Recent Posts: Home Ownership

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10 Musts when Hiring a Contractor, Part 1.

1. Verify the Contractor is Licensed. Verify the contractor is licensed and has the correct license for your specific project by going to www.azroc.gov, and check to see if the contractor is in good standing and has any past complaints. 2. Three Bids. Ensure you don’t pay too much for the project by getting three […]

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Insurance Coverage for Remodels – Are you insured?

Protect yourself during your next major remodel: 1. Make sure the contractor has insurance for not only injuries and property damage, but also negligent workmanship and injuries sustained on the job. Check also for workers’ compensation and liability insurance, and get copies of all of the certificates of insurance. 2. Consider purchasing builder’s risk insurance. […]

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Can you Do a Short Term Rental in a HOA?

Arizona law states that a member of a HOA may use the member’s property as a rental property unless prohibited in the CC&Rs per A.R.S. §33-1806.01. Accordingly, unless the CC&Rs expressly restrict “vacation rentals,” “transient lodging” or “short-term rentals,” Airbnb and VRBO type rentals within a homeowner association community are probably lawful. If the current […]

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How to Hold Title.

Typically, married couples in Arizona hold title as community property with right of survivorship. Following the death of one of the spouses, title will automatically pass to the surviving spouse, avoiding the necessity of a probate. An alternative is to place the home in a trust as a part of an estate plan which manages […]

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Arizona’s Homestead Exemption.

Arizona’s homestead exemption allows a person to protect from certain creditors up to $150,000 of the equity in the home they live in (house, condominium, or mobile home). It applies only to non-consensual liens. A non-consensual lien is one which arises from a recorded money judgment. For example, a judgment that arises because the owner […]

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Bad Real Estate Advice.

Recently I read a letter from a Canadian that owns a home in Arizona about a construction defect. The letter was in a magazine catering to Snowbirds, and the writer was complaining because he had been told that due to Arizona’s real property tax classifications, Snowbirds are “excluded from protection from licensed trades going bankrupt […]

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Buy Don’t Rent!

The latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia shows that home ownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States. This includes Phoenix, which is in the top 10 in size. These numbers show that the average range is 26.3% less expensive […]

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Residential Architectural Styles, Part 2.

Santa Fe/Pueblo. Flat roofs, parapet walls with round edges, straight-edge window frames, earth-colored stucco or adobe-brick walls, and projecting roof beams (vigas) typify the Pueblo style. Ranch. A development of the Prairie and Craftsman styles, Ranch homes are one story, and often are long and narrow, with gently pitched roofs, brick exterior walls, and picture […]

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Do You Have an Easement?

Part 5 – Liability Issues. If the benefitted land owner plans construction on the property subject to the easement, the easement should require the benefitted party to indemnify and hold the other owner harmless from any liability resulting from the work. The benefitted party should also be required to obtain personal injury and property damage […]

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Is Your Home “Feng Shui”?

Feng shui is a Chinese philosophy that has the goal of achieving an auspicious and harmonious environment. It is important to Chinese-Americans, with 86% of those surveyed saying that feng shui will play a role in a future home-buying decision, and 79% saying they would be willing to pay more for a home that has […]

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Residential Architectural Styles, Part 1.

Here are some of the styles of older homes you will encounter in the South-West: Craftsman. Smallish single story with full or partial-width porches framed by tapered columns, overhanging eaves, and exposed roof rafters. Similar to, but usually slightly bigger than, the earlier California Bungalow style. Prairie. Originated by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Prairie-style house […]

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Do You Have an Easement? Part 4.

No Right to Change. Some of the more important considerations when granting an easement include that there is no legal right to terminate or alter its location without the consent of the benefitted property owner. So if years after an easement is granted, the burdened property may only be redeveloped if the benefitted property owner […]

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Don’t be Held Hostage by a Probate.

Probate avoidance is a primary consideration for estate planners and their clients. A revocable trust is usually the vehicle of choice for making non-probate transfers. But real estate must be re-titled in the name of the trust to make a transfer to the trust effective. An alternative, whether a trust is used or not, is […]

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Do You Have an Easement? Part 3.

Exclusivity and Costs. Easements typically grant exclusive use of the easement area to the recipient unless they provide that the easement is nonexclusive. Of course, shared driveways should always be granted on a nonexclusive basis, and so should utility and drainage easements (with suitable restrictions) to the extent the easement area needs to be used […]

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When can you legally use a Handyman?

In Arizona, repairs under $1,000 can be performed by a person without a contractor’s license. But the “handyman exemption” isn’t that simple. An important limitation is that the aggregate contract price, including labor, materials and all other items, is less than $1,000. So if a $900 component is being installed, the labor couldn’t be more […]

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