Lairson: In Maricopa’s hot real estate market, beware of hidden costs

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Pat Lairson

By Pat Lairson

The Maricopa real estate market is jumping, with new listings coming on the market daily and houses going under contract, too.

There are currently 458 single-family dwellings listed for sale on the MLS in Maricopa. There are 258 homes under contract since Jan. 1 that are either pending or closed. The rental market is hot, too, with only 17 single-family dwellings available that are not vacation rentals.

You read that right.

If you are a renter you may have felt the heat from the lack of homes available and multiple applicants to contend with. You might want to look into buying now, even if your FICO score isn’t ready yet. Talking to a lender can get you on the right track.

Here is a question from a reader that I think is appropriate for people who want to sell or buy right now.

What costs are involved and who pays for what? What are the “hidden” costs? – Toni Marie McDonald

In buying or selling a home, there are certain costs for a seller and certain costs for a buyer, and then some of those costs can be negotiated.

A seller pays Realtors’ commissions, title insurance policy for the buyer in order to ensure a clean title, sellers’ escrow costs and the HOA disclosure fee. This usually totals about 8 percent of the sales price of the home.

Buyers pay for their own home inspection (approximately $350) and their appraisal ($450). Buyers pay for their own loan down payment, which can be between 0 and 20 percent. A buyer’s closing cost is about 3 percent of the purchase price of the home if they are getting a loan. Some costs can be negotiated back to either the buyer or the seller.

HOA fees vary per subdivision and although the seller pays the HOA disclosure fee, there could be other HOA fees that are negotiable for either the buyer or seller to pay.

If a buyer is trying to pay as little out of pocket as possible to get into a home, the buyer can ask the seller to pay they’re closing costs. If this is requested then usually the buyer writes close to a full price offer or more and the seller still gets the net they need.

A home warranty policy is another negotiable item and can be paid by either party. Every contract is different. There are no hidden costs in a real estate transaction. All costs are documented in the purchase contract paperwork and the title company, who acts as a neutral third party, will give the seller and buyer a written financial disclosure with all costs to review before closing.

If you have a real estate question, please email it in to me.

Pat Lairson is a Realtor with The Maricopa Real Estate Company.


  1. One "hidden" cost not mentioned by anyone is the prohibitive cost of renovating the corroding effects of the soil with the slab concrete of the houses in Alterra neighborhood. Many hundreds of homes will become unlivable and condemned therefrom.

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