ARIZONA ~ WATER AND YOUR REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION

ARIZONA ~ WATER AND YOUR REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION

Ground Water |   Surface Water | the Adjudication Process

Understanding the Many Roles of this Important Aspect in Real Estate Transactions

It all starts with the land… When the land was originally patented from the US Government, it had all the “Bundle of Rights” that went with it.   More here —Land Patent.

Without water, the land is basically not very useful. More here–The Land Is Perfect but there is No Water.

The Real Estate Transaction~ getting title insurance does not insure your water rights! The ownership of water rights is decided through the water courts. More here.

Surface Water Arizona is a prior use law state and putting the water to beneficial use is the key.

Ground Water follows the Reasonable Use Doctrine

Arizona State Water Rights Basics~

Arizona, like most other Western states, follows the prior appropriation system for surface water and it has since the enactment of Arizona’s first territorial water code in 1864.  In those days, a water user acquired a right to use water by putting water to beneficial use.  Now, a permit is required.  Groundwater, however, is not generally subject to a prior appropriation system, and follows the “reasonable use” doctrine where it is not regulated under the Groundwater Management Act in specific areas of the state. Water rights are administered by the Arizona Department of Water Resources (DWR).

The distinction between surface water and groundwater was judicially defined in the 1932 case Maricopa County Water Conservation Dist. No. 1 v. Southwest Cotton Co., 39 Ariz. 65, 4 P.2d 369, modified and  denied, 39 Ariz. 367, 7 P.2d 254 (1932).  The Southwest Cotton court defined appropriable water to include the “underflow, sub flow or undercurrent … of a surface stream.”  The “sub flow” was defined as “those waters which slowly find their way through the sand and gravel constituting the bed of the stream, or the lands under or immediately adjacent to the stream, and are themselves a part of the surface stream.”  39 Ariz. at 96.

Groundwater not “immediately adjacent” to a stream is not appropriable, and it is referred to as “percolating groundwater.”  Although later courts have acknowledged that this division of water underground is a legal fiction that does not make sense hydrologically, they have refused to change the distinction.  In an opinion issued last September, the Arizona Supreme Court attempted to further refine the definition of sub flow in the Gila River System to a particular hydrologic unit in the system, the saturated flood plain Holocene alluvium. In re the General Adjudication of All Rights to Use Water in the Gila River System and Source, Ariz. 9 P.3d 1069 (2000) (Gila River IV).[2]

To further complicate groundwater matters, the Arizona Supreme Court issued an opinion in 1999 that federal reserved water rights, notably for Indian reservations, transcend and trump state water law.  In re the General Adjudication of All Rights to Use Water in the Gila River System and Source, 195 Ariz. 411, 989 P.2d 739 (1999), cert. denied, 120 S.Ct. 2705 (2000) (Gila River III).  The high court ruled:  (1) federal reserved water rights extend to groundwater that is not subject to prior appropriation under Arizona law to the extent that groundwater is necessary to accomplish the purpose of a federal reservation, and (2) federal reserved right holders are entitled to greater protection from groundwater pumping than are water users who hold only state law rights.  This means the holder of a federal reserved right to either appropriable surface water or non-appropriable percolating groundwater may be able to enjoin pumping of percolating groundwater that interferes with the use of the federal right, even though a state law user of either appropriable surface water or non-appropriable percolating groundwater would have no similar right to enjoin an interfering use of percolating groundwater.

A statutory system to regulate surface water was adopted in 1919…after which, water users must apply for permits to appropriate surface water.  Most surface water was appropriated early on, and some judicial decrees were issued, but they did not explicitly quantify the reserved rights held for Indian reservations. Two large general stream adjudications (on the Gila and Little Colorado rivers) are now under way to sort out the relative rights of most of the water users in Arizona.  Technically, people can still apply for surface water rights, but very little is available.

New groundwater developments are possible in the Active Management Areas (AMAs), as detailed below.  Outside of AMAs, reasonable use is still the standard, except that some people believe Gila IV expanded the definition of “sub flow” to the point where no percolating groundwater is left.

If water rights are not put to beneficial use for five years, they may be forfeited. As in other Western states, rights may be abandoned if the user fails to use the water and intends to abandon the associated water right.  Gila Water Co. v. Green, 29 Ariz. 304, 241 Pac. 307 (1925).  Changes in the point of diversion, place and purpose of use require application to the DWR and are subject to public notice and protest.  More here–State Water Rights Basics.

Water Right Ownership and Title Examination~ In Arizona, there are several different types of surface and groundwater rights, with several different types of proof of the rights.  In general, except for decreed rights, the DWR has ownership and assignment records.  However, for surface rights in particular, due diligence should include a title search of the land associated with the water right.  Title to groundwater rights can be held separately from the land, and title can be searched through DWR records only.

Arizona state law provides for four types of surface water rights~ All types of surface water rights should be conveyed by deed, not a bill of sale. Notice of the conveyance should be filed with DWR using the DWR’s forms, except for decreed rights.  The first type of a surface water right is one acquired before June 12, 1919, which is evidenced with a statement of claim filed with DWR. The second type of surface right is one acquired after June 12, 1919, pursuant to an application and permit to appropriate water. DWR issues a Certificate of Water Right as evidence of these rights.

The third type of surface water right is a stock pond right. DWR evidences these rights with a Registration of Stock pond filed with DWR and, on rare occasions, with a Certificate of Stock pond Right.  The fourth type of surface water right is a decreed right. These rights have been adjudicated and confirmed by a court. No readily accessible repository exists for these rights, although DWR often has information regarding decreed rights.

Groundwater in Arizona is heavily regulated~ even though the state generally follows the “reasonable use” doctrine instead of the prior appropriation doctrine for groundwater. The Arizona statutes designate AMAs in areas where groundwater aquifers are at risk of being rapidly depleted and provide stringent regulations in those areas. The AMAs include the Phoenix AMA, the Pinal AMA, the Tucson AMA, the Prescott AMA, and the Santa Cruz AMA. Elsewhere in the state, areas have been designated as irrigation non-expansion areas, In these areas, groundwater use is not as heavily regulated as in the AMAs, but new irrigated acreage cannot be developed.

