Selling an Arizona home without an agent is a complicated challenge. With numerous state and local requirements and the potential for legal pitfalls, there are a number of things you need to know before you begin the process.
The Real Estate Agent's Role
A real estate agent knows the current value of comparable homes in your area and can effectively present and market your home so you can expect a stream of ready, willing and able buyers.
How to Find a Licensed Real Estate Agent
Find a licensed real estate agent at Realtor.com, or get a referral from someone who has had a positive experience with a particular agent. Find an agent who will dedicate his or her time to you and who has a diverse marketing plan with a proven record of success.
There are three kinds of real estate listings.
- Open listing: The owner retains the right to sell the home and pays no commissions.
- Exclusive agency listing: This type of listing is used for a sale by the owner. The owner executes a listing agreement with a broker if he or she is the cause of the sale.
- Exclusive right to sell listing: The seller agrees to pay a commission to the listing broker regardless of who brings in the buyer.
Setting the Price
Your agent determines your listing price by comparing the sales prices of similar homes within a quarter mile or half mile of your residence. Other factors, such as proximity to schools, markets, freeways and neighborhood dividing lines, are also considerations.
What to Include in Your Listing Agreement
At a minimum, your listing agreement should include several details such as:
- Duration of the agreement
- Marketing the home
- Preparation of a purchase agreement
- Presenting and showing the house
- Representation at closing
Required Seller’s Disclosures
Arizona law requires that sellers provide certain disclosures regarding their property, including defects that might affect its value. Defective issues include:
- Ownership and property
- Building and safety information
- Environmental hazards
- Lead-based paint
- Sewer-waste water treatment
Failure to disclose known defects or to make other required disclosures can expose you to a lawsuit. Arizona home sellers are required to use the Residential Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement.
An offer is made to pay a certain price for your home based on set terms and conditions, and it has a time limit. It's not a legally binding contract until the seller accepts the offer and all its material terms, then notifies the buyer of its acceptance.
A counteroffer rejects the original offer and presents a new sales price, terms or conditions.
Once an offer is agreed on, the buyer deposits funds into an escrow account, secures mortgage approval, arranges a home inspection, and follows all state and local regulations regarding transfer of the property.
What is the Purchase Agreement?
A real estate purchase agreement is a legally binding contract. It includes terms and conditions such as:
- The identities of the parties
- Description of the property
- Price and financing terms
- Items included in the sale
- Guarantee of clear title
- Date of closing and inspection
If an inspection turns up material defects, the buyer can insist you pay to fix them, or lower the purchase price so the transaction can still go forward.
Closing the Sale
At the close of escrow, several events occur, such as:
- The buyer signs a promissory note.
- Seller and buyer split escrow costs.
- Buyer signs the deed of trust on the property as security for the loan.
- Title insurance is verified.
- The deed is recorded on the day escrow closes.
As the seller, you don't have to be present at closing, as long as all costs are paid and all documents are signed. You typically have to turn your keys over to the buyer the same day if the deed is recorded that day.
Consult a Lawyer
State real estate laws are complicated, and each sale is unique. Sellers should seek legal counsel to ensure a successful transaction.