Why in the World Would You Need a Real Estate Attorney in Pennsylvania?

November 5, 2019

Why in the World Would You Need a Real Estate Attorney in Pennsylvania?

If you’re about to sell or buy real estate, you may wonder if you need a real estate attorney in Pennsylvania. Truth be told, it’s absolutely not a legal requirement, and many people figure they’ll save some money and rely on the services of a title agency when it comes to overseeing the closing and settlement documents.

However, that’s not necessarily the best course of action. You’ll notice that the majority of title agencies send out closing agents that are extremely ethical. Without question, that sounds great on the surface. 

Meanwhile, most title agency representatives are extremely principled in another aspect as well. If you ask the settlement agent anything that remotely sounds like a request for legal advice, they’ll suggest that you contact an experienced real estate attorney.

No doubt, your purchase or sale of residential or commercial property represents one of the most significant transactions you’ll ever go through in your lifetime. It starts with the actual sales contract. While your realtor may have a standard form agreement, it might not contain all of the language needed to protect your interests.

For example, what if you’re concerned that you won’t be able to go forward with the transaction if you can’t sell your existing home? What happens if you aren’t able to secure a mortgage? These are both things that could cause you to lose sleep if there are no contingency clauses written in the sales contract.

Inspections are another issue all on their own. While the property may look pristine on the surface, you’ll want to arrange a home inspection before settlement. Your attorney can help negotiate damages if they arise.

When You Need a Real Estate Attorney After the Sale

While all things may appear acceptable at the time of closing, it’s not unusual for something to pop up after the fact. Even if you did retain the services of a lawyer in the first place, you might need to seek legal consultation.

Take this, for example. When you accompany the home inspector who checks out your new home, you may notice a cutout on the kitchen floor. You ask the real estate agent about a history of plumbing leaks. You’re assured there’s no record of problems with the pipes within the house.

Within a couple of years, you experience not one, but four separate flooding episodes. As it turns out, there’s a record of one that occurred before you even asked about a prospective issue.

Here’s what you might know. Like many other states, there are mandatory disclosure laws in Pennsylvania. The law requires the sellers to complete a mandatory disclosure statement.  Guess what? One of the questions asks explicitly if the seller is aware of any past or present water leakage in the house or any other structures.

Meanwhile, you may have done everything right as far as the title company. However, that’s not to discount the fact that claims of forgery could cloud your home’s title.  And, unfortunately, there’s also the possibility that your title search could miss a lien.

Further down the line, you may need to speak with a lawyer if you’re concerned about encroachments and easements regarding your property line.

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While the old adage that a “penny saved is a penny earned,” that’s not always the case. There’s also the saying that refers to the English money system and refers to the fact that you could be pennywise and pound foolish.

Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano can assist you in determining whether it’s in your best interests to retain legal counsel related to real estate transactions and claims. Give us a call to set up a consultation.

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