Within the AMAs~ all the types of water rights should be conveyed by deed and the Notice of Conveyance must be filed with the DWR The first type of groundwater right is an irrigation grandfathered groundwater right, which allows the right holder to withdraw and use groundwater for irrigation purposes on a specific piece of property. The DWR issues a certificate of irrigation grandfathered groundwater right as evidence of the right.  Irrigation rights are appurtenant to the land that was historically irrigated and can be conveyed only with that land.[113] In some circumstances, irrigation rights can be retired and converted into Type I non-irrigation rights (discussed below) or can be extinguished to obtain credits that can be used in proving an assured water supply.[114]

Type I non-irrigation grandfathered groundwater rights originate from retired irrigation acreage. The DWR issues a certificate of Type 1 non-irrigation grandfathered groundwater right for a specific amount of water. The right is appurtenant to the historically irrigated acres, but it can only be used for non-irrigation purposes.[116] In limited circumstances, the water withdrawn pursuant to a Type 1 right may be used on land other than the appurtenant acreage.[117] Type 1 rights sometimes can be extinguished to obtain credits that can be used for proving an assured water supply.[118]

The use of Type II non-irrigation grandfathered groundwater rights is less restricted than other groundwater rights in an AMA. The DWR issues a certificate of Type 2 non-irrigation grandfathered groundwater right for a specific amount of water for non-irrigation purposes.  Type 2 rights are freely transferable within the AMA subject only to well spacing requirements.  The right can be leased in whole or in part.[119] In some circumstances, Type 2 rights may be extinguished to obtain credits that can be used to prove an assured water supply.[120]

Within an AMA, it also may be possible to obtain permits to withdraw and use groundwater for the following purposes, general industrial use, dewatering, mining, poor quality groundwater use, temporary electrical generation or dewatering, drainage, and hydrologic testing.  These permits generally are of a short (less than 50 years) duration and are, in most cases, transferable.

The final type of groundwater right in an AMA is a withdrawal from an exempt well.  An exempt well is a well with a maximum pump capacity of 35 gallons per minute.  Exempt wells drilled (or in progress) before April 28, 1983, can be used to divert up to 56 acre feet per year for non-irrigation purposes. Exempt wells drilled after April 28, 1983, can be used to withdraw up to 10 acre feet per year for domestic and stock watering purposes.

Water Rights Due Diligence~ If you are not on municipal water be sure and check out your property whether you have a well or not.  Check with the professionals to find out if there is adequate water in the area, a good well driller educated in the area you are purchasing in is a great source of information to you.  The Arizona Department of Water has lots of informative information about the area and records of wells that perhaps are close to where you will be purchasing.  Know what quality of water is in the area, if a well exists on the property you are purchasing be sure to get a water test for drinking purposes and what systems are recommended to add to your water to make it safe and potable.  A well driller can tell you the GPM, depth and condition of the well.  They can do testing for you.  Records of your well should be on file with the ADWR with a file number – these records can be downloaded for your reference.  A well will need to be transferred at the time of sale to the buyer and there should also be a transfer of the Statement of Claimant which gave notice to the court during the Adjudication process ongoing that the well was transferred to the new buyer.  This form must be signed by the seller to the buyer.  If there is no record of filing then a late filing needs to be filled out and filed with the ADWR.  Their forms are easily accessible on their website. Arizona Department of Water

Surface Water Rights also should be on file with the Arizona Department of Water and need to be transferred as well.

If you are purchasing property with surface water rights or a property that has grandfathered water rights to be transferred be sure a consult with a good water attorney to make sure your Due Diligence check list has been done when it comes to the water rights.  A couple of excellent firms below:

Schroeder Law Offices “We do Everything Water”

Excellent Water Attorney Carlos D. Ronstadt

 

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The Unanticipated Consequences of a Non-Rural National Monument

There are many unintended consequences to owners whose private property adjoins a National Monument, National Park, National Scenic Area, National Heritage Area or any other intensively managed federal land; more so, if said properties should become landlocked inside such federally designated areas, especially a National Monument. A National Monument is the second highest designation in the National Park System; it has the most restrictions and carries with it one of the highest levels of unintended consequences. National parks have the highest designation, and what’s more, many national monuments are eventually converted to National Parks.

Leading up to those unintended consequences are various factors– ignorance and error are the most common.  In the quest for an ideology of “protecting land” that is already protected, (and much of it Wilderness already) citizens have been misled and many of those doing the misleading want the intended consequence so badly that they are purposefully ignoring any of the unintended consequences. This type of willful ignorance is quite different from true ignorance. For example, the city council has not hired an expert attorney to prepare an impact statement, to the community, addressing all the complications and legal ramifications for homeowners or the city.

In their zeal, to turn Sedona, VOC and Oak Creek Canyon into a National Monument, Keep Sedona Beautiful, Inc. has repeatedly told us, “nothing will change.” But it has been clear in all other cases where National Monuments have been established adjacent to populated areas: Things WILL change.

What are the obvious visible consequences of a National Monument landlocking our Private Property in the Verde Valley?

Infrastructure demands that increased tourism will bring, such as wear and tear on roads, additional parking, lodging, and restaurants. Increased demand on police, rescue, and utilities, leaving the local community to pay for the increased costs and live with the traffic burdens. The only method to truly control traffic would be to restrict how many people can come here using gates in the affected areas.

Indirect control and why National Monuments and National Park Areas are such a Threat

The management plan for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (which is a lower designation compared to a National Monument), regulates nearly every detail of private property use, including the color landowners can paint their homes and the species of trees they can plant in their own yard. Living in an area full of near-endangered species leaves us particularly vulnerable to eminent domain abuse and land use losses should we become landlocked in a national monument.

A Verde Valley National Monument Commission would be created to carry out the National Monument’s Management Plan; it would also be responsible for monitoring and hearing appeals of land use decisions. Local counties will be responsible for drafting and enforcing land use ordinances to implement the Federal Management Plan. This is an expensive burden that they can hardly afford.

Zoning and land-use policies become corrupt by adding federal dollars, federal mandates, and federal oversight to the local ordinances, along with an army of special interest groups who call themselves “Stake Holders.”

It must be understood that being inside a National Monument affects all the land in  and around the designated area, not just the federally-owned land! The designation requires a form of contract between state and local governmental entities and the Secretary of the Interior or Department of Agriculture. That contract is to manage the land-use of the region for preservation. That means federal control and zoning, either directly or indirectly under the terms of the “management pact”.

Such “indirect” control is the real danger. In spite of the specific language in the bill which states, “property rights will be protected,” the true damage to homeowners often comes from private groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and preservation agencies which receive public funds to implement the management policies and partnerships. Remember that it is a non-profit, environmental group that has decided what they want our fate to be and has taken away our voice in this illegitimate, faux-public process, while usurping the real elected officials for 80,000 citizens.

Groups in at least forty nine National Heritage Areas convert money THEY receive into political activism to encourage local community and county governments to pass and enforce strict zoning laws.

While this tactic makes it appear that home rule is in force, removing blame from the federal designation, the control is covertly accomplished and is indeed because of the federally designated area. The net result is that private property owner’s rights are usurped, conditional use permit holders, lease holders and other permit holders lose their right to land use and much of the local land use is brought to a standstill.

