When the builder offers six or more lots, and one of the lots is less than thirty-six acres, the Arizona Department of Real Estate requires a public report to provide transparency to potential buyers and provide information about the land.
What kind of information will this report provide? Well, since we live on the Sonoran Desert, water is always a front running topic to address. The subdivider needs to provide proof that there are one hundred years of water assurance. This is needed if the land is in an Active Management Area (AMA) as determined by the Arizona Department of Water Resources. Once this has been determined, ADRE will include this information in the report to disclose to potential buyers. Even if the subdivider cannot prove a one hundred year water assurance, they may still divide and sell the property although the public report will disclose the lack of water assurance.
Some other areas the public report will provide information on include topics like soil reports (expansive soil), area flood information and sanitary facilities certificates.
Let’s review! Keys points to remember when it comes to Public Reports:
Is the Subdivision Disclosure Report guaranteed to be accurate? Unfortunately, some information can get outdated over time, and ADRE does not verify the findings in the report, so it is recommended that potential buyers review and investigate the findings.
Public Reports that were created after January 1, 1997 are available online at the Arizona Department of Real Estate website. For more information on the Subdivision Disclosure Reports and other Arizona real estate assistance, contact the Arizona Key Team.
Ok, so before you start thinking you’re going to be swallowed up by the ground, let’s clear up a few details! Arizona soil contains properties that can be measured by its shrink/swell potential. That is, when the soil dries out it shrinks, and when it gets wet it expands or swells (expansive soil). This shrink/swell potential varies from one area to another depending on how much clay there is in the soil, and even what kind of clay it is!
So does this mean that expansive soil will eventually give me the open floor plan I have always wanted? Not exactly, although examples of damage caused by expansive soil can be found all around us. It can cause damage to building structures and foundations, or even the roads we drive on. It’s not unusual for evidence to appear in the form of cracks in the walls, doorways, driveways & garage floors, or even in patio decks! This is often referred to as “settling”. A potential solution, or reduction in the settling, can be addressed in the types of foundations used in new home construction. A post-tension slab is often used to help reduce the potential of settling.
If an area has a high shrink/swell potential, it would be considered hazardous to build within the soil, on top of the soil, and certainly when the soil is actually used in the building materials. Of course when the area has a lower potential for expansive soil, the hazard level decreases in accordance to the soil properties.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has produced a map rating the levels of soil expansion in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area.
What can consumers do to protect themselves when buying real estate? Well, the Arizona Registrar Of Contractors says that if any crack is bigger than 3/16th of an inch wide, that it is considered to be unacceptable and requires the attention of a professional to determine what caused the crack. This can be negotiated during the inspection period of escrow.
Buyers should ask the seller to provide the “Commissioners Public Report” for the subdivision. If the seller is a new home builder, then the builder is responsible for providing the report to the buyer before the signing of any contracts. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the consumer/homeowner to resolve any concerns by securing and independent assessment of the structural integrity of the building/home at hand.
When you start searching homes for sale in the phoenix area, feel free to contact the Arizona Key Team for assistance.