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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 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

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