Verde Valley has Been Selected for a Great Experiment

Not content to merely create a long list of federally owned and managed lands across America, Big Green has selected the Verde Valley to be site of the first and only cities landlocked inside a National Monument. No such area currently exists! History shows that inholders inside National Parks and National Monuments are evicted through eminent domain or forced into what is effectively theft by creation of regulations that home and property owners find too onerous and expensive, and they are therefore effectively forced to sell.

LAND-USE ORDINANCES

All new development and land uses must be reviewed in the National Monument to determine if they are consistent with the implementing land-use ordinances. The development guidelines of the Management Plan are implemented through land-use ordinances which must be consistent with the Management Plan. Counties must adopt and enforce land ordinances that are consistent with the Management Plan. For counties that do not yet have a consistent land-use ordinance, the Commission will adopt and enforce ordinances.

Many uses that were once unregulated (such as new cultivation) would require permits in the National Monument Area. Landowners would be forced to seek permission from their county or the Commission before initiating any new land use or development; even a garden!

LAND ACQUISITION AND EXCHANGES

The Proclamation will direct the Forest Service to acquire and exchange lands to achieve the purposes of the Act if the owners wish to sell or exchange their lands. The Monument mandate is to expand.

Unintended consequence:

The federal government installs a new layer of bureaucracy in your life in a highly complex way the average citizen has no comprehension of. The federal government has the final say over what you can or cannot do on your own property. Unintended consequence: The federal government is more likely to reserve land for near-endangered species (meaning it is off limits to you), stop local building and use eminent domain to seize desirable land plots (as with Petroglyph Monument).

Unintended consequence: The amount of privately held land shrinks the population of Sedona and the surrounding area becomes smaller and consists mainly of timeshare visitors and guests at hotel rooms.  Our communities become shells of their former selves, existing to serve the needs of a growing tourist base.

Unintended consequences: Loss of senior water rights (do your own research to find out why you want to keep your senior water rights); potential to have meters installed on your well by the federal government leaving you to pay a bill for water by the gallon. (Tom O’Halleran, the initiator of this move, worked on a plan to install water meters on people’s private wells in VOC.)

Unintended consequences: Loss of conditional use permits by local property and business owners. Loss of heritage cattle ranching in the area. Loss of land use by dogs = your lost enjoyment. More fees and permits to use our public land for activities such as photography and weddings. Loss of some currently existing roads, less access to land. If roads are removed the land can be converted into Wilderness. Loss of currently existing hiking, biking and equestrian trails. Lack of parking for trail access in west Sedona may force the use of eminent domain to create parking lots. Forced use of shuttle systems to visit areas accessible on unpaved roads that you can currently drive to. Make no mistake, if this area becomes a National Monument, it may become a National Park, in time, and it is highly likely over the course of a decade or two to become depopulated, unless you fight back now!

Please get active and visit Preserve Sedona on Facebook for more meeting dates!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/preservesedona

A Public Forum – Pros & Cons

Save the Date!  When ~ Sept 21, 2015 | 2:00 – 5:00 PM

Where~ Sedona Elks Lodge, 110 Airport Rd., Sedona, AZ

Limited Seating – RSVP today~ gmiller@stewartaz.com

 

Who Created the Trails in Sedona?

The mountain biking community has constructed a large number of the current very popular trails used by hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers. The fairly new Dry Creek Vista trailhead is surrounded by mountain biker created popular trails. Chuckwagon is now a major connector to the Devil’s Bridge formation which is a close second to the West Fork hike. The several year old Adobe Jack trailhead is at the base of the Soldiers Wash multi-use trail system. The majority of those popular trails were created by the mountain biking community in the late 90’s and early 2000, most of those early trails have been adopted by the US Forest Service.

Trail Chart of Mountain Biking-Hiker Trail History Present 3-30-14- Trail Opportunity Hiking, MTB, Equestrian (1)

The most popular iconic hiking/mountain biking system trails in Sedona are Hangover, Hog Heaven and Hiline. Those three trails were constructed by the mountain biking community and would never exist today if the mountain biking community wasn’t involved with the project.

Prior to the mountain biking community being involved with the construction of popular hiking/mountain biking trails there wasn’t the USFS will or resources available to build a comprehensive trail system like we have now. Due to those efforts the USFS has decided popular well constructed trails are good for the local community and individuals visiting Sedona. Currently existing popular trails in the Carroll Canyon and Schuerman Mt. area are in process of being adopted. In the Dry Creek area there is an effort to adopt existing trails and construct a new system of beginner trails for Sedona families and visitors to enjoy.

My hope would be to have the local Sedona community who enjoy the popular trail system more involved with the maintenance of their favorite trail. There were over 50 trails that had been adopted by local citizens, but according to recent FS emails the Adopt-a-Trail program is floundering. I believe with a different approach the Adopt-a-Trail program could be more successful. My idea would be to have a point person help motivate the 50 trail adopters to go out and do some maintenance on the trail they had adopted. The motivation to work on the adopted trail would come from the point person joining the trail adopter and sharing the maintenance experience with them. With a little on hand instruction of simple maintenance practices the trail system could be much better maintained.

Sincerely,

John Finch

“A Deeper Look”

“A Deeper Look”  

Proposed Sedona Verde Valley National Monument Status– AZ

Proposed National Monument–APPROX. 160,000 Acres of Wilderness, Scenic and National Forest LANDS surrounding 25,000+ Acres of Private Lands, to include Sedona, VOC and close by properties, plus 2 state parks & a fraction of state Land.

Impacts & Challenges~

  • Access to private lands within a National monument.
  • Impact on private lands bordering designated National monuments.
  • Tourists, existing roads, traffic, added visitors, community, Coconino Forest usage, and property values, positive and negative aspects of growth.
  • Usability of the land– for recreation, walking, biking and jeep tours.
  • Another layer of US Government overlay with monument status vs current national forest, scenic & wilderness lands.
  • Other designated monuments and what has occurred there, in AZ, and close to us.
  • What kind of US $$ has been provided to sustain these lands vs. what was provided prior to Monument Status.
  • What has the US Govt. done with monument status in order to protect the lands in Arizona?
  • How monument status may change the way we enjoy the National Wilderness & Forest as it is being used now under current management.
  • What impact the two (2) state parks and some state lands have will have within national monument and private lands located within the boundaries of the proposed national monument.
  • The impact on county government and how it serves these areas now vs monument status.
  • Schools and colleges that are possible within the current status of Govt. or State lands may be lost with the change.
  • How the AZ State and the county budgets may change for this area with monument status.
  • Could this area turn into a National park from monument status? How national park status would bring additional restrictions for the intended overall purpose.
  • Water -This proposed area encompasses some of the head waters of the richest water resource in the State of AZ – and water rights seem to be a real issue here and mineral rights.
  • Mining – affects with the change and more. What is the AZ legislation doing about the recent monument designations in AZ and the Western States?

    Answers Here.

