SELECT THE RIGHT AGENT
Purchasing a luxury home is a significant investment with both legal and financial ramifications.
As with doctors, lawyers and other top tier professionals, the best-trained and most experienced luxury agents are specialists in the luxury market.
Diane Watson has spent the past 15-years working in the Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and Arcadia luxury markets. A tireless advocate for her clients, she personally counsels them through each phase including identifying the right neighborhoods and properties, negotiating the contract, coordinating financing and working through issues that arise in escrow.
The Arizona purchase contract requires a financing pre-approval letter as part of your contract offer. Therefore, unless you are paying cash, getting pre-approved by a local lender or mortgage broker is one of the first things you should do. Knowing your available loan amount will aid in determining how much you intend to spend on your home and which neighborhoods to consider.
Generally, you should begin the pre-approval process immediately prior to beginning your home search. If any issues come up, such as inaccurate findings on your credit report, this will give you time to resolve them.
KNOW THE NEIGHBORHOODS
Diane Watson will personally take you on neighborhood tours to give you an overview of the area and show you a few representative homes. More importantly, she will provide you with information about local schools, parks, and appreciation potential of each area.
Generally, you should not purchase a home until you are familiar with the neighborhoods and have seen enough properties to recognize a great fit.
MAKE AN OFFER
Once you’ve found the right home, it’s time to make an offer.
Diane will provide a custom market analysis, showing the selling price of recent comparable properties and the current market value is of the property in question. She will also keep you apprised of the interest level of other parties and whether you may be in a multiple-offer situation.
Diane will speak directly with the listing agent to understand the seller’s motivation for selling. She can often structure your offer to provide items of value to the seller with little cost to you such as a longer closing window.
Once an offer is made, the seller can accept it, reject it (which includes not responding) or counter. A counter offer accepts all the terms of the contract, with the exception of the items covered in the counter offer.
For instance, a counter offer may increase the purchase price or shorten the escrow period. A counter offer can be made to one party or to multiple parties. If there is a single counter offer accepted by the buyer, this becomes a binding contract.
On the other hand, if there are multiple counter offers, (which may contain the same or different terms), the counteroffer must be signed by the buyer and the seller to ensure the home sells to only one party.
Once your offer has been accepted, Diane will carefully review the seller home disclosures and highlight any concerns or red flags.
These disclosures will be given to the home inspector so they may carefully inspect any past damage or repair to the home such as roof, water damage or pest problems.
Property Inspection Report
The property inspection is the inspector’s opinion on the home’s plumbing, electrical systems, foundation, roof, and overall condition. This report will list all issues the inspector finds. The property inspector does not provide the cost estimates. Diane will often hire a contractor to give a repair cost estimate and then write up a repair request to be negotiated with the seller. This is one of the most critical phases of the transaction.
Pest Inspection Report
The pest report will look for any damage to wood, most likely caused by termites, as well as any water damage that may be found in the home. Unlike the property inspection report, the pest report will usually list the costs required to alleviate these issues.
Termites in Arizona are quite common and most properties have at one time or another dealt with termite treatment issues.
The seller’s disclosures addresses the history of the home including past repairs, whether any remodeling has been done, and if so, whether the remodeling was done with permits. They also include neighborhood information such as whether the home is located near an airport.
Sellers are required to fill out these disclosures truthfully or buyers may later file a claim against the seller for non-disclosure of material facts.
The title report is issued by the title company and ensures that the seller can convey clear title without any liens preventing a smooth conveyance. All liens that may be on the property, such as unpaid property taxes, are listed in the title report.
Homeowners Association (HOA) Documents
If you are considering a home located within a Homeowners Association, HOA documents will be included in the disclosures. These disclosures detail what the HOA fees cover, the size of financial reserves, whether any litigation or special assessments are looming, and whether there are plans to raise the HOA dues.
After the parties formed a contractual agreement, the escrow period begins. An escrow company is a neutral third party that acts as an intermediary between the buyer and seller. In Arizona, title companies handle both the title and escrow duties of the same transaction.
The most important job of the escrow company is to properly take the buyer’s money in exchange for the seller’s property. An average escrow period is 30-45 days.
If you back out of a contract for a reason related to a contingency (such as failure to secure funding or negative findings during the home inspection), you are entitled to a full return of your “good faith deposit.”
If you have a loan, an appraiser will appraise your home. The lender, title officer and agent all work together to move the transaction toward a successful close.
DAY OF CLOSING
On the day of closing, the escrow company transfers your funds to the seller and records the deed in your name with the county. Once the home is officially recorded, you will be provided with the house keys, garage openers, and access codes, if any. Other information, such as manuals for appliances, are usually left at the property.
ENJOY YOUR HOME
Enjoy your new home! Diane Watson is here to serve you for all of your housing questions or issues during the escrow period after you close.
She also provides a host of post-possession concierge services.