After television appearances by two Arizona REALTOR® presidents and a social media campaign targeting hundreds of thousands of potential home buyers and sellers, volunteers from six different state associations spent half-a-day answering calls during the inaugural Ask-A-REALTOR® Hotline on November 4.

2015 Ask-A-REALTOR® Hotline
Thanks to REALTORS® Jim Robinette (Casa Grande), Sharon Applewhite (Phoenix), Marge Lindsay
(Phoenix), LeAnn Carver (Prescott), Dani Lawrence (Flagstaff), Eric Gibbs Sr. (Tucson) and Duane Fouts (Scottsdale) for donating their time and expertise to answer consumer questions.

Below are answers to the Top 10 Hotline Questions which could help you field similar questions, or provide content for your own blog or social media outlets.

  1. Q: As a first-time home buyer, where do I start?
    A: First, get pre-qualified with a lender. If you don’t have a lender, ask a REALTOR® for referrals. To find a REALTOR®, look at for-sale signs in the neighborhood you want to move into, ask your friends or family, and try the FIND A REALTOR® tool on The most important thing to do is to get qualified first.
  2. Q: The property next door to me is in bad shape. How can I get them to spruce up their yard?
    A: If they’ve ignored your requests, file a complaint with your HOA (if you have one) or with your city’s code enforcement agency should the property pose a potential hazard.
  3. Q: Should I get a reverse mortgage and if so, will I only get part of the value of my home?
    A: Shop around, use a mortgage professional and make sure you know about all fees imposed both at the start of the process, and at the end of the loan. Click here to see the Top 10 Things to Know if You’re Interested in a Reverse Mortgage.
  4. Q: What does my daughter need to do to get her home ready to sell; should she sell first or go ahead and buy?
    A: Share some decluttering tips and advise her to start working with a REALTOR® now for tips on a specific home and location. As far as whether to sell or buy first, ask your lender.
  5. Q: Are there still incentives for new home buyers?
    A: Yes, call a lender of your choice to find the best programs, or click here for more information from the Arizona Housing Alliance.
  6. Q: I’m expecting a cash offer on my home, but my REALTOR® said to expect a price reduction. Is that normal and how much is usual?
    A: Buyers may feel that sellers are saving money with a cash offer. It’s not uncommon for them to offer less initially, but there are no norms. Discuss this with your REALTOR® when the offer is received.
  7. Q: Can a tenant unilaterally cancel if they want? What if doctor says they need to relocate?
    A: Military may be able to break a lease (see § 535 [Sec. 305] of the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act), but typically a doctor’s note is not a legitimate reason. Ask your landlord about subleasing or contact your attorney for legal advice. If you don’t have an attorney, try the Arizona State Bar’s “Find A Lawyer” tool.
  8. Q: I’m thinking about buying a condo soon because rents are rising. What should I be aware of, what are my first steps and who pays my REALTOR®?
    A: Contact a lender and a REALTOR®, and be sure to review any home owner’s association governing documents before completing your purchase. As far as a typical buyer-broker agreement, the seller pays a commission to their own agent, and the seller’s REALTOR® pays a commission to the buyer’s REALTOR®.
  9. Q: I’ve lived in my home for years and am going to sell in a year to a year-and-a-half. What recommended improvements get the best return besides paint and carpet?
    A: Kitchen and bathrooms. Click here for 10 Cheap Ways to Increase a Home’s Value.
  10. Q: I’ve found water damage since buying my home – including in a weight-bearing wall less than a week ago. What can I do?
    A: Pull your inspection report and ask the inspector to review it with you, then call your REALTOR® to voice your concerns as well.

2016 AAR President Paula Sexton_2015 President Jim Sexton
2016 AAR President Paula Serven on Arizona Midday and 2015 President Jim Sexton on Sonoran Living.

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