For more answers, RSVP for the Public Forum “Pros an Cons” Sept 21, 2pm to 5 pm at gmiller@stewartaz.com.

National Monument Purpose

To protect, set aside and preserve lands, water, minerals and wild life.  Lands are chosen because of their special beauty and for the purpose of researching ancient history and cultures with preservation and conversation emphasis. Extra protection provided from terrorist attacks in these areas once they are a National monument or Park.

The SVV Red Rock National monument seems to be stand alone and unique in the history of the US as it relates to its location; surrounded within a thriving tourist city, contiguous to, and close by a community of around 80,000 people collectively.  Monument status is more appropriate in remote areas as its intended purpose and management plan is to keep people off of it and preserve wildlife, antiquities and natural resources.

 The Antiquities Act of 1906 was created to allow the President to designate huge amounts of acreage into National monuments with no State congressional input or review.   More Here…

There is quite a bit of ambiguity in this Act which allows for National monument designation and has posed much controversy in its nature of definition, or lack thereof.

Although the initial intention may have been good, over time present issues and unchecked authority have brought about a bigger and different picture:  one where the US Government’s Management Plan of National Monuments is aimed at setting aside these vast lands for public use, reserving water, mineral entitlements, and general preservation for the Western part of the United States in keeping them protected from enterprise, public recreation, hunting, ranching, mining, driving, roads, extension of utilities and more.  The Management Plan seems to exclude preserving the rights and liberties of the average citizen who is a resident and has enjoyed these lands for years.

The US Government seems to have a larger plan and scope- Key points are to preserve water, wildlife, antiquities and ancient history by preservation and control.  These targeted areas are vast and many in the Western United States; some of which have been entitled already and ongoing.  Water rights, minerals and lands are given over to public lands and the entitled senior rights become public for the US Government under Monument designation.

Arizona, as it relates to the US, has one of the smallest amounts of private land (only 18.3%); the rest is State or Government owned or controlled.   A substantial part of the funding for these public lands is coming from the 18.3% of privately owned property.  In Arizona, the percentage of private lands is continuing to decrease and is transferring into more public lands.  The State of AZ is having difficulties balancing their budget and many important programs are suffering, including education and schools as a result.

We have a proposed National monument before us in the Sedona-Verde Valley AZ. Encompassing around 160,000 acres, half of which is presently National Wilderness areas, scenic areas, special wetlands,  two (2) state parks, a bit of state land and huge amounts of private land, all within its proposed boundary.  Nestled up against one of the 15 most visited cities in Arizona.  Sedona is number 5.  More Here…

A significant amount of its proposed boundaries abut the Sedona city limits, stretch out to the Village of Oak Creek’s commercial and residential property boundaries and encompass unincorporated private lands nearby. In researching most of the National monument and Parks, none seem to be so close to the city limits or a town but rather isolated from them.

The implications and impacts that would affect the hustle and bustle of a city with a huge tourist center are paramount in the decision making of such a proposal.  The use of our Forest, as we know it today, will change and fees will go up and funnel through the US Federal Government (just like the Grand Canyon National Park) and some will flow back to us, here.  Many times, funds collected are spent for other things than intended.

Sedona’s life’s blood is tourism – because of its beauty – around 3.5 Million visitors come yearly to see this area and enjoy.

Presently the Coconino National Forest in conjunction with the Red Rock Ranger District manages a vast amount of the area, along with the help of local preservation and grant raising local groups and the county and cities plus the community collectively.   Tourists enjoy wonderful walking trail systems, biking, weddings, and beauty to behold.

A New Deal~

Existing laws that are in place with National Monument Status

National Monuments and Icons Sector-Specific Plan 2010  An Annex to the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) provides the unifying structure for the integration of critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR) protection efforts as part of a coordinated national program.

The National Monuments and Icons (NMI) SSP describes a collaborative effort among the various Federal Government agencies to have equities within the NMI Sector and will result in the prioritization of protection initiatives and recommendations investments within the NMI Sector as a whole.

NATIONAL MONUMENT NEPA COMPLIANCE ACT

In a speech in Congress by Rep. Don Young (R-AK), on Sep 24, 1999, he asks, “Why does the President of the United States have the prerogative to make a small in holder, in my state, owning just 20 acres inside a 6-million-acre park, pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to conduct extensive NEPA studies (on behalf of the Park Service) just to have access to his property? How can he justify this at the same time the public–American citizens–cannot ask for these studies when millions of acres of land are about to be declared a monument?”  More Here

No city or town has ever been landlocked inside a National monument-   The needs of a busy city are incongruent with the restrictions of a National monument.  Studies of the economic impact of National monuments on an area have stated that, “land locking a national monument may not be legal;” no one is sure as it has never been done. Real issues are water, sewer, power, roads, insecticides, herbicides, firefighting all of which may become a point of contention and may be banned or require EIS and NEPA studies costing millions of dollars.  If so we will be forced to pay for those studies, even on private land.  It would be rare that any new utilities or roads are ever allowed in a national monument and repairs may require NEPA studies.

National monuments have turned into national parks later- Property rights; a National monument is a federal parkland or conservation unit. Should a national monument become a national park?  Federal parklands are much more restrictive than the US Forest.  Case law shows in the last twenty years that the government uses the property clause of the U.S. Constitution to restrict what one can and cannot do on their own private property near federal park lands and you may be required at any time to perform a NEPA Study or an EIS Environmental Impact StudyThese studies cost between hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars and take years to perform.  You may have any kind of restriction imposed upon your private land if any species of wildlife enters your area; our area is home to near-endangered animals.

The National monument will have a directive to protect wildlife and thiscicada-460x360 includes insects.

When a park land locks private property those properties are called “in holders.”  In this case Sedona and VOC homes would be landlocked inside a federal park.

The US Property Clause

The Property Clause of the U.S. Constitution states that “Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other property belonging to the United States …” (Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2).

The U.S. government owns 30% of the land within its territory, and a far higher percentage in western states. In Nevada, the U.S. government owns over 80% of the land.  More Here…

New layer of control over private property- We now have counties and city municipalities in the form of the Local Land Use Program Administration, and the Jurisdictional Inquiry Unit, which provides advice to landowners and potential project sponsors regarding Agency jurisdiction, including informal phone advice and written jurisdictional determinations? Staff helps citizens determine if an Agency permit or variance is required. Determinations often require a full deed history and other legal and factual research. The Jurisdictional Inquiry Staff also handles referrals from other agencies, telephone calls and walk-in members of the public.  With NM status we will have a whole new layer of control.

More restrictions on public land usage we currently enjoy- You have a right to be in your public land, but being inside a national monument is a privilege!

