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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.

An Odd Year

If the title is catchy, so be it. But this article is not about strange times. Actually, this article has everything to do with 2022 being an even year. And that means it is license renewal time.  In about 4 months the calls will begin. Some of you reading this, and many more who are not… Read On

Crazy Market Disclosure

Welcome to this unprecedented real estate market. The limited inventory of homes coupled with a great demand is causing fierce competition among buyers. So, put on your armor and grab your sword.  On the battlefield there lays an array of homes that will include your likely objective – some are dumps, some okay, and perhaps there is a gem… Read On

Update That Disclosure!

The typical failure to disclose lawsuit avers that the seller, from the beginning, intentionally or recklessly failed to reveal the true condition of the property. A number of these suits, however, turn on what the seller learned after listing the property. Lawsuits based on failure to reveal recently acquired information usually name the listing salesperson and/or broker as a defendant… Read On

There Are No Rules

This is hardly so. But, as rules lead to order, that should be a good thing. Rules keep us from crashing into each other at intersections and help us determine when title is acceptable in a real estate sale.  Bright-line, clearly worded rules, should be easy to follow. Life, however, rarely presents a simple set of facts like we might see in a hypothetical put to us in the classroom… Read On

Why 5 Days?

Years ago the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® adopted the practice of inserting default timelines in its standard forms. All of these defaults can be overridden, but mostly they become standards.  By default, a buyer has 5 days after execution of a standard agreement to tender a deposit. At one time, from the advent of standard forms to nearly present day… Read On

It’s Better, But is it Enough?

It may have taken an extremely seller-favored market, but the average deposit on a residential transaction is higher than at any time in my observation. Listing agents are not so timid now that there are numerous buyers waiting at the door, each clamoring to present a “best” offer. This phenomenon does not answer for me these two questions: (1) is it enough… Read On

The Deal Went South – What Do We Do Before Selling to Buyer No. 2?

A transaction can collapse for any number of reasons. Getting a release is ideal because it makes clear that the transaction is over. Dead. Done. A release represents a resolution and it’s not always possible to secure an agreed upon resolution. Suppose the Buyer fails to make a substantial deposit when due and the Seller seeks to terminate… Read On

May I Take a Home Inspector to a Property Showing?

James L. Goldsmith, Esquire Victoria P. Edwards, Esquire Not too long ago I spoke to a home inspector who claimed that his residential home inspections were down about 90% from what they were pre-pandemic! With the present supply/demand imbalance, buyers are making offers sans inspection contingencies. Hoping to recapture some business, the inspector questioned whether he could offer a service that consisted of accompanying buyers to showings… Read On

A Few Tips and Tidbits

It’s not unusual for an agreement of sale to go under multiple modifications before settlement. Perhaps an inspection results in a financial concession followed by an another price modification after discovery of additional problems. Putting the modifications in writing is required; clarity is also essential. In the second Change in Terms you might state something like “Seller credits Buyer with $3,000 at settlement.”  Does that $3,000 represent the total financial concession or is that $3,000 concession on top of (in addition to) the previous $2,000 concession (also placed in writing)? Read On

Pre-Listing Inspections

A home inspector client of mine told me his business is approximately 10% of what it had been prior to this unprecedented sellers’ market. Buyers know, believe or assume that in order to have an offer accepted they must waive financing and due diligence contingencies. So what happens down the road when these buyers find undisclosed defects? Read On