Buyer’s Information – If You Plan On Purchasing Property In Arizona. . Read This

Arizona Department of Real Estate


A resource for the real estate consumers provided by

Arizona Association of REALTORS®

A real estate agent is vital to the purchase of real property and can provide a variety of services in locating a property, negotiating the sale, and advising the buyer. A real estate agent is generally not qualified to discover defects or evaluate the physical condition of the property; however, a real estate agent can assist a buyer in finding qualified inspectors and provide the buyer with documents and other resources containing vital information about a prospective property.
A real estate agent is vital to the purchase of real property and can provide a variety of services in locating a property, negotiating the sale, and advising the buyer. A real estate agent is generally not qualified to discover defects or evaluate the physical condition of the property; however, a real estate agent can assist a buyer in finding qualified inspectors and provide the buyer with documents and other resources containing vital information about a prospective property.

This advisory is designed to make the purchase of real property as smooth as possible. Some of the more common issues that a buyer may decide to investigate or verify concerning a property purchase are summarized in this Advisory are: (1) common documents a buyer should review; (2) physical conditions in the property the buyer should investigate; and (3) conditions affecting the surround area that the buyer should investigate. In addition, a buyer must communicate to the real estate agents in the transaction any special concern the buyer may have about the property or surrounding area, whether or not those issues are addressed in this Advisory.

REMEMBER: This advisory is supplemental to obtaining professional property inspections. Professional property inspections are absolutely essential: there is no practical substitute for a professional inspection as a measure to discover and investigate defects or shortcomings in a property.


The documents listed below may not be relevant in every transaction, nor is the list exhaustive. Unless otherwise stated, the real estate agent has not independently verified the information contained in these documents.

Purchase Contract – Buyers should protect themselves by taking the time to read the real estate purchase contract and understand their legal rights and obligations before they submit an offer to buy a property. Sample Arizona Association of REALTOR® forms are at View Purchase Contract Forms

MLS Printout – A listing is an agreement between the seller and the listing broker and may authorize the broker to submit information to the Multiple Listing Service (“MLS”). The MLS printout is similar to an advertisement. Neither the listing agreement nor the printout is a part of the purchase contract between the buyer and seller. The information in the MLS printout was probably secured from the seller, the builder, or a governmental agency, and could be inaccurate, incomplete or an approximation. Therefore, the buyer should verify any important information contained in the MLS

The Subdivision Disclosure Report (Public Report
) – A Subdivision Disclosure Report (Public Report) is intended to point out material information about a subdivision (any person who offers for sale or lease six or more lots in a subdivision or who causes land to be divided into a subdivision) are required to give buyers an Arizona Dept. of Real Estate Public Report. Read the Public Report before signing any contract to purchase property in a subdivision. Although some of the information may become outdated, subsequent buyers can also benefit from reviewing the Public Report. Public Reports dating from January 1, 1997 are available on the ADRE website at ADRE Search For Public Reports The ADRE does not verify the information in the Public Report therefore the Report could be inaccurate so it should be verified.

Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement (“SPDS”) – Most sellers provide a SPDS. this document poses a variety of questions for the seller to answer about the property and its condition. The real estate broker is not responsible for verifying the accuracy of the items on the SPDS; therefore, a buyer should carefully review the SPDS and verify those statements of concern. View sample SPDS at View Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement Also review the Property Buyer Checklist

Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (“CC&R’s) The CC&R’s are recorded against the property and generally empower a homeowner’s association to control certain aspects of property use within the development. By purchasing a property in such a development, the buyer agrees to be bound by the CC&R’s. The association, the property owners as a whole, and individual property owners can enforce the contract. It is essential that the buyer review and agre.e to these restrictions prior to purchasing a property. See What About CC&R’s. The ADRE advises: “Read the deed restrictions, also called CC&R’s (covenants, conditions and restrictions). You might find some of the CC&R’s are very strict.” See the Property Buyer Checklist. Buyers should consult legal counsel if uncertain of the application of particular provisions in the CC&R’s.