You would see a loss of mountain biking trails (99% of our trails were made by bikers) the elimination of some trails, inability to create new trails, loss of back country travel in your vehicle, more roads closures and no new roads, loss of ability to hike with your dog; dogs may chase wildlife and are mostly unwelcome inside national monuments, unless the monument is devoid of wildlife like White Sands.

Present monuments status-  Right now we have the right to enjoy OUR public lands. Monument are a privilege to be in!

National Monuments have a directive to buy up inholdings- Private organizations will start buying property in order to sell it back to the federal government.

Our Ranchers will lose access to graze cattle as they cannot comply with the new NEPA requirements.  Cattle keep our grass short to prevent wildfires and supply jobs and food.  It is an industry that will be phased out with National monument Status.  Around 6 different Ranchers and cattle operations use these lands for grazing with permits within the present proposed National monument.

Water rights Loss of senior water rights as it relates to National monument status.

Federal Reserved Water Rights

Development and Status of Federal Reserved Water Rights:

When the United States reserves public land for uses such as Indian reservations, military reservations, national parks, forest or monuments, it also implicitly reserves sufficient water to satisfy the purposes for which the reservation was created.  Both reservations made by Presidential executive order and those made by an act of Congress have implied reserved rights.  The date of priority of a federal reserved right is the date the reservation was established.

The federal reserved water rights doctrine was established by the US Supreme Court in 1908 in Winters v. United States.   More Here…

Using the Antiquities Act to turn Sedona into a National monument Keep Sedona Beautiful, Inc. has taken on the position of acting as the representative for around 80,000 residents in the entire Sedona Verde Valley area, and stepping around Congress, in order to get their agenda passed with no proper public process.

Over one thousand lawsuits have been filed against the federal government and the plaintiffs always lose to the federal government whether it is the State or a private land owner. NEPA study lawsuits occur every year and law firms specialize in dealing with NEPA lawsuits as well.

National monuments are great when they are isolated away from a city or town, probably not so great when you live inside one.

Take Action Now! Become involved~ voice your opinion on social media and or in print media contact or email your state and federal elected officials:
Sylvia Allen LD6, Sen. 602-926-5409 sallen@azleg.gov
Steve Pierce LD1 Sen. 602-926-5584 spierce@azleg.gov
Brenda Barton LD6 Rep. 602-926-4129 bbarton@azleg.gov
Bob Thorpe, LD6 Rep. 602-926-5219 bthorpe@azleg.gov
Noel Campbell, LD1 Rep. 602-926-3124 ncampbell@azleg.gov
Karen Fann, LD 1 Rep. 602-926-5874 kfann@azleg.gov
John McCain, Sen. 202-224-2235 http://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cftn/contact-form
Jeff Flake, Sen 202-224-4521 http://www.flake.senate.gov/public/index.cftn/contact-jeff
Paul Gosar, CD4 Rep. 202-225-2315 http://paulgosar.house.gov/contact/
Ann Kirkpatrick, CD1 Rep. 202-225-3361 https://kirkpatrick.house.gov/contact/email-me

You may sign a petition here~

Vote “No”

Vote “Yes”

Come out to the up and coming meetings on the proposed monument. Get informed!

Calendar of Sedona Verde Valley Red Rock Proposed National Monument

Outstanding Public Forum Event- SVV National Monument Issues

Pros & Cons

Top Speakers & Panel –  Special Guest Speaker 1 hour Q&A.

Sept 21st 2015 2-5 PM Elks Lodge 110 Airport Rd, Sedona, AZ 86336

RSVP to Stewart Title Sedona, AZ  Gina Miller-  gmiller@stewartaz.com

Dinner will be served –do not miss this event sponsored by the Sedona Verde Valley Board of Realtors RSVP Now.  Free Event.

How to Achieve a Successful Closing

How to Achieve a Successful Closing:

By Patti Nelsen at Empire West Title Agency

www.ewtaz.com

1). Contract deposited into Escrow:  We need all contact information for both buyers and selSigning contractslers as there are FDI regulations that do stipulate that Title companies must send out opening documents within 3 days of opening of escrow.  All contact information can be filled in on the signature page and add anything missing such as email addresses and phone numbers.  Then we won’t have to bother the agents whom are already very busy people.

2).  Open Documents:  We email and cc all agents on the open documents so that you know that is a completed task.  It is important to urge your clients to return those open documents to us right away.  All the information we need to process our escrow and order payoffs and HOA’s come from those Opening documents.   Also, the buyer’s information is pertinent as well because that tells us how they will use the property and how they want to take title.  All the information in the open docs is vital and time sensitive.

3).  Close date:  The COE is crucial, as that is how we organize deadlines.   We use a “closing calendar” that tells us everything about the closing and if buyers and sellers are in or out of town for closing.   Often, we are not notified of buyers or sellers being out of town for the closing.   If we are well informed, your closing will go much smoother.  THE WORST THING TO DO in an escrow is set a close date for the end of the month.  Every title company and every lender are overwhelmed to meet close date deadlines on a national level  in the last week of any month.

4). Contract specific addendums:  These need to be attached to the purchase contract if they apply, i.e.: HOA, Septic, Well, etc.   If those addendums are not attached, we don’t know who is paying what.  If the addendums are forgotten at the time the contract is signed, in most cases, the seller then becomes responsible for paying various fees if the pertinent addendums are not completed and signed at contract signing outlining which party is paying which fees.

5).Communication:  This is most important for a successful close.  If we know ahead of time all the details, and during the transaction, what comes up, I can suggest solutions, as I feel a big part of my job is troubleshooting and being proactive when issues arise.  I can honestly say there is a solution to anything.

6). Education:  I stay on top of the upcoming and never ending changes and I do get out and teach classes to agents so that they too can stay on top of the changes that could affect a closing.

7). Traveling signings:  Our office caters to the entire Verde Valley and we also will travel to other locations for signings especially if there are elderly buyers or sellers or people that might have special needs.

8). BINSR:  It is very important that we have the entire copy of the BINSR on all transactions.  I find most often I have to request this document on many files.  The BINSR is the key to repairs, agreements and often, there are credits given to the buyer in lieu of repairs.  I need that document to make sure I include any agreements or monetary amounts on the HUD.  In the event of cancellation, I need the entire BINSR, as well, so that I can count the inspection days and determine who gets the Earnest Money.

My cell phone is available and can be found on my emails and business cards.  I personally feel if agents are working 24/7, then so am I.  I also get up at 4 am to get on my work emails and I’m in my work emails during the weekend in case someone needs my expertise during non-business hours. The favorite part of my job is troubleshooting and problem solving.  In 37 years of service in the Title industry, I have seen it all.  Nothing comes to me as a surprise anymore so we are here to assist in any way we can with a team of experts that have devoted their careers to the Real Estate Industry. We would be honored to work with you.

INSURANCE : Four Ways to Save on Title Insurance

INSURANCE    4  Ways to Save on Title Insurance

Buyers can save $$ off policies if they are willing to ask questions and get independent guidance.

