Buying Your New Home
ALTERNATIVE BUYING OPPORTUNITIES
While alternative real estate buying options are limited to a small percentage of transactions, they can arise. Foreclosures, short sales and auctions sales are some of the types of listings you may encounter in the marketplace so be sure you understand the nature of these sales when deciding how to proceed. Always consult with your real estate agent or an advisor if you’re in need of more information.

— Foreclosure Properties
While foreclosures may initially appear to be an appealing homeownership option, it’s also essential to recognize that investing in foreclosure properties is not a simple process. This is a niche market with many subtle but important nuances, requiring considerable specialized knowledge, experience and contacts.

If you decide to pursue a foreclosure purchase, you’ll want to work with an experienced real estate agent who can educate you on the process. He or she can help you crunch the numbers, determine a logical purchase plan, avoid potential setbacks and assist you with all the unique processes and paperwork involved with foreclosures.

— Short Sales
The short-sale buying option is becoming more common in places where homeowners paid higher prices for their homes a few years ago than the homes are currently worth now. Short sales are an alternative to a foreclosure. When the borrower can no longer make the mortgage payments as agreed, he is faced with many decisions. One is to allow the lender to foreclose. Another is to get the lender to agree to accept a payoff of less than the balance owed on the loan.

— Auction Sales
Auctions have become more popular, in part, because property owners recognize that taxes, maintenance, financing and other costs significantly can erode their equity, especially if the property sits idle for many months. Auction sellers effectively can pick their sale date. They also may be sending a strong signal that they’re motivated to sell, depending on the auction method chosen.

As a homebuyer in the auction process, you are able to determine the price you will pay. The seller may set a minimum price, and you will still have to compete with other buyers, but the actual selling price is ultimately set by you, which differs from houses listed for sale through brokerage firms, where the seller sets the price and the rest of the purchase process is about negotiating a sale.

Even though auctions are managed differently than traditional brokerage sales, it’s still a good idea to engage the help of a qualified ABR® or REALTOR®. Your agent can assist you by providing a competitive market analysis and other information that will be helpful in developing your pricing strategy. He or she also can help you review the disclosure package, accompany you to any presale inspections, explain the sales terms and auction procedures, coordinate attorney reviews, assist in prearranging financing and act as your representative in managing transaction paperwork with the auction company.

BUYING REAL ESTATE IN ARIZONA
Real estate taxes and laws vary greatly from state to state. If this is will be your first property purchase in Arizona, it is best to get acquainted with a few of these common regulations and factor them into your home buying decisions.

— PROPERTY TAXES
Arizona charges a property tax for owner-occupied residential real property. There are several classes of properties with varying assessment ratios. The assessment ratio for owner-occupied residential property is 10 percent of full cash (market) value. Tax jurisdictions set tax rates on the basis of the total assessed valuation within their boundaries and the amount of the levy to be raised. Phoenix is located in Maricopa County, and the Maricopa County Assessor is responsible for determining the assessed value of residential property here.

The tax rate applicable to each parcel of property is the sum of the state, county, municipal, school and special district rates. Arizona does not have a property tax on household goods or intangible personal property.

— HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION
According to Section 33-1101 of the Arizona Homestead Exemption Statute, any person age 18 or older, married or single, who resides within the state may hold as a homestead exempt from attachment, execution and forced sale, not exceeding $150,000 in value, in any one of the following:
  • The person’s interest in real property in one compact body on which exists a dwelling or house in which that person resides.
  • The person’s interest in one condominium or cooperative in which that person resides.
  • The person’s interest in a mobile home in which that person resides.
  • The person’s interest in a mobile home in which that person resides plus the land upon which that mobile home is located.

A person who is entitled to a homestead exemption as prescribed by the above holds that exemption by operation of law and no written claim or recording is needed.

— DEED RESTRICTIONS
You may decide to live in a subdivision or a master-planned community with deed restrictions, which appear in the real property records of the county in which it is located. Deed restrictions are private agreements and are binding upon every owner in a subdivision. All future owners become a party to these agreements when they purchase property in deed-restricted areas, so it is important to review the details in a restricted subdivision or community in consideration so you are aware of the residents’ obligations and responsibilities.

   
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