Arizona Home Buying Process

House owner/real estate agent giving away the keys - house out of focus

For most people a home is the most expensive purchase they will make. The sale of Real Property is a legal transaction and should be conducted through the professional channels established by the state where the transaction will take place. In Arizona, Real Estate Agents are authorized to write home purchase contracts as long as they follow the process established by the state.



To start your home purchase journey you should follow this basic timeline.

  1. Obtain a pre-approval from your lender or in the case of a cash transaction obtain proof of funds. (3 – 30 days)
  2. Establish your Maximum purchase price for PITI (Principle, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance)
  3. Write down some criteria for your new home (Location, # of Bedrooms, # of Bathrooms, Garage Spaces, Amenities, etc.)
  4. Find a Realtor that can create a custom portal into the Arizona Master Listing Service (MLS) and work with them to find the home of your dreams. Starling Real Estate provides their clients with direct access into the MLS so that the client can use their criteria to narrow down the homes that they would like to tour. Most first time home buyers are unaware that hiring a Realtor is at no cost to the buyer. When a listing contract is negotiated it identifies the commission price set for both the Seller and the Buyer.
  5. Make an offer on the home by setting a price, terms, closing date, and Earnest money. Earnest money is typically 1% of the list price and is an offer of good faith that indicates that you are serious about purchasing the home. The money provided as Earnest money stays in escrow and will eventually be used toward your closing costs. Your Realtor should advise you on a suitable price range for the home but you as the buyer you make the final decision on price.
  6. Expect a counter offer that modifies the purchase price, terms, closing date, etc. Your Realtor can help you identify the true cost of the adjustments.
  7. This offer/counter-offer process is iterative and may go a few rounds before an agreement is reached. (once the contract is accepted, buyer has 10 days to complete the home inspection period)
  8. Open escrow and deposit Earnest money. (within 2 days of contract acceptance)
  9. After the offer is accepted you have 10 days to purchase a home inspection. Inspections typically cost about $400 and I highly recommend that you initiate the process as soon as possible because if the inspection identifies egregious issues you have the option to exit the contract with a full refund of Earnest monies.
  10. After reviewing the inspection report your agent will submit a Buyers Inspection Notice & Sellers Response (BINSR) that indicates your wishes as to which inspection items need to be fixed or accepted as is. The seller will respond with their intentions as to whether they will fix the identified issues or not.
  11. Review HOA and CC&R Documents and accept or reject the the information contained in the CLUE report.  The CLUE report is provided by the sellers insurance agency and identifies previous claims made against the property. (within 5 days of contract acceptance)
  12. Review Title and Accept, Fix, or Reject
  13. Initiate the loan and pay for the Appraisal
  14. Obtain good faith estimate / settlement paperwork which identifies the total costs for both the buyer and the seller.
  15. Appraisal is complete. Accept, Counter, or Reject
  16. Loan is approved. Lender legally agrees to fund the loan.
  17. Buyer pays down payment and balance due. (within 1-3 days after loan approval)
  18. Lender performs last minute credit review and releases funds. It is imperative that the buyer not initiate any new loans or close any revolving credit accounts prior to this final check.
  19. Escrow pays seller and records deed with county recorders office.
  20. Buyer gets keys and recorded deed.

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