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Posts in Real Estate
What Is a Partition Action?

Buying a property with a friend, business partner, relative, or significant other can be rewarding investment.  But if the relationship sours, undoing the jointly titled deed can pose serious problems, particularly with a mortgage.  If the co-owners cannot amicably dispose of one interest or the other through a buyout, or cannot agree to sell the property outright, a judicial partition action my be the only recourse.  

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Real EstateScott Rothman
When Can Home Improvement Contractors Be Held Liable Under Pennsylvania Law?

In 2009 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania enacted the “Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act”, commonly referred to as HIPCA, in an effort to protect consumers from scams and other unfair trade practices that so often occur with home improvement contractors. If you are a homeowner in need of home improvement work it would certainly be in your best interest to know a bit more about HIPCA, specifically it would be a good idea to know when a home improvement contractor can be held liable under Pennsylvania law.

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How Will the New RESPA Regulations Affect Real Estate Transactions?

RESPA is a federal law that is administered and enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB. For a prospective borrower or a lender, the most important provisions of RESPA are the disclosures required at various times during the mortgage loan process. Within three days of submitting a mortgage loan application to a lender the lender must provide a “Good Faith Estimate”, or GFE, that provides the prospective borrower with the loan terms as well as with the lender’s estimate of what the closing costs will be.

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Real EstateScott Rothman
What Is a Mechanic’s Lien?

If you are in the construction industry, you already understand that even a simple project typically has several different companies working on different aspects of the project at any given time. Ultimately, all of those sub-contractors must report to the general contractor who, in turn, reports to the property owner. Payment for services rendered trickles down from the property owner to the general contractor, and eventually down to the sub-contractors and sub-sub-contractors. What happens if payment doesn’t trickle down, though?

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How Do I Know If a Material Breach Has Occurred?

If you are in the construction industry, you already know how important it is to have a properly-drafted contract in place that protects you and your business before commencing work on any project. A contract, however, can only offer you protection if you understand the terms used in the contract, and understand what happens if a party breaches or defaults on the contract. For example, in the construction industry, there is a significant difference between a simple breach and a material breach of contract. At this point, you may wonder “How do I know if a material breach has occurred?”

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Do Real Estate Lawyers Handle Issues with Rental Properties?

Whether residential or commercial property is involved, the relationship between a landlord and tenant can be complicated. Moreover, the laws governing the landlord-tenant relationship are numerous and complex, making it difficult to resolve disagreements or issues when they do surface. If you foresee the need to retain the services of an attorney for your landlord-tenant issue, you may be wondering if real estate lawyers handle issues with rental properties. While there is no way to provide a universal answer to that question that will apply to every real estate lawyer, most real estate lawyers do, indeed, handle issues relating to rental properties.

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Real EstateScott Rothman
Should I Always Finance a Property with the Lowest Interest Rate Loan?

If you are like the average home buyer, you will be depending on a mortgage loan to finance the purchase of your new home. Given the fact that purchasing a home will likely be the single biggest purchase you make in your lifetime, it only seems appropriate to know as much about the financing process as possible before committing to a lender and/or loan. Unfortunately, first-time home buyers often make costly mistakes because they fail to do the proper research and ask the right questions before starting the home search. 

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Does a Landlord Have to Give Notice Before Evicting a Tenant? How Much?

The rental relationship between any landlord and tenant is governed by the written lease agreement executed by the parties as well as by local, state, and even federal laws. In Pennsylvania, for example, there are state law procedures that must be followed if a landlord wishes to evict most tenants; however, if the property is located in certain areas, such as Philadelphia county, local rules apply.

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What Is a Section 1031 Exchange?

In the normal course of things, a taxpayer is required to pay capital gains taxes any time a gain is realized on the sale of a capital asset. Although just about any asset qualifies as a capital asset, a common example of when capital gains taxes are incurred is when a taxpayer sells real property. Understandably, taxpayers are always looking for ways to limit, or avoid altogether, capital gains taxes. One option that may work to defer capital gains tax when the asset in question is real property is to enter into a Section 1031 Exchange in lieu of a traditional sale.

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What to Consider When Investing in Real Estate

Real estate can be an extremely profitable investment. It can also be an extremely volatile and risky investment.  Along with getting sound advice from your attorney, financial advisor, and real estate professional before investing in real property, there are also some practical considerations that should be taken into account before investing in real estate

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Can I Accelerate Depreciation and Amortization?

