At Home in Berks - June 2017 - 16

ANGLES

The Benefits of Having a
Lawyer in a Residential
Real Estate Transaction
Contributed by Karen H. Cook, Esquire
Real Estate Attorney, Masano Bradley LLP, Attorneys at Law

"W

e just wanted to buy our dream house," a client
said once. They were so focused on their dream,
they failed to focus on the nature of what they
were doing. A purchase of a home is a legal transaction worth
thousands of dollars. It often involves banks and mortgages,
written legally binding documents, insurances, taxes, and
property boundary issues. Sometimes, when you focus on your
dream too much, without paying enough attention to what you
are doing, your dream can become a nightmare.

For most, a house is one of the largest purchases or sales that
they will make during their lifetime. The purchase or sale
is subject to many laws most people do not encounter on a
regular basis and which are not familiar to them. Having an
attorney who is knowledgeable in real estate law represent you
in the purchase or sale of residential real estate will help ensure
the transaction proceeds smoothly.
It is important to remember, there are three distinct parts to a
residential real estate transaction. The first is negotiation and
signing of the agreement of sale (the "Agreement"). The second
is the period of time between execution of the Agreement and
closing. Finally, there is closing on the transaction.

16

AT HOME IN BERKs June 2017

Negotiation and Signing Agreement of Sale.

Once the parties have agreed to purchase/sell a residential
property, an Agreement containing both the intentions of the
buyer and seller is negotiated and signed. An attorney can
prepare an Agreement containing all the terms agreed to by
the parties. It will contain correct identification and location
of the real estate and items of personal property and fixtures to
be included or excluded. It will also identify the purchase price,
amount of deposit, and who will hold the deposit. Sometimes
disputes arise and the Agreement can address how disputes
over disposition of the deposit will be handled if there is a
breach under the Agreement. Contingencies may be included
such as the buyer obtaining a loan to purchase the property or
any inspections of the property the buyer will have done and
the time period for inspections. It will also address what happens if the buyer is not satisfied with the results of the inspections. The Agreement should also include the state of the title
to be conveyed, how problems with the title will be resolved
prior to closing, and remedies of the parties if not resolved.
The Agreement will also include the apportionment of property taxes, utilities, realty transfer taxes and other expenses at
closing. The closing date will also be set, who bears the risk
of loss to the property from the time the Agreement is signed
through closing, and the method for handling any casualty loss
to the property prior to closing will also be addressed.



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