Arizona Home Owner Concepts

The possible entities who can own Arizona real estate are:

  • general and limited partnership
  • corporation … all types
  • trust
  • sole and separate
  • tenants in common … unequal interests with rights to respective heirs
  • joint tenancy with survivorship … equal shares with rights to survivor
  • community property … married couples with rights to respective heirs
  • community property with survivorship … married couples with rights to surviving spouse

Arizona is a “community property” state. Property acquired by husband and wife is presumed to be “community property” unless legally specified otherwise, in which case both spouses must sign the title documents. Also, if a married person is to acquire title as his/her “sole and separate” property, the other spouse must execute a disclaimer deed to avoid the presumption of community property.

Community Property with Survivorship was new in Arizona’s as of January 1, 1995, and is presently available in relatively few states. It applies only for married couples.  With this form of ownership, a surviving spouse inherits property rights without probate, and benefits from the tax advantages associated with community property. Title documents must specifically state this form of ownership, else it does NOT apply.

Consistent with other states, the possible types of ownership in Arizona are:

  • Fee simple … absolute ownership of the land and all structures thereon, possibly subject to a variety of restrictions, easements, etc., usually referred to as CC&Rs … see discussion below.
  • condominium – condo … the interior space of each unit is individually owned, with the balance of the property, land and structure, being owned commonly and proportionally by the “unit” owners. Please note … condominium ownership can exist for any type of structure 
  • planned (unit) development … individually owned lots and the improvements thereon, with common ownership of development parcels without residences. Lots are generally small and the exact size of the improvements.
  • cooperative … owners own “stock” in a corporation that owns the property. Very rare. Forerunner to condominium.
  • leasehold … not commonly thought of as ownership, but the rights provided are mostly the same.

Consistent with other states, the types of property in Arizona are:

  • Single Family Detached (SFD) … the stand-alone home
  • Patio Home … a single-level unit that has one or more common walls with other living units.
  • Townhouse … a multi-level unit that has one or more common walls with other living units.
  • Apartment Style … units have common walls as well as a unit above and/or below. This is the only type of property that is inherently a condo.
  • Manufactured/Mobile … built on a towable structure, which is commonly buried as a foundation
  • Modular/Prefabricated … never a towable and most components are NOT assembled offsite
  • Loft Style … upper levels are not entirely walled in.

Please note … Patio Home and Townhouse are very sloppily used terms within the real estate industry. Take great care in using these as search criteria.

ARMLS also has a “Gemini/Twin” dwelling type, also referred to as a “duplex”, but these are just a form of Patio Home or Townhouse.

In metro-Phoenix, most condos involve townhouses, patio homes, detached homes, or a mix of two or more of these structures. There are relatively few high-rise (“apartment style”) condos in this metro area, but the number has grown in recent years, especially with the apartment conversions to condos.

Patio homes and townhouses can also be owned “fee simple”, rather than as a condo. These are referred to as “zero lot line” structures.

A Home Owners Association (HOA) will exist anytime there are living units with common walls because where there are common walls there will also be common property elements.

Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions (CC&R’s) are created by the developer, recorded, and provided to buyer prospects prior to the initial purchase.  These are “the rules of the road” for the initial and any subsequent owners. While CC&Rs are most commonly an element of a HOA, CC&R’s can exist and apply for a property even though there is no HOA.


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