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In almost all traditional sales, the seller is required by Arizona law to provide a Seller Property Disclosure Statement (SPDS) to the buyer within first 3 days after a purchase offer had been accepted by the seller and buyer within the 10 day inspection period. Buyers who purchase a bank foreclosure will not receive a SPDS. Banks are exempt from having to provide the buyer with a SPDS. Some Short Sale sellers and Investors think they are exempt from providing a SPDS. They are not!
The SPDS will reveal material facts about the physical condition of the property known by the seller and lists repairs the seller is aware were made. The Seller Disclosure (SPDS) does not take the place of a buyer's inspection that is usually made after a contract is agreed upon. The purpose of the inspection is to find major - not cosmetic - defects in the home. It is highly advisable to hire a professional inspector to do this.
In the event, a major defect is discovered and the buyer and the seller cannot agree upon a resolution of the problem, the buyer may elect to cancel the contract within the inspection period and have their earnest money refunded. Therefore, it is very important to have all inspections and tests completed and results known within the inspection period before the BINSR (Buyer Inspection Notice and Seller Response) is submitted to the seller.
The seller is only required to make warranted repairs and those repairs requested in the purchase contract. Therefore, the buyer should request a copy of the SPDS before writing an offer! Non-warranted repairs requested by the Buyer after contract acceptance are negotiable - not guaranteed.
The Physical Property Inspection will focus upon, but is not limited to, the following four areas:
I recommend the buyer accompany the inspector during the home inspection to ask questions or be present at the end of the inspection to receive a verbal summary of the inspection, ask questions, have the inspector point show you problems he found and receive a full written report itemizing any areas of concern with photos. Not all problems are serious. But you will want to have them corrected soon after you take possession.
If significant repairs are needed, the buyer can request the seller make them in accordance with the provisions of the sales contract. But the seller is not obligated to make any repairs discovered after the offer was executed by all parties unless the repairs were part of the purchase contract and the seller agreed to make them or the defects are warranted items as described in the Arizona purchase contract.
If the seller agrees to make some, declines to make any repairs or ignores the repair request, the buyer may cancel the contract within the allotted time and have his earnest money deposit returned.
Here are some helpful questions to ask to help you select your home inspector. Do your homework.
My Phoenix Home Buyer Guide has other buyer tips and lists additional resources to assist you with your home purchase.