  1. Ask for the “simultaneous issue rate.” Simultaneous Issue Rate – When referring to title insurance, the simultaneous issue rate is the reduced rate for a Loan Policy or Owner’s Policy of title insurance ssued on the same property or loan at the same time as another policy. The term usually refers to a Loan Policy issued at the same time as an Owner’s Policy when a property is purchased. Asking for “simultaneous issue rate” can net savings.
  2. Ancillary fees, copies, courier, signing, Fed Ex, etc.
  3. Bring in your Old Title Insurance Policy – if you go with the same company many times you will get a discount on your insurance with the new transaction.
  4. If you are an investor or commercial buyer ask for a commercial/investor discount.

The fees are generally about 1 percent of the sales price for your escrow and title fees.

Some Tips~  When potential home buyers find their dream homes, they’re often too busy dreaming about paint colors or new furniture to worry about title insurance.

A title policy is an important protection that helps defend buyers (and their lenders) from future property ownership claims, surprise liens or otherwise cloudy titles.

Title insurance includes a two-part process. First, there is a search of a property’s title history to determine if there are any errors or problems with the deed. Second, an insurance policy is underwritten to protect the buyer if a problem is later discovered.

Cheaper however, is not always better, become familiar with the types of policies available and what they cover.  Ask for a punch list outlining the different coverages available.  Sometimes there are endorsement riders that may be prudent to ask for in certain situations.  With inspections to a property by the title company they may be able to offer certain endorsements beneficial or a better coverage.  A good resource for rates in your state or rules is www.alta.org

Understand the basic outline of the Preliminary Title Report you receive during your escrow and what is being insured, the face value and if this value will increase with the value of the property over time being insured.  Ask what your options are with respect to actual insurance coverage .

There are basically 3 parts to a Preliminary Title Insurance Policy~

Schedule  A– What they are insuring, the property.title_insurance

Schedule B-  Requirements called for during the escrow to perform to be able to issue the policy to the buyer and or lender.

Schedule B- Exceptions – What is not insured, but rather what the property is subject to you are purchasing.  ie. Deed Restrictions, Easements, HOA governing documents etc.

Buyers would be cautioned to get a second set of eyes, someone who has an independent thought and who is well-versed in real estate. The best person for that is often an attorney.

If you have questions about Schedule B- Exceptions that are not clear in defining where an easement or road exists a Surveyor would be helpful to help read the documents, legal descriptions and tell you where they exist and how it affects the property your purchasing.

Your title company can show you where an exception,  (book and page) is located sometimes on a map which is helpful.

Often, reducing your expenses on certain items can be as simple as calling up the title insurance company and saying, ‘I really do not want to pay these fees, can you remove them?  Be fair and understand that they are in business to make money just like you are but it does not hurt to ask!

et

What’s the Difference Between a Title Company and an Escrow Agency?

What’s the Difference Between a Title Company & an Escrow Agency?

Often it is not said, or asked, instead it is misunderstood by many, witnessed by the fact that they usually use the term “escrow” when they mean “title” and vice versus. People say them interchangeably, as if they were the exact same thing.

A title company is the one who issues the title insurance policies, while an escrow agency is the one who attends to the many details involved in opening, maintaining, and closing a real estate sale transaction.

Title companies are almost always large, hugely diversified, publicly-traded corporations. Many title companies in Arizona also operate their own escrow offices under the same brand name as the actual title insurer, while other firms are exclusively in escrow side. This has been the case here in Arizona for many years and is now a growing trend throughout the country.Slide3family

Stand-alone escrow agencies are not “title” as that is not their business; these are typically smaller entities with less “financial muscle” that a full-fledged title company. For purposes of illustration, let’s use the analogy of some of the common differences between a mortgage banker & a mortgage broker for comparison–a related segment of the industry that most do already understand the differences.

More often than not it takes a significantly larger amount of capital to be a mortgage banker than a mortgage broker. The same holds true with a title company versus being purely an escrow agency. Generally speaking, a title company is a more substantial operation with larger financial backing and stability, whereas escrow agencies are smaller, generally speaking.

You can know the difference at a glance, as it must be said on virtually all of their materials the word “Agency”. An “Agency” however many times has several Title Insurance Companies they are affiliated with and sometimes this benefits you in obtaining the best title insurance for your specific transaction. This can be very helpful in getting a competitive Insurance Policy that covers more with a specific type of property.  For example a property in a recorded subdivision vs. a property by Metes and Bounds description.  Also certain Title Companies will allow certain endorsements that others may not.

Ask for punch list of what the insurance policy covers, and the types of policies offered, including any endorsements that may be available for your transaction, and compare!

et 

Streamlining your Escrow and Title Insurance Experience

10 STEPS TO AN EFFICIENT ESCROW, TITLE INSURANCE AND CLOSING!

  1. Ownership and Taxation – are key things to know prior to going into escrow.

 Be informed and consult your CPA and Real Estate Attorney.

  1. Gather the necessary information needed to open the escrow:
For Buyer(s) and Sellers(s):
  • Your full names
  • The way you will take title
  • Your correct mailing address and contact information
  • Email and phone numbers for all parties in the transaction
For Sellers:
  • The last title report when you purchased the property may be very helpful and save you $$ if you use the same Title Company again
  • A complete, fully signed purchase contract with all the buyer’s and seller’s signatures
  • Copy of any Well registration or Irrigation water rights
  • Copy of sanitation permits of record
If you have acquired the property from an Estate:
  • Copies of the documents that gave you the right to sell- Death Certificate of the deceased.
If you plan to acquire the property in a Trust or an LLC:
  • Copies of documents that give you the right to sign for the entity.

If you will close escrow prior to the time the entity is complete, then you will need to negotiate a hold over for title insurance of the new entity when it is complete.  Understand that if you change the deed, the title insurance you have will no longer be good if you do not negotiate for insurance on the new entity. 

Ask up front for all the Preliminary Title Report exceptions not insured and copies of the documents.  If they are easements and the like if they can show where they are on a map would be great.

  1. Define the critical time lines of your escrow.
  1. Know how long you have to do things timely – this is key.
Opening of Escrow Date and Fully Signed Contract Date starts your feasibility inspection period. 

Inspection Feasibility Period – It is important to know what things you want to inspect and knowand timely set up the folks you want to inspect, certify, review the property you are about to purchase, home inspectors, surveyors, home warranty plans, insurance you are taking out, flood insurance if applicable, inspection of permits, preliminary title reports, deed restrictions, utilities to serve the property, soil tests, and the like.  It is a good idea to go over the Buyers Advisory and or Sellers Advisory and early on lay out what you want to make sure of.  Give enough time on the Inspection Feasibility period to be able to accomplish what you want to do and get the results back for review prior to the end of this period.