Homeowner’s Association (“HOA”) Governing Documents
– In addition to CC&R’s, HOAs may be governed by Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Rules and Regulations, and often architectural control standards. Read and understand these documents. Also be aware that some HOAs impose fees that must be paid when the property is sold, so ask if the purchase of the property will result in any fees. Condominium and planned community HOAs are regulated by Arizona statutes; however, they are not under the jurisdiction of the Department of Real Estate. If you have questions about your rights and remedies regarding homeowner’s associations or community associations, read the information provided at Public Information Real Estate Research  or Chapter 16 and 18 of the Arizona Revised Statutes Title 33

HOA Disclosures – If purchasing a resale home in a condominium or planned community, the seller (if fewer than 50 units in the community) or the HOA (if there are 50 or more units) must provide the buyer with a disclosure containing a variety of information. See Resale of 50 or More Units Information Required or Information Required With Fewer Than 50 Units for the laws detailing these requirements.

Title Report or Title Commitment
– The title report or commitment contains important information and is provided to the buyer by the title/escrow company or agent. This report or commitment lists documents that are exceptions to the title insurance (Schedule B Exceptions). Schedule B Exceptions may include encumbrances, easements, and liens against the property, some of which may affect the use of the property, such as a future addition or swimming pool. Make sure you receive and review all of the listed documents. Questions about the title commitment and Schedule B documents may be answered by the title or escrow officer, legal counsel or a surveyor. General information regarding title issues may be found at Title Questions Answered For Consumers or Arizona Dept. of Insurance Title Resource

Loan Documents – Unless a buyer is paying cash, the buyer must qualify for a loan in order to complete the purchase. A buyer should complete a loan application with a lender before making an offer on a property if at all possible and, if not, immediately after making an offer. It will be the buyer’s responsibility to deposit any down payment and insure that the buyer’s lender deposits the remainder of the purchase price into escrow prior to the close of escrow date. Therefore make sure you get all requested documentation to your lender as soon as possible. For information on loans and the lending process, visit the following websites:

* Ginnie Mae Your Path To Home Ownership
* HUD Buying A Home
* Mortgage Bankers Assoc. Home Loan Learning Center
* National Assoc. of Mortgage Brokers Use A Certified Mortgage Broker

Home Warranty Policy
– A home warranty may be part of the sale of the home. buyers should read the home warranty document for coverage and limitations information. Be aware that pre-existing property conditions are generally not covered under these policies.

Affadavit of Disclosure – If the buyer is purchasing five or fewer parcels of land (whether improved or vacant), other than subdivided land, in an unincorporated area of a county, the seller must furnish the buyer with an Affidavit of Disclosure. A sample form can be viewed at Arizona Association of Realtors Affidavit of Disclosure

Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Form
– If the home was built prior to 1978, the seller must provide the buyer with a lead based paint disclosure form. Information about lead-based paint may be obtained at Arizona Dept. of Real Estate Lead Base Paint Safety or EPA Lead Base Paint Information

Professional Inspection Report
– The importance of having a property inspected by a professional inspector cannot be over-emphasized. An inspection is a visual physical examination, performed for a fee, designed to identify material defects in the property. The inspector will generally provide the buyer with a report detailing information about the property’s condition. the buyer should carefully review this report with the inspector and ask the inspector about any item of concern. pay attention to the scope of the inspection and any portions of the property excluded from the inspection. A list of certified home inspectors may be found at the Arizona Board of Technical Registration website. Additional information on inspections may be found at The American Society of Home Inspectors and you may also visit the site REALTOR®.com Hiring A Home Inspector.

