by Harper J. Dimmerman, Esq.
Representing residential sellers or buyers, although straightforward on the surface, can become complicated. Typically both sides to the deal will be represented by real estate agents as well, who frequently will have advised their respective clients concerning the agreement of sale, oftentimes days if not weeks before you even enter the equation. Of course, this is not optimal, especially when representing the buyer. Contract law is generally sacred in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a buyer can easily find himself or herself in a less than desirable situation. For instance, large deposit commitments and other timing issues can make backing out of a deal much more difficult, even when the circumstances warrant such a result.
With any residential purchase the two chief concerns for the buyer are the condition of the property itself and the ability to obtain competitive financing.
As for the inspection, it is vital that the buyer engage the services of a disinterested and objective inspector, someone who is willing and able to deliver an unbiased report swiftly, giving the buyer ample time to have a meaningful negotiation as to possible credits or repairs. Naturally, the buyer’s attendance at this inspection is key as is having a handle on the realistic costs of making necessary repairs. As water intrusion and resultant mold conditions tend to be a serious issue for homeowners, occasionally having a separate mold expert can be extremely beneficial. Although the seller generally has a duty to provide a property disclosure in advance of the buyer even submitting the offer, frequently these disclosures tend to be cursory in nature and naturally are limited to the seller’s direct knowledge. In other words, a seller, even in good faith, may not have a sense of the extent of a particular defect, which assuredly will require further evaluation by a conscientious buyer.
The appraisal too, which of course also relates to the condition of the property, will be telling with respect to a buyer’s ability to secure necessary financing. Having the ability to back out of the deal (when representing a buyer) should a loan not be feasible, is another key consideration for competent counsel.
In short, although these deals can be routine, in today’s economy both sides of the deal should operate with a heightened vigilance. This is something adept counsel can ensure.
About the Author:
Harper J. Dimmerman, Esq., who founded his firm in 2003, is an adjunct law professor at Temple University's Fox School of Business. He was named by Philadelphia Magazine as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer Rising Star in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. He is a serial novelist, writing legal thrillers such as his forth installment in the Hunter Gray series. Mr. Dimmerman is also a published legal columnist with "The Legal Intelligencer", the oldest law journal in the United States. He concentrates upon Pennsylvania and New Jersey general litigation, real estate (residential and commercial), land use, planning and zoning, landlord-tenant, homeowners association, contract and land title insurance matters. He is the founder of ZipWill.com, a cutting-edge estate company.
He is an approved attorney, providing his clients with title insurance throughout Pennsylvania. His firm handles criminal defense work and other types of larger trial matters. Mr. Dimmerman's educational training includes Vassar College, Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan, Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania (evening undergraduate) and The University of Miami School of Law. He has been extremely active with the Philadelphia Bar Association for several years and has been interviewed by the media on legal issues. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org and direct number is 215-545-0600.