasizing the desirable features of the property, rather than being full disclosure. The full disclosure comes from the seller in the form of the Seller Property Disclosure Statement (SPDS) and delivered to the buyer within the first 5 days of contract acceptance. Real estate agents are required to disclose all known material information.
I attach the seller's SPDS to my listings, but this is not a standard business practice required by law or universally practiced by the majority of listing agents. Sometimes real estate agents insert in their MLS listing information included in other MLS listings made by agents who regularly sell in the same community without verification, or information told to the agent by the seller that was misinterpreted or the agent just may not be aware of all the facts.
Examples of where MLS Listing errors could exist are names of the local neighborhood schools, "seller stated" size of the home, remodel information, HOA fees and charges. We have a new HOA DIsclosure form the seller is supposed to complete and their agent is supposed to attach to the listing when the listing goes live. Look for this form in the Documents tab. If it is there, it is probably accurate. If it is not there, HOA info needs to be verified.
Common Misunderstanding about what is included in the sale
Many buyers, sellers and even some real estate agents can 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.
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: 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.
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 5 days of purchase contract execution, the Seller Property Disclosure Statement and CLUE Report (Previous 5 year Insurance Claims History). 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 in the SPDS, CLUE or based upon your own investigations that you want to know more about.
Meet the Neighbors
Take the initiative to meet the neighbors, who will probably tell you things they know about the sellers and the home, you would not have known to inquire about. Was the property 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 Exclusions of Home Warranty Policy Coverage
If there could be a question of Pre-Existing Home Warranty coverage exclusions,
- do not expect the home warranty company to fix anything you know to be "ready to fail",
- consider whether you are willing to lose the home should the seller refuse to repair the working item or
- if you are willing to make the repair, should it be 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 year of buyer coverage. By doing so, the chances of warranty repair denial, based upon a pre-existing condition, is dramatically reduced.
WHO'S LOOKING OUT FOR YOU?
Call, Text or Email me with your questions about the home buying process. I have many 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.
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, my blog will eventually include all home buyer essential tips.
Author: Sam Elam, Arizona Associate Broker, CRS, GRI, e-PRO, SFR
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Arizona Properties
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.