County Assessors/Tax Records
– The county assessor’s records contain a variety of valuable information, including the assessed value of the property for tax purposes and some of the physical aspects of the property, such as reported square footage. The date built information in the assessor’s records can be either the actual or effective/weighted age if the residence has been remodeled. All information on the site should be verified for accuracy. Information is available on county websites:

* Coconino: Coconino County Website
* Maricopa Maricopa County Assessor or Maricopa County Treasurer
* Pima Pima County Assessor
* Yavapai Yavapai County Government
* Other counties AZ.Gov

Termites and Other Wood Destroying Insects and Organisms – Termites are commonly found in some parts of Arizona. The Office of Pest Management (OPM) regulates pest inspectors and can provide the buyer with information regarding past termite treatments on a property. To obtain a termite history report on a property visit the OPM website at the Office of Pest Management or call 1-800-223-0618. The OPM publication, What You Should Know About Wood-Destroying Insect Inspection Reports, can be found at State of Arizona Office of Pest Management


Every buyer and every property is different, so the physical property conditions requiring investigation will vary.

Repairs and New Construction – The seller may have made repairs or added a room to the property. The buyer should feel comfortable that the work was properly done or have an expert evaluate the work. Request copies of permits, invoices and other documentation regarding the work performed. The Registrar of Contractors’ (“ROC”) publication Hiring a Licensed Contractor, is available on the Arizona Registrar of Contractors Website. The Arizona chapters of the The National Association of the Remodeling Industry may be contacted at the Greater Phoenix NARI Chapter for the Phoenix area and for Southern Arizona/Tucson visit Southern Arizona Tucson NARI Chapter For information regarding permits, contact the city of county building department.

Square Footage – Square footage on the MLS printout or as listed by the county assessor’s records is often only an estimae and generally should not be relied upon for the exact square footage in a property. An appraiser or architect can measure the property’s size to verify the square footage. If the square footage is important, you should have it confirmed by one of these experts during the inspection period in a resale transaction and prior to executing a contract in a new home transaction. A list of appraisers may be found at the Arizona Board of Appraisal. A list of architects may be found at the Board of Technical Registration.

Roof – If the roof is 10 years old or older, a roof inspection by a licensed roofer is highly recommended. See the ROC information on hiring a licensed contractor online at Arizona Registrar of Contractors Website or the Arizona Roofing Contractor Association.

Swimming Pools and Spas
– If the property has a pool or a spa, the home inspector may exclude the pool or spa from the general inspection so an inspection by a pool or spa company may be necessary.

Swimming Pool Barrier Ordinance
– Further, each city and county has itis own swimming pool barrier ordinance. Pool barrier contact information for Arizona cities and counties may be found at the Arizona Association of Realtors website. The Arizona Department of Health Services Private Pool Safety notice may be found at Arizona Dept. of Health Services – Pool Barriers website. The state law on swimming pools is located at Arizona State Legislature website.

Septic and Other On-Site Wastewater Treatment Facilities – If the home is not connected to a public sewer, its probably serviced by an on-site wastewater treatment facility (septic or alternative system). A qualified inspector must inspect any such facility within six months of prior transfer of ownership. for information on current inspection and transfer of ownership requirements, contact the county environmental/health agency or Arizona Dept. of Environmental Quality. To file a Notice of Transfer online go to Arizona Dept. of Environmental Quality – Online Transfer.

Sewer – Even if the listing or SPDS indicates that the property is connected to the city sewer, a plumber, home inspector, or other professional should verify it. Some counties and  cities can perform this test as well.

Water/Well Issues
– You should investigate the availability and quality of the water to the property. For information on wells and assured/adequate water go to Arizona Dept. of Water Resources.

1. Adjudications
– Arizona is undertaking several General Stream Adjudications, which are court proceedings to determine the extent and priority of water rights in an entire river system. For information regarding water uses and watersheds affected by thes adjudications, and the forms upon sale of the property the Arizona Dept. of Water Resources. Additionally, the Verde Valley Water Users assists members in matters pertaining to the Gila River System Adjudication. For more information go to Verde Valley Water Users website.

2. CAGRDs – The Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD) functions to replenish groundwater used by its members, individual subdivisions (“member lands”) and service areas of member water providers (“member service areas”). Homeowner in a CAGRD pay an annual assessment fee which is collected through the county property tax process based on the amount of groundwater served to the member home. To learn more about CAGRD, member ship visit the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District’s website.

