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Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I Find an Immigration Lawyer?

One of the best sources for finding an attorney with the qualifications in the specialized field of Immigration Law is the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Since it's against the law for foreign lawyers who are not licensed in the U.S. to provide immigration advice, you definitely want to contact a licensed attorney.

Is a Notary the Same in Every Country?

Absolutely not! Notaries in the US have very narrow witnessing duties. They are appointed by state governments to witness and certify the identity of signers. That's it! On the other hand, a Notario Publico in Latin America, a Notaire in France or a Notar in Germany is an attorney who specializes in property, corporate or family law, and estates. They have a high level of legal training.

What Is the Difference between a Sales Person and a Broker?

In Arizona, Real Estate Salespersons and Brokers have to be licensed by the Arizona Department of Real Estate (ADRE). Both have to obtain Arizona Fingerprint Clearance cards and pass state exams after having completed 90 hours of ”in classroom” pre-licensing education through an ADRE approved school and pass their final exam. To earn a Real Estate Broker license, one needs 3 years of actual full time experience as a sales person during the immediate 5 years preceding the application to the state.

What Is a CIPS?

The Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) network is comprised of more than 2000 real estate professionals, located in more than 50 countries around the world, who hold the CIPS designation. To earn the designation, a REALTOR® in the U.S. must complete a number of specialized courses and demonstrate expertise and understanding of the Global Real Estate Market.

What is an MLS?

The foundation of the real estate market in Arizona –for that matter in the U.S.- is our Multiple Listing Service (MLS) which includes the majority of residential properties for sale in a given market. Since real estate tends to be local in nature, Multiple Listing Services are regionalized, not national in scope. Typically sellers enter into an Exclusive Right to Sell Listing Agreement engaging a broker to market the property. Inherent in this agreement is the fundamental understanding that Brokers' agents cooperate with competing brokerages. In other words, an agent working with a buyer can show and sell all the properties listed in the MLS. By the way, in our market it is customary for the seller to pay the commission.

What Is the Significance of the Letters Next to Agents' Names?

These Real Estate accreditations, combined with on-going experience, enable consumers to determine the competency of real estate agents and their dedication to their profession. The CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) is a coveted designation awarded to experienced REALTORS® who complete advanced training in Listing & Selling and who meet rigorous production requirements. They have a proven track record of sales transactions, and must maintain membership in the National Association of REALTORS® and abide by its strict Code of Ethics. The GRI (Graduate REALTOR® Institute) accreditation is granted to REALTORS® who have attended specialized courses over a two to three year period. Other designations are earned by taking subject specific courses addressing the needs of today's buyers & sellers of residential properties. Click for Video

What Documents Should a Buyer Review when Purchasing a Home?

The Arizona Department of Real Estate and the Arizona Association of REALTORS® do an excellent job in providing information to the public to enable buyers to make an informed decision when purchasing a home. They published an excellent "BUYER ADVISORY" which describes the common documents used in the purchase of real property in Arizona and it provides links for further information if desired. ( Click here to download )

Who Pays Real Estate Commissions in Arizona?

In Arizona the seller usually pays the real estate commission in the sale of residential properties. The commission fee is a set amount negotiated and agreed upon between the seller and the listing broker when the seller signs the listing agreement. When the property is entered in the MLS (Multiple Listing System) the amount of commission offered to a Buyer's Agent is disclosed. In Arizona, unless a buyer has a written contract to the contrary, he does not have an obligation to pay a commission. Do note that commissions are paid at closing and disclosed on the Settlement Statement in the sale of existing homes.

Is an Unfurnished Apartment Really Unfurnished?

Yes and No. Unlike what you might experience when you move to some European countries where unfurnished flats truly are bare of everything, in Arizona you expect the kitchen to be equipped with a range, a refrigerator, sinks & cabinets. In modern apartments dishwashers are also the norm. Also, to be considered a bedroom, a room must have a window, a closet (usually built-in) and have direct access to it.

Looking to Purchase Real Estate in Arizona?

The United States is a premiere residence and investment area for people from all over the world. In comparison to many markets worldwide, real estate in the United States is viewed as an affordable, accessible and secure investment. This is especially so in Arizona. Whether you are looking for a vacation home, seeking investment property, or relocating for a job or an educational opportunity, the real estate market in Arizona has a lot to offer. There is tremendous opportunity here for foreign as well as domestic buyers, but you do need to know how to find and access it.

Because the protocol of buying and selling real estate differs from country to country, as it does from state to state, it is important to find and contact a reliable and educated real estate professional with experience serving international clients to guide you through the process. Certified International Property Specialists (CIPS) who have undergone specialized training and have a track record of working successfully with international clients are an excellent choice. CIPS international property professionals have the education, the resources and network to fully address and meet your real estate needs.

Monsoons in Arizona?

The mention of “monsoons” conjures images of violent storms, floods, intense rains in places like Africa, Asia and Australia. Rarely, unless you live in the southwestern part of the U.S., would you think of Arizona. Yes, we do have a monsoon season which officially starts June 15th and runs through the end of September. It is our summer rainy season and historically half of Tucson’s annual rainfall comes during this period. Monsoon storms typically begin in early July and their wild wilds, flash floods, dust storms and lightning strikes can be very dangerous especially when you consider that it is also our fire season. Statistics from the National Weather Service as published in the Arizona Daily Star indicate that the normal rainfall over the past decade during the monsoon season is approximately 6 inches with a high of 10.20 inches in 2006, and a low of 2.42 inches in 2004.

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