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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.

What If?

These two words are the start of many questions by those who draft contracts, including agreements for the sale of real estate. Consider Paragraph 18 of the PAR standard agreement entitled Maintenance and Risk of Loss. This paragraph was borne of the following “what ifs?” What if the HVAC system or other systems fail after signing but before settlement? Read On

Attend Inspections

Who, if anyone, should attend home inspections has been a topic of debate for as long as home inspections have been a standard element in a residential transaction. Year ago when the topic came up at an NAR meeting of attorneys who represented state associations of Realtors, the room was divided, with roughly 50% saying that buyers should attend… Read On

Untimely Repairs

It happens. Sellers agree to make repairs suggested by a home inspection, but fail to complete the job timely. When this happens a buyer is faced, unfairly, with proceeding under a contingent plan (e.g., having repairs made post-settlement or taking cash in lieu of repair) or of delaying settlement. Usually there is little choice. The buyer is packed and ready to move or the mortgage commitment can’t be extended… Read On

Working Outside of the Box

Real estate salespersons often have second jobs. Should a broker care? All in unison: “it depends.” Issues relating to profitability and productivity of a salesperson aside, a broker has reason to be concerned when a salesperson is also employed in a job closely aligned to real estate. There can be unanticipated and negative consequences for the broker and the brokerage… Read On

Working Inside the Box – Establishing the Box

What is your agreement with your broker? A recurring question to the Hotline is “what is my broker’s obligation to pay me when I have pending transactions at the time I affiliate with a new broker?” There are many similar questions relating to fees after termination and whether a salesperson can take her clients and transactions to her new brokerage… Read On

FSBOs and the Statement of Estimated Costs

What happens when a FSBO freaks out at settlement when she learns for the first time that she is paying seller assist and that the proceeds are less than she anticipated? She goes hunting, that’s what. Who is the likely target? By definition, a FSBO is without an agent and we all know what a horrible idea that is! Read On

Getting Creative

The most dangerous clause in the Standard Agreement for the Sale of Real Estate (ASR) is found in our current Paragraph 32(B), Additional Terms. Here’s where agents can let loose with the most creative use of the pen imaginable! A problem is, that when these works of art fail for any reason, they are likely to penalize the author (agent) and his or her client… Read On

As Is

Let’s see a show of hands: how many of you think PAR should publish a standard “as is” agreement of sale? I see great show of hands which is a little surprising given that the widely used PAR standard agreement, ASR, is in fact an “as is” agreement. True, PAR doesn’t use the words “as is;” rather it provides that the property is to be sold in its “present” condition… Read On

Selling Real Estate in an Era of Modern Surveilling

You either have firsthand experience or have heard stories of how modern surveillance techniques are entwined in the sale of real estate. Baby cameras, pet monitoring applications, security systems, and other surveillance equipment with varying degrees of technological and recording capabilities are now common features in homes. Some systems have no audio capabilities and are only available to view in real-time… Read On

A Tip From The West?

Timely tender of deposit checks is a growing problem that did not exist when offers and deposit checks were hand delivered. Now, deposit checks follow an offer’s acceptance by a handful of days. Further, a typical agreement includes a checkmark in Paragraph 26(G) limiting the seller to retaining paid deposits as the sole remedy in the event of buyer default… Read On