Soil Problems
– The soil in some areas of Arizona has “clay-like” tendencies, sometimes referred to as “expansive soil.” To investigate areas in Arizona where expansive soils exist, go to the Natural Resource Conservation Service website (search “shrink/swell”) or go to the Arizona Geological Survey (“Geologic Hazards”) and the direct link for maps is Study Area Maps. Other areas are subject to fissures, subsidence or other soil conditions. For information on “earth fissures”, visit Arizona Dept. of Water Resources – Land Subsidence Maps. Properties built  on such soils may experience significant movement causing a major problem. If it has been disclosed that the property is subject to any such soil conditions or if the buyer has any concerns about the soil condition or observes evidence of cracking, the buyer should secure an independent assessment of the property and its structural integrity by a licensed, bonded, and insured professional engineer. A list of state certified professional engineers and firms can be found at the Arizona State Board of Technical Registration.

Previous Fire/Flood

If it is disclosed there has been a fire or flood on the property, a qualified inspector should be hired to advise you regarding any possible future problems as a result of the fire or flood damage and/or any subsequent repairs. For example, if the property was not properly cleaned after a flood, mold issues ma result. Your insurance agent may be able to assist you in obtaining information regarding fire, flood, or other past damage to the property.


Cockroaches, rattlesnakes, black widow spiders, scorpions, termites and other pests are common in parts of Arizona. Fortunately, most pests can be controlled with pesticides.

1. Scorpions – Scorpions, on the other hand, may be difficult to eliminate. If the buyer has any concerns or if the SPDS indicates the seller has seen scorpions or other pests on the property, seek the advice of a pest control company. A source of information on scorpions can be found at Exploring the Desert USA – Scorpions.

2. Roof Rats
– For Information on roof rats, which have been reported in some areas, go to the The Environmental Service Dept. – Roof Rats website.

3. Termites and Bark Beetles
– For information on termites or bark beetles which have been reported in some forested areas, see the State of Arizona Office of Pest Management

Endangered or Threatened Species
– Certain areas in the state may have issues related to federally listed endangered or threatened species that may affect land uses. Further information may be obtained by going to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife website, or appropriate planning/development service department.

Deaths and Felonies on the Property
– An Arizona law states that sellers and real estate licensees have no liability for failure to disclose to a buyer that the property was ever the site of a natural death, suicide, murder or felony, Arizona State Legislature – Article 32-02156. This information is often difficult to uncover; however, the local law enforcement agency may be able to identify calls made to the property address.

Indoor Environmental Concerns

1. Mold – old has always been with us, and it is a rare property that does not have some mold. However, over the past few years a certain kind of mold has been identified as a possible contributor to illnesses. Allergic individuals may experience symptoms related to mold. The Arizona Department of Health Services, Office of Environmental Health, states: “If you can see mold, or if there is an earthy or musty odor, you can assume you have a mold problem. Arizona Dept. of Health Services – Mold in my home. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites also contain valuable information: U.S. Environmental Protection AgencyMold and Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Mold

2. Chinese Drywall – There have been a few reports of Chinese Drywall used in Arizona homes, see the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for more information.

3. Radon Gas and Carbon Monoxide
– Radon gas and carbon monoxide poisoning are two of the more common and potentially serious indoor air quality (“IAQ”) concerns. Both of these concerns can be addressed by the home inspector, usually for an additional fee. For information on radon levels in the state of Arizona, go to Home Radon Surveys.

4. Drug Labs – Unremediated meth labs and other dangerous drug labs must be disclosed to buyers/tenants by Arizona law. A list of unremediated properties and a list of the registered drug laboratory site remediation firms can be found at the Arizona State Board of Technical Registration

5. Other – For information on other indoor environmental concerns, the EPA has a host of resource materials and pamphlets available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Property Boundaries
– If the property boundaries are of concern, a survey may be warranted. For example, a survey may be advisable if there is an obvious us of the property by others (i.e., a well-worn path across a property and/or parked cars on the property) or fences or structures of adjacent property owners that appear to be built on the property. For more information, visit the Arizona Professional Land Surveyors website. A list of surveyors may be obtained from the Board of Technical Registration