When your preliminary title report comes in – read it thoroughly and ask any questions.  Make sure of your legal insurable access and items on Schedule B that they make exception to not insured, but rather what your property is subject to.

  1. If you are applying for a Loan – go through the pre-qualification process and obtain preliminary approval prior to going into escrow

You should already have a preliminary loan approval prior to completing the purchase contract.  Work closely with your lender to provide ALL the necessary paper work they will need to get you qualified in underwriting to purchase the property.  This is vital to a smooth transaction. Pick a lender you feel confident in that will make the process easier and be timely with the process and communicate timely with you.  Check them out to see what they have done in the past with other customers as yourself.  Ask for a GSE right away, telling you what your loan costs are going to be up front and your monthly payment. . .

Escrow imageWithin 5 days of a fully signed contract your lender should provide an LSU – Loan Status Update with more information completed to move forward to submitting the loan in underwriting for you.  This LSU needs to be submitted to the seller’s agent for the seller.

  1. Complete all your inspections, research & read your preliminary title report fully prior to the End of your feasibility period.

 You must notify in writing any things you object to – to your Real Estate Agent and or the Seller.  And give them an opportunity to respond and fix or negotiate these items till all minds are clear.

Just as soon as the Buyers Inspection and Sellers Response is completed and there is as meeting of the minds.

  1. The appraisal needs to be ordered right away if there is going to be a loan

 With an appraisal needed, notify your lender up front to let them know when this will be completed a week prior to completion is a great idea because it usually takes them several days from the time they order an appraisal for the appraiser to come out to do the appraisal.

Make sure that any items that are to be fixed have been done timely and you have inspected the results prior to the appraisal.  Many of these things may be required in an appraisal and it is better to get them out of the way ahead of time so the appraiser does not have to come back and re-inspect this will waste time in your escrow timeline.

Once the appraisal comes in, if the property appraises for the sale price then you are good to go and your lender should be ready to submit the entire transaction to underwriting if you have provided everything to them timely.

  1. Underwriting approval

Be prepared to submit more paper work from the underwriter, they will be very thorough in going over all your financial paper work and job history.  Have it all in order ahead of time and do NOT do other financial decision making while in the process of being qualified for a loan – this can cause you to have a new picture that sometimes may disqualify you for the loan you are already qualified for.  Focus of what is at hand and have all your ducks in a row and complete.

Cash Buyer

If you are a cash buyer the process is somewhat easier, you do not need to qualify for a loan however you will need to go through the Feasibility Inspection period and complete all you want to know about during that time period.

Once your feasibility period has ended and you move forward with the transaction usually your earnest money is non-refundable to the seller.  If you are financing residential property then if you loan does not get approved then it may be refundable to you if you have not breached the contract and worked in a timely manner.

Once you loan is approved, be available to sign the loan closing documents timely and give instructions of where you will be.  If out of state communicate with the title company on where you will be and make yourself available timely.

Arrange for your funds to be wired or brought in with a cashier’s check to the title company a day or two before the closing date including your insurance binder on the property.

Ask for your HUD 1 or Closing Statement at that time to go over as soon as it is available and ask about any costs you do not understand – bring out your GSE you got when applying for the loan and go over your closing statement with regard to your loan costs.

Once you sign your final documents if you are applying for a loan the lender will finally approve the documents and once that is completed the transaction will close quickly, title companies record the closing electronically and you will close escrow.

9.   Preparing to close

Be available to do a final walk through the property or inspect the property right before close to make sure everything is in the same condition and you are ready to take possession of the property.

Make arrangements with the utility companies to transfer your services and coordinate with the seller in the transfer or turn off of utilities.

Leave all keys garage door openers and instructions, warranties inside the property so that the buyer can have easy access to them.   Make arrangements to get a key to get in at closing day.  Make arrangements with the utility companies to transfer your services and coordinate with the seller in the transfer or turn off of utilities.  Call your insurance company of the changes

  1. Closing Day

The closing date should be thought out in the beginning giving you enough time to go through your feasibility inspection period, and your lender enough time to process the loan to closing.  Vital things that make an escrow smooth.  The closing date is an exciting date for you the buyer, the seller and your Realtor.  It should be a fun exciting experience and you will experience the ownership of a new property.  Make arrangements to get a key to get in at closing day.

Have a happy closing day!

ET                                                                                                                                                    

Seven Simple Steps to Confidence and Success in 2015

SEVEN SIMPLE STEPS TO CONFIDENCE & SUCCESS IN 2015

1. Stop comparing yourself to others.

The worst thing you can do is compare yourself to others. Remember that you’re seeing the surface of their lives, not the underlying reality. Focus instead on what’s important–your own strengths and goals.

2. Remember that the loudest is not the most confident.

We tend to look to the blow-your-own-horn types as the confident ones–but some of the mostsuccessful people are gentle giants, humble and self-effacing people who turn out to be the strongest, people we admire more and more as we come to appreciate their depth.

3. Keep your limiting beliefs at bay.

Even the most successful people have limiting beliefs about themselves, but the biggest difference is that they choose to focus on their strengths and possibilities instead of their limits.

4. Live in a positive reality.

Don’t say anything about yourself that you don’t want to become a reality. Positive thoughts and words alone won’t make you a more confident person, but confident people do think a lot of positive things about themselves. Remind yourself of what you’re capable of and what you’ve already accomplished.

5. Don’t mask it.

Self-confidence isn’t the impression you give others but how you feel about yourself. It’s all about who you are, where you are, and where you want to be in your own life and leadership.

6. Change what you can.

Confident people know they cannot change the past, but they can change the future. They make daily choices that lead them toward the future they want to live out.

7. Be fully committed.

Be fully committed to doing whatever you set out to do.

Make it a wonderful successful happy 2015!

et 

5 Steps to Making the Right Purchase.

Back Side-Forward Approach~ IT REALLY WORKS!

How do I do the smart thing and make a good decision?

Do you ever think, to yourself that it seems overwhelming; where do you start?

Whether you are an InvestorConventional or First time homebuyer; Commercial purchaser; or looking for land,there are basic steps for defining your goals, needs, and wants when it comes to purchasing real estate. By following these steps, and using your knowledge and clearly defined purpose, you will help avoid time-wasting worry about NOT making a good decision.

The smart thing to do is to ask yourself what are your goals? What do you need and what do you want to accomplish? By having this focus, you are able to move forward and foresee clearly the goals you have set, and thereby attain them.

But if you just say to yourself,  “I need to buy a home, or business, or piece of land…” and then proceed not knowing yourself or what you really want or need, you will set yourself up for defeat, or at least a struggle to close.

Let’s get right into some basic steps to give you a firm footing on what it is you want to accomplish.

Back Side forward approach~ if you know what the entire story is you have a much better chance of making the right decision to start with.

