COVID-19: The health and safety of our members, staff and the community are our top priority. Read on for important info and updates…

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.

Old issues – New times

Social Media Remember being inundated with solicitations for courses on the essentials of social networking, the rules of media etiquette and the like? Everyone was all over that stuff. Today, when the Commonwealth’s response to the pandemic evokes such vitriol and division it is hard to imagine that the message from those lessons stuck.  As a lawyer working from home… Read On

Forms for the pandemic

Realtors® are reliant on standard forms for many good reasons. The forms have established a somewhat uniform transaction, particularly for resale homes.  A standard and familiar path reduces mistakes and liability. Unfortunately, the physical distancing required by our Governor and personal desire to protect our families, ourselves and others has taken us far afield from the standard path. … Read On

Yet More on the COVID-19 Pandemic and How It Impacts Your Business

I would imagine that you are focused on little more than a single issue these days. I will therefore keep this short. There are more questions than answers. This will change and I suggest that you continue to monitor the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors®’ online publication JustListed. PAR is working tirelessly to provide you with the latest… Read On

Pre-Settlement Walkthrough Report

A recent spat between brokers brings focus to this standard form. There is a broker who, like others, requires that all settled transactions undergo a review before the salesperson’s commission is paid. The review assures that management is supervising its affiliates and that glaring errors can be rectified with the appropriate education or other measures. At issue is the broker’s demand that the closed file include a copy of the Pre- Settlement Walkthrough Report signed by the buyers and sellers… Read On

Once Again, It Depends!

It’s my mantra. I’ve uttered it hundreds of thousands of times, and mostly to REALTORS®. It is never wrong, but it may not be as helpful an answer as can be given. Whether an act is legal depends upon the specific setting, the facts and the reason one is asking. Let’s start with the reason one is asking… Read On

A Matter of Discrimination

An article that appeared in the New York Times in November cited study results showing housing discrimination by real estate licensees. Investigators posing as white buyers received different treatment than buyers of color and of other minority classifications. Among the allegations was steering. Licensees directed buyers to properties that, in the opinions of the licensees… Read On

Ordering Title Insurance

The last major change to the Standard Agreement of Sale for Real Estate (ASR) added the requirement that the buyer order a title report within so many days of execution of the agreement. The reaction to this change was all over the place, but most folks were calm. So the question is, nearly a year later… Read On

Did the Inspector Miss Something?

I have been saying it for nearly 40 years and it remains true: most law suits involving the sale of residential real property claim that the seller failed to disclose material defects. The seller is usually not the only defendant. The listing and selling licensees and the home inspector are frequently sued as well. The path to suit follows a familiar pattern… Read On

Dual Agency and the Escalation Issue

A broker recently called seeking an answer to what he thought was a dilemma created by an in-house transaction in which he was working with the seller and one of his sales agents with the buyer. Yes, that would be dual agency. Not only would this be dual agency, it would be dual agency without designated agency… Read On

Seller Disclosure

The disclosure of a home’s material defects didn’t begin with passage of the Real Estate Seller Disclosure Law (“RESDL”). Pennsylvania common law has long required that sellers disclose latent and material defects. The problem, prior to the use of the mandatory form required the RESDL was that sellers often overlooked problems. In the old days we elicited material defects by asking the seller… Read On