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.

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

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