The old adage “nothing in life is certain but death and taxes” has been around a long time for a reason. In the United States, most taxpayers dread preparing their state and federal taxes each year out of fear that they will owe a small fortune. Understandably, those same taxpayers are always looking for ways to decrease their taxable income and/or apply credits to the amount of taxes owed. If you own certain types of assets, you may wonder “Can I accelerate depreciation and amortization?” in an effort to reduce your tax liability. 

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Does Title Insurance Cover Zoning Issues?

If you are planning to purchase real property in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania you will most likely purchase title insurance as part of the purchase process. If this is the first time you have purchased a home you may realize you need title insurance but you may not know exactly why you need it nor understand what title insurance covers and what it does not cover. For example, does title insurance cover zoning issues?

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What Does a Property Seller Need to Disclose?

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, like most states, the seller of residential property is required by law to make certain mandatory disclosures to a buyer. If a seller fails to disclose defects that should have been disclosed the seller could end up being held liable for the cost of the repairs as well as other consequential damages related to the failure to disclose. Whether you are a seller or a buyer, you need to know the answer to the question “What does a property seller need to disclose in Pennsylvania?”

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How Do I Challenge My Property Tax Assessment in Pennsylvania?

If you own real property in Pennsylvania, you will likely owe property tax on the property every year. The amount of your property tax obligation each year will depend on the assessed value of the property. If you have recently received a property tax assessment and/or bill that reflects a value for your property with which you do not agree, you may be wondering “How do I challenge my property tax assessment in Pennsylvania?”

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What Do You Need to Know before Selling Your House without a Realtor?

If you have decided to list your house for sale in Pennsylvania, you will need to make several important decisions along the way to a successful sale. The first, and possibly the most important, of those decisions is whether to work with a real estate agent or list the home for sale “By Owner.” If you are considering the “By Owner” route, you may wish to consider the following things you need to know before selling your house without a realtor.

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When Can Realtors Be Held Liable under Pennsylvania Law?

Although the law does not require a buyer or seller to utilize the services of a real estate agent to assist with the purchase or sale of property, most buyers and sellers do work with a realtor. In fact, most buyers and sellers rely heavily on a real estate agent throughout the purchase or sale process. If something goes wrong, such as uncovering hidden defects after the sale, can realtors be held liable under Pennsylvania law? As is often the case with questions relating to liability, there is no easy answer to that question; however, it is possible for a realtor to be held liable under certain conditions.

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What Type of Entity Is Best for Investing in Real Estate?

Real estate has long been considered one of the best long-term investments – and sometimes it even makes a good short-term investment if the market is just where you want it to be. If you are contemplating investing in real estate one of the first factors you will want to consider is what type of entity is best for investing in real estate. While there is no right or wrong decision, your choice of entity will have an impact on your investment as well as on your overall financial health. Consulting with an experienced Pennsylvania real estate attorney is always your best option because you attorney can discuss how each entity will impact your unique situation; however, a broad understanding of the entities available and their pros and cons may also be beneficial.

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Could a Qualified Intermediary Go Bankrupt and Tie Up Money Designated for a Section 1031 Exchange?

In the normal course of events, the sale of a capital assets that results in a gain to the seller is a taxable event. As such, a taxpayer who realizes a gain from the sale of a capital asset will owe capital gains tax on the realized gain. One way to avoid, at least for a time, the payment of capital gains taxes is to enter into a Section 1031 Exchange in lieu of a traditional sale. If a transaction qualifies for Section 1031 treatment, any capital gains taxes that would normally be due on the gain are deferred. Among the many rules for entering into a Section 1031 Exchange is that you use a “Qualified Intermediary” to facilitate the exchange.

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Can I Fire My Real Estate Agent?

Whether you are in the market to purchase or sell real estate the assistance of an experienced and knowledgeable real estate agent can be invaluable. Unfortunately, if you end up with the wrong agent it can make your buying or selling experience a colossal failure. Worse still, it could end up costing you money instead of saving you money in the long run. If you are currently working with a real estate agent and you realize he/she is not the right agent for you and your needs you may be wondering “Can I fire my real estate agent?”

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