Flood Plain Status
– If the property is in a flood zone, an additional annual insurance premium of several hundred dollars may be required (check with your insurance agent about cost and coverage). If the property is in an area deemed high risk, the buyer may be required by the lender to obtain flood hazard insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. Find details on flood plain status at Maricopa County, The Flood Control District Maricopa County, for Pima County, Pima County Regional Flood Control District, other parts of the state, at AZ Geologic Hazard Center Other sites to visit include FEMA Flood Map Service Center, City of Phoenix – Flood Plains, City of Tucson, City of Flagstaff – Storm Water Management or call 928-779-7650 x 7213

Insurance (Claims History)
– Many factors affect the availability and cost of homeowners insurance. Some insurance companies use a database known as the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (“C.L.U.E.”) in their underwriting practices to track the insurance claim history of a property and of the person applying for insurance coverage. Property owners may request a five year claims history from their insurance agent or purchase a C.L.U.E. report online at Lexis Nexis Personal Property Reports or by calling 866-527-2600. For additional insurance information, visit the Arizona Dept. of Insurance website and read “The New Reality of Property Insurance – “What You Should Know” at Arizona Association of Realtors, a document on Insurance Claims History.

Other Property Conditions

1. Plumbing
– Check functionality. Also, a national class action suit has been settled, providing relief for qualifying leaks in polybutylene pipes (PB). For more information, see The Polybutylene Pipe Settlement Fund or visit Arizona Association of Realtors®  website and read Plumbing Leaks May Be Fixed For Free

2. Cooling/Heating
– Make sure the cooling and heating systems are adequate. Visit the website of the Arizona State Chapter Affiliate of Air Conditioning Contractors

3. Electrical Systems – Check for function and safety.


Every property is unique, therefore, important conditions vary.

Environmental Concerns – It is often very difficult to identify environmental hazards. For environmental information, search the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality website. The ADEQ site contains information regarding the locations of open and closed landfills Solid Waste Information and Wildfire Information, as well as air quality information, water quality information and more.

Environmentally Sensitive Land Ordinance – Approximately two thirds of the City of Scottsdale is affected by the Environmentally Sensitive Land Ordinance (ESLO), which requires some areas on private property be retained in their natural state and designated as National Area Open Space (NAOS). For more information about how the ESLO and NAOS may impact affected property go to the City of Scottsdale Website – ESLO Fact Sheet..

Electromagnetic Fields – For information on electromagnetic fields, and whether they pose a health risk to you or your family, visit National Institute of Environmental Health Science – Electromagnetic Fields.

Superfund Sites
– There are numerous sites in Arizona where the soil and groundwater have been contaminated by improper disposal of contaminants. To check if a property is in an area designated by the ADEQ as requiring cleanup visit ADEQ – Superfund Sites for available maps to view. The EPA also has information on Federal sites at EPA – Superfund Sites – Spanish

Freeway Construction and Traffic Conditions
– Although the existence of a freeway near the property may provide highly desirable access, sometimes it contributes to undesirable noise. to search for roadway construction and planning go to the Arizona Dept. of Transportation (“ADOT”) website. Check ADOT maps to find the nearest future routes and roads in the area slated for widening. For current traffic conditions in the area visit ADOT “Traffic Conditions“.

Crime Statistics – Crime statistics, an imperfect measurement at best, provide some indication of the level of criminal activity in an area. To check crime statistics for the cities of Phoenix, Tempe, Glendale, Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert, and Peoria, go to the FAXNet1 – Network of Crime Prevention website or the City of Phoenix – Police Dept. website. A visit or phone call to other law enforcement agencies may be required. For Tucson, Tucson – Crime Report. For crime statistics in all Arizona cities go to League of Arizona Cities and Towns website.

