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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.

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

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