The process of buying a home can vary from one state to the next. Regardless of where you're moving from, here are the top 5 things you will need to know about buying a home in Arizona.
1. You will not be required to have an attorney. The Arizona Constitution, in Article 26, Section 1, allows for licensed real estate brokers or agents to fill out and complete documents related to the sale of real estate in Arizona. Not to over-simplify it, but these documents are drafted by attorneys, and agents are filling in the blanks. That's not to say you aren't advised to consult an attorney (or accountant, or other professional), just that you aren't required to hire one. Once your purchase offer is accepted, a file (escrow) is opened at a Title Company, and your earnest money check is deposited. The Title Company will handle the transfer of title and funds, and collect the Buyer's and Seller's signatures on the necessary documents.
2. The average home purchase takes 30 days from contract to keys. There can be exceptions. Short sales may take months to get approval from the bank who owns the property, and cash transactions can close in about two weeks. Other factors can affect a typical timeline, by a couple of days or weeks. Often an agreed-upon closing date can be adjusted with the permission of both Buyer and Seller, but don't just assume closing can always be extended. There may be a deadline on either side of the transaction that, if missed, could jeopardize the sale.
3. Within 3 days of your offer being accepted, you will receive the Seller's disclosures about the property. Once your offer has been accepted, the Seller's Agent has 3 days to deliver the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement (SPDS). The SPDS is a detailed questionnaire completed by the Seller about their knowledge of the property. You will also receive a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Report (CLUE), which shows if the Seller has filed any insurance claims on the property in the last 5 years. Sometimes these documents will not be available, like when the Seller is a bank or a trust. There are also several things that are not required by law to be disclosed (Is this house haunted?). Your Agent can go over those items so you can determine if any of them are of particular concern to you.
4. You will have 10 days to have the home inspected. You should always have the home inspected by a home inspector. If there are any specific areas of concern, such as roofing or plumbing, have a licensed contractor in that field also perform an inspection. The inspection period is also the time to check out the neighborhood and anything else that may affect your desire to purchase the home. Your REALTOR will give you a Buyer Advisory document directing you to sources of information and things to consider.
5. You will not get your keys when you sign your closing documents. Once you sign your documents at the title company, they will send your signed loan documents back to your lender. Your lender will transfer the purchase funds to the title office, who will distribute the funds. The title office will then submit your deed to the County Recorder's Office to be recorded. Upon confirmation, the title office will notify everyone the sale "has recorded." The funding and recording process is all done electronically, typically in 24 hours or less. Once this process is complete, you will get the keys to your new home!
Purchasing a home is a complex transaction, and this is, in no way, meant to be a comprehensive overview of the process, or of any of these steps. They simply seem to be the top 5 differences Buyers who own or have previously owned property in other states encounter when they purchase property in Arizona.