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Legal Column

Mette Evans and Woodside, legal counsel for both the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS® and the Greater Harrisburg Association of REALTORS®, provides a monthly column to our membership.

A Higher Calling

From my vantage and from what I hear from brokers, 2020 was a banner year. At least for residential sales. Perhaps that is not so in all reaches of the Commonwealth, but I hope you had a good year and I hope you have a better year in 2021, in business and in health. Yet, and despite this boom… Read On

It Didn’t Appraise

Much of the Commonwealth is enjoying a seller’s market in residential real estate. As a consequence, more offers exceed list price. As a further consequence, we see more transactions failing due to properties not appraising at or above sale price. What happens when a lender issues a statement of credit denial and termination?  The answer can be found in the Agreement of Sale that states that the Agreement is contingent upon the buyer obtaining financing (paragraph 8) and that if the mortgage loan is not obtained for settlement… Read On

To Repeat…

The inspiration for some articles is an event, a lawsuit, a new form, a problem or a problem resolved. In this article, I am mostly repeating previous advice for those who are repeating bad habits or for whom the advice did not stick! First on the list, do not meet with an investigator from the Commonwealth without first consulting your attorney… Read On

Confirmation in writing

My October article is coming to you late in no small part due to a recent jury trial that took a substantial amount of my time. In this trial I defended a real estate salesperson who, acting as a buyer agent, was alleged to have committed malpractice.  As in all cases where I represent a salesperson or broker… Read On

No good deed…

Ridiculous as it may be, some buyers and sellers hook-up without a REALTOR®’s involvement. It may be then that you get a call for help. What would you charge to put a simple agreement of sale together covering all the terms the buyer and seller have already negotiated?  Maybe it’s because you can pick-up a few dollars… Read On

Shared driveways

A shared driveway may be an impasse or an obstacle to the sale of property. Why? To a lender the reason is the same as that behind its demand that the title be marketable.  The mortgaged real estate is collateral for the loan and the lender wants to assure that the collateral may be easily sold at no less than the amount due on the mortgage… Read On

Mediation – sound guidance for you and your clients

Most of you have had some experience with the mediation program established by the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS® and invoked in the agreement of sale, most likely from working with a client who initiates mediation or upon whom a request for mediation has been served. REALTORS® too are named respondents in a mediation, usually by an aggrieved buyer. Here are some helpful tips for you and your clients to consider when attending a mediation conference… Read On

Observations upon the reopening of the real estate industry in Pennsylvania

My contacts with the real estate community more often are with those who practice in the residential market…where the dam seems to have broken. The pent-up frustration has led to a flood of activity in some of our counties and cities. Consumers caught in the pinch are relieved as are licensees are now out and about… Read On

Old issues – New times

Social Media Remember being inundated with solicitations for courses on the essentials of social networking, the rules of media etiquette and the like? Everyone was all over that stuff. Today, when the Commonwealth’s response to the pandemic evokes such vitriol and division it is hard to imagine that the message from those lessons stuck.  As a lawyer working from home… Read On

Forms for the pandemic

Realtors® are reliant on standard forms for many good reasons. The forms have established a somewhat uniform transaction, particularly for resale homes.  A standard and familiar path reduces mistakes and liability. Unfortunately, the physical distancing required by our Governor and personal desire to protect our families, ourselves and others has taken us far afield from the standard path. … Read On