Step 1 ~ 

Find out what resources you have available to help with your purchase, and what you may qualify for. While liquid cash, or taking from your other means of funds to obtain liquid cash, is important, there are other ways to accomplish what you will need to bring the entire event together.  Concessions, loan programs that may assist you, up to date loan programs, some of which will really help you with out of pocket fees and costs can make qualifying for your purchase, a reality.

LENDERS ~

Pick a lender that is well qualified and has programs that will benefit you.  Sit down and interview with your lender to find out a few things — where you stand, what loan programs best fit your situation and if they have them.  Not all lenders have the same programs, some may be a niche program that some do not offer.  In this case they may be able to refer you to a lender that will work.   Ask what the total costs to obtain a the loan you are asking for and what is the interest rate you will be paying, finally how long does it take them to process a loan to final approval.  Be sure to ask for estimated loan closing costs and get a GSE.  Keep these and ask questions where needed to make sure you understand what is given you.   All of these things are vital to your purchase.  There are also niche products that provide for the buyer who does not fit the general requirements for a loan that is sold on the secondary market.  Get to know your lender.  (Click here for my “Featured Residential Lender.)

If you cannot qualify for conventional financing, there are also other means of financing perhaps the owner or a private lender may finance you subject to the Dodd Frank Act Rules, or you may be able to Lease with an Option to Purchase certain properties giving you time to qualify for a conventional loan.

Even if you are an all cash buyer, it may be prudent to explore other avenues, that may be a more efficient and positive way to purchase, in your portfolio, or adjust some things that make very good sense financially.  Borrowing from your “Retirement Account” at a low rate may be a prudent way of financing your property, if it is allowable.  It may provide for a substantial down payment, giving you the opportunity for no “MI” Mortgage Insurance and a very good low interest rate as a preferred loan, leaving your cash to a good investment that is diversified with a positive track record making more money for you.  That way you are paying yourself back the interest you’re borrowing, adding to your retirement account at a higher rate than you are presently earning possibly and getting a better loan up front on your purchase.

Once you are prequalified and set with a good lender, of your choice, and know what your financing options are, you have completed the first step and can move forward with definition.  If there are still outstanding issues that are keeping you from getting into a good position to prequalify, then talk with your lender and get advisement from him/her on what needs to be done to put you in a better position. Write those things down as a punch list to complete and complete it as quickly as possible.  A good lender will be happy to help you with that process.

Step 2 ~

What do I want, to meet my goals and needs.

Define the areas, the size and age of the property you wish to purchase.  Write down your needs and if you are flexible on the areas, style and/or age then you will have a broader availability of properties to choose from.

There is more than one road to Rome!  If what you need you cannot afford – then take the things you must have and work from there. It may be you can find a property that has good guts / bones or you can add on a master bedroom suite and bath.  You can hire a contractor to bid the upgrades the property for your lender that will meet your needs and apply for a loan that allows up to 50% improvement to the loan package and the licensed contractor can make the property into what you need a want at a total price of what you can afford.  You will have improved the neighborhood and the property by doing so, winding up with something you really love.  In this process you will need a good General Contractor to take a look at the property up front prior to making your offer.  During your “Feasibility Period” you will need a firm bid from your Contractor to turn into your lender and make sure the “package” will work.

Once you have defined what you want and need and the area you want to be located in you have finished your 2nd step.

Step 3 

THE CURRENT MARKET!  Educate yourself on the current market of what is available and what things are selling for in your price range.   How do you do this?  There are several ways.  For  the most part we all have very busy schedules these days and do not have a lot of time to spend hours looking for things.  There are ways to know the market you want to purchase in very effectively.

Set up auto emails from several sources to send you properties that are within your criteria.  Hire a professional “Realtor” to help you with your purchase, sit down and ask some questions, such as their knowledge of the area you are looking in, years in business, ask for some referrals you could talk to that they have sold properties to, bankers that would give a recommendation that they have worked with.  Read their Bio and check on the Arizona Department of Real Estate Web site to look them up to confirm their time in business and activity.  Also you can check on the Arizona Association of Realtors web site to see what designations they have.  If you are looking to purchase in the Sedona Verde Valley you are lucky in that there are quite a few well qualified excellent Realtors in the area and you can pick someone that you feel will really help you move forward.

Once you have picked a good Realtor to help you with your purchase stick with them, honor your decision and give them direction. Give them a job description and set them marching.  Ask them to send you auto emails of properties that may work for you.  As you see things that may be of interest, email them for more information on the property.  Zillow is also a great place to set up auto emails and look for market trends along with Realtor.com –  Your Realtor will set up a Portal for you in the MLS which will give you information and new things as it is happening, live time.  So you will be informed timely of things that you may want to take a look at.  To save time have several homes that will work lined up.  There may be one you really want to see right away – then set an appointment and move forward quickly.

Step 4 ~ 

Find the right property and make an offer.    Sometimes this is not always as easy as it sounds but if you have educated yourself on where the market is, you will be a lot more at ease with your decision. The Sedona Verde Valley market moves rather fast on properties that are a good value and there is not a lot of inventory out there to pick from with residential purchases in the median closed sales price ranges, but there is always new listings coming on the market and sometimes existing escrows do not close and the property comes back on the market so be ready to move quickly if you know what you want.  If it’s just not there, then think of finding a very good value on a piece of land most of which is still very soft on the market yet, but starting to rise and package a new home on a lot and have it built.  This process will probably take about 1 year from the start to the closing and move in. Certain Realtors are very good at this process as well and can help you all the way through to move in.

Step 5 ~ Escrow and closing

This is also a very important part of your purchase.  The Title Insurance Company or the escrow company along with your personal escrow officer will handle your transaction: understanding the best way to take title, and the title insurance you are getting;  what the property is subject to and what you are getting insurance on.    Timing is everything and understanding the escrow process is important.  Your Realtor can guide you through the process.   The buyer has the right to pick the title company, however bank owned properties will usually not pay for the title insurance unless you go with their title company because they generally have a base file and get discounts from their own picked title company.  Sellers who are developers usually want their title company because of the base files and discounts, to developers, that title companies offer.

When you finally close your property, you will  have experience something new and learned a  lot!.  If you have purchased a lot of property, still you will have possibly new experience and knowledge.  And most of all you will wind up with a property you really want, and can enjoy!

The three people that make up a very important part of your Team,  your Lender, your Realtor, and your Escrow Company. . . these folks can be a very valuable asset to you with your purchase.   Pick them wisely and do your part!

The ownership of Real Estate is one of the most profitable assets you will ever invest in!

Tip – gain wealth and save by adding principal payments at will to your loan every month – set up an auto payment through your bank account to fund principal only payments in addition to your minimum monthly payment.  This may pay off your loan in much less time!

et – 01/2015