Sex Offenders
– Since June 1996, Arizona has had a registry and community notification program for convicted sex offenders. This information may be accessed at the Arizona Dept. of Public Safety – Sex Offenders. Prior to June 1996, registration was not required, and only the higher-risk sex offenders are on the website. The presence of a sex offender in the vicinity of the property is not a fact that the seller or real estate agent is required to disclose. For the City of Glendale visit The City of Glendale Police – Sex Offender Info.

Forested Areas – Life in a forested area has unique benefits and concerns. For information on protecting your property from wildfire visit the Arizona Forestry Division website. See also, Arizona Firewise Communities. Contact county/city fire authority for information on issues particular to your community.

Zoning/Planning/Neighborhood Services
–  For Phoenix visit City of Phoenix – Planning Dept., for Scottsdale visit City of Scottsdale – Building, Planning & Zoning, for Tucson visit City of Tucson – Planning Programs & Services and for other cities and towns visit the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.

Military and Public Airports – The legislature has mandated the identifications of areas in the immediate vicinity of military and public airports that are susceptible to a certain level of noise from aircraft. The boundaries of these areas have been plotted on maps that are useful in determining if a property falls within one of these areas. The maps for military airports may be accessed at the Arizona Dept. of Real Estate – Military Airport Boundary Maps website. View maps for many of the public airports at Arizona Dept. of Real Estate – Territory In The Vicinity of Public Airport. These maps are intended to show the areas subject to the preponderance of airport-related noise from a given airport. Periodic over-flights that may contribute to noise cannot usually be determined from these maps.

Schools – Although there is no substitute for an on-site visit to the school to talk with principals and teachers, there is a significant amount of information about Arizona’s schools on the Internet.  Visit the Arizona Dept. of Education for more information. The ADRE advises: “Call the school district serving the subdivision to determine whether nearby schools are accepting new students. Some school districts, especially in the northwest part of the greater Phoenix area have placed a cap on enrollment. You may find that your children cannot attend the school nearest you and may even be transported to another community.”

City Profile Report
– Information on demographics, finances and other factors drawn from an array of sources, such as U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor, Internal Revenue Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration can be found at the Home Find – City Profile Report website.


Talk to the Neighbors – Neighbors can provide a wealth of information. Buyers should always talk to the surrounding residents about the neighborhood and the history of the property the buyer is considering for purchase.

Drive around the Neighborhood
– Buyers should always drive around the neighborhood, preferably on different days at several different times of the day and evening, to investigate the surrounding are.


The real estate market is cyclical and real estate values go up and down. The financial market also changes, affecting the terms on which a lender will agree to loan money on real property. It is impossible to accurately predict what the real estate or financial market conditions will be at any given time.

The ultimate decision on the price a Buyer is willing to pay and the price a Seller is willing  to accept for a specific property rests solely with the individual Buyer or Seller. The parties to a real estate transaction must decide on what price and terms they are willing to buy or sell in light of market conditions, their own financial resources and their own unique circumstances.

The parties must, upon careful deliberation, decide how much risk they are willing to assume in a transaction. Any waiver of contingencies, rights or warranties in the Contract may have adverse consequences. Buyer and Seller acknowledge that they understand these risks.

Buyer and Seller assume all responsibility should the return on investment, tax consequences, credit effects, or financing terms not meet their expectations. The parties understand and agree that the Broker(s) do not provide advice on property as an investment. Broker(s) are not qualified to provide financial, legal, or tax advice regarding a real estate transaction. Therefore Broker(s) make no representation regarding the above items. Buyer and Seller are advised to obtain professional tax and legal advice regarding the advisability of entering into any transaction.


The Fair Housing Act Prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and handicap (disability). Visit HUD Fair Housing Equal Opportunity website. For more information visit the U.S. Dept. of Justice Americans With Disabilities Act



NAR’s Ten Steps To Home Ownership – First Time Homebuyers

Home Closing 101


Links to state agencies, city and county websites

Arizona’s Official Website

Geographic Info (GIS) Specific Address Maps and Info

Arizona Dept. of Real Estate – Info for Consumers

Arizona Association of Realtors® – Consumer Assistance

Arizona Association of Realtors® – Find a REALTOR®