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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.

The Intent is Clear

This (the title of this article) is what an agent told me when I was nitpicking a special clause he inserted in an agreement of sale.  My clients were sellers who had not listed their property (yes….FSBOs).  Multiple offers came quickly and my clients selected their favorite.  It wasn’t highest and the reasons they favored it could be the subject of an article. … Read On

What Are Specialized Professional Services?

Those of you who teach the NAR Code of Ethics probably zeroed right in on these words that come from Article 11. That Article cautions practitioners to stay within their “field of competence”  although exceptions  permit one to stray from his or her field of competence if safeguards are invoked. Those safeguards include engaging the assistance of one who is competent in such matters and full disclosure to the client as to the limitations… Read On

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