Most people look at a real estate transaction and think it’s fairly simple. It begins with a buyer and a seller, a sales price, a settlement date, and someone might go to a lender for financing. It’s rarely ever that simple, though, and many things can complicate a transaction that one might not anticipate.
For the buyer, in particular, but for the seller to some degree, the next chapter starts the day after or the day of the settlement. The settlement is when the papers are signed and the money changes hands. That’s the point at which you have a new owner of the property and that new owner has the opportunity to learn first-hand what they bought. Up to this point, the buyer has only inferred that the sellers are being honest with them by signing the Pennsylvania Seller’s Disclosure.
The Pennsylvania Seller’s Disclosure is a document that provides six or seven pages worth of information for the buyer or potential buyer to review, digest, and potentially raise areas of concern or negotiation.
One of the most common issues you might encounter with the Pennsylvania Seller’s Disclosure is the question of whether or not the seller has ever had moisture in the basement or lower level. It’s a yes, no, I don’t know, or maybe question and, many times, it’s going to be answered based on the sellers’ experience and what they’re used to rather than by what’s factually true. For instance, someone who has always had wet walls in the basement might not think it an issue to note. Another person might not have ever had a home with a basement and seeing water on the walls mortifies them.
While a realtor may attempt to give guidance to their client on these matters, they really should be very careful doing so. The Seller’s Disclosure is a legal document and therefore becomes a legal issue that should be addressed by a licensed real estate attorney.
It’s a benefit that a real estate attorney can provide that they can review these documents and help you reach a resolution. Real estate attorneys are very adaptive with processing and handling real estate agreements and contracts. They can provide guidance to either side, whether you are a seller or a buyer. Even if somebody else wrote the contract, you still have the ability to review and suggest or tweak the contract to benefit your claim.
Consider hiring a real estate attorney as value added to any existing relationship with a realtor in Pennsylvania.
The Benefit Of Having A Real Estate Attorney Prior To Buying Or Selling Residential Property In Pennsylvania.
Before you take any steps to buy or sell residential property in Pennsylvania, you need to know about the property you’re considering buying. This is where the Seller’s Disclosure will play a large part, but you must consider the property that you’re buying and who is completing that Seller’s Disclosure. For instance, if the property you’re buying is part of an estate and the executor or administrator of that estate is the seller, they are filling out that disclosure having never personally resided in the property.
With new constructions, no one has ever lived in the property and therefore they will have no issues to disclose. This isn’t a guarantee that there will be no issues, but no issues will be disclosed because none are known at the time of the Seller’s Disclosure.
Then, you will have as-is sales. This is where the buyer is just going to buy the property regardless of how it appraises. Even in this scenario, you want to know what you’re getting into to some degree. If you buy a house for $200,000 and have the expectation that it would appraise for at least that amount, an inspection revealing that there is extensive water damage or foundational issues could significantly impact your financial investment in the property. These are things you’d want to know going into the real estate transaction.
Working with a real estate attorney can help mitigate some of these unknowns in the value of the property, the value of the inspection, and the value of any contingencies in the agreement moving forward. It might be about negotiating the sales price to reflect the expense of repairing issues, having the issues repaired as a contingency in the agreement, or even just going into the sale with the full knowledge of what you’re getting. Your real estate attorney is going to help you get the best possible outcome, put you in a position of knowledge, and help you feel more confident in your decision.
With the guidance of a skilled attorney for Real Estate Law Cases, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we’ll make it look easy.
For more information on Real Estate Law in Pennsylvania, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by (717) 990-7178 today.