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.

Take a Lawyer to Lunch

 Since the PAR Legal Hotline went in-house, I don’t get the thousands of calls each year that I once did, but I still get plenty. As you’d expect, the subjects are varied, but many callers seek advice about the provisions of a non-standard contract and how to explain it to their clients.     To these callers I will give an answer… Read On

Does the PAR Standard Agreement Require the Buyer, Rejected by a Lender or Insurer, to Make Additional Applications?

It happens.  The buyer makes a good faith mortgage application and does everything requested of her, and yet, her application is denied.  If the date for securing a mortgage commitment has not passed does the buyer have an obligation to make another mortgage application?  That question was answered by the Pennsylvania Superior Court in a 1985 case… Read On

Consider This When Waving Inspections

As the market cools, it is likely more tolerant of offers that include inspection contingencies, so it may be back to business as usual. There will be occasions, however, where competition encourages a contingent-free offer.  Buyers understand (mostly) the risks of waiving a home inspection.  Sometimes they rely on their eyes or figure they can afford to repair some minor problems that might miss their gaze… Read On

What the Market Taught Us?

So, as we slide out of the crazy sellers’ market of the past several years, we have time to catch our breaths and contemplate.  What are the new issues?  What did we learn?  The answer to question one:  none.  The answer to question two:  Hopefully a lot!  Let’s examine. In the crazy market it seemed that prices shot up daily. … Read On

Certificates of Resale

When listing a Property, you will learn quickly whether it is a condominium or in an association subjecting it to special laws requiring that buyers receive certificates of resale.  The purpose of the laws is to assure that buyers know the financial wellbeing of the common entity in which the property is a part.  It also assures that the buyer is not stuck with a financial obligation that should have been paid by the seller… Read On

Why the Deadline?

 Why as listing agents do we say that offers are to be submitted by a specific date and time?  Does that mean your seller will not accept an offer before that cut-off?  Does it mean that at the designated hour the seller will accept the highest/best offer without further negotiation?    The deadline concept was born prior to this market and for the situations where we knew multiple offers were forthcoming. … Read On

A Great Deal – Or Not?

It depends (the universal answer to all questions).  A time-of-listing, cash offer substantially over list price, sight unseen by well-heeled buyers sounds pretty good.  And your experience will likely reinforce that opinion.  But, I’m getting new cases that tell me “great offers” are not always so.  Here are some observations, and the obvious fixes.   First off… Read On

Non-Refundable Deposits

Where the market is hot, buyers will do just about anything to get their offers to stand out.  Big cash and waived contingencies have become routine.  I’m also seeing large, “non-refundable” deposits more than ever before.  What does “non-refundable” mean?  Does it means that the deposit is non-refundable under any circumstance?  What should we expect when the seller terminates the Agreement with no legitimate basis… Read On

Money Belonging to Another

We all know the importance of placing deposit monies in an escrow account.  Most of us know about the “next business day” rule.  And while most of us know that a deposit check can be held until the next business day following seller’s acceptance of an offer, few know why.  If you are weak on anything I’ve referenced above… Read On

When YOU Sell

By “you” I mean you, the person holding the real estate license.  And “sell” refers to the sale of property you own, alone, or with others.  There are a number of issues involving your marketing your real estate, but I want to touch on just a few. We begin with conflict of interest.  Is it a conflict of interest to market and sell your property? … Read On