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.

Disclosure by an Estate

So everyone is familiar with the Real Estate Seller’s Disclosure Law (“RESDL”), right? I’d agree that most are, except when it comes to exceptions! And the exception that seems to cause most confusion is that applies to decedent’s estates. The law makes clear that a transfer by a fiduciary in the course of the administration of the decedent’s estate need not provide a real estate seller disclosure form… Read On

Listing Agent Demands for Property Inspection

This article, and the situation that inspired it, is didactic in two categories. It considers how to describe the subject property in an agreement of sale; it also explores whether imposing one’s practice standards on cooperating agents is a wise and lawful practice. The situation arises from the demand of a seller agent that all offers include a copy of the last recorded deed in its entirety… Read On

More Than Just Wiping Your Feet!

I’m sure many of you found your eyes drawn to a news article about a buyer agent who cut short a showing when she discovered an unresponsive and naked elderly man on the floor. The salesperson initially believed the man might be dead but he grunted when she asked whether he was okay. She later said that she did not want him awakening with her standing over him! Read On

The Confounding Price Escalation Addendum

I thought “confounding” would sound a tad more generous than “confusing”, however one definition says “confounding is to throw into confusion.” So much for my generosity.   I believe that confusion or whatever you care to call it, especially in a form, can be eliminated by careful study and reading (and rereading and rereading). Trust me, you can learn how to use this form effectively though it may not be as intuitive as other forms… Read On


 At one time what we now call “wholesaling” was performed by those who did not hold real estate licenses and who, for the most part, advertised on telephone poles: “We buy houses in any condition.” I concluded that the practice was an end of run around licensing requirements by those who were happy enough to take advantage of home sellers who were afraid of fees… Read On

My Best To You

Season’s Greetings! It is a cold but cloudless day and I am feeling particularly joyful, so I thought I would impart something “special” for this Holiday Season. Unfortunately for you, the older I get the more I pontificate. This is such a missive. You Realtors (I say “you” because, alas, I am not, except in spirit… Read On

Your Job at Settlement

Settlement (or “closing” if you so choose) is the finish line, the end. And as the Agreement of Sale says, settlement is when the risk of loss passes to buyer. If the house burns down one minute after settlement, it is the buyer’s problem. Unlike fires, most potential problems can be eliminated at the settlement table… Read On

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