Attorneys at Law
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Be Informed.

Be informed.

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 Types of Affiliated Business Relationships Are Allowed Under RESPA?

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA, is a consumer protection statute that was originally passed in 1974. Along with helping consumers to become more educated about settlement services when closing on the purchase of real property, the other important reason for RESPA was to eliminate the “kickbacks” and “referral fees” that were once common in the industry and that unnecessarily increased costs to consumers. As a consumer, or a settlement service provider, it is important to know what types of affiliated business relationships are allowed under RESPA.

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Scott Rothman
Am I Entitled to Severance If I Quit in Pennsylvania?

The employee-employer relationship can come to an end in a number of ways. What happens after the relationship terminates depends, to a large extent, on how the relationship terminated. More specifically, the benefits you receive and/or are entitled to after the relationship ends will depend on why your employment with the company ended. If you are considering quitting your job, you may be wondering “Am I entitled to severance if I quit in Pennsylvania?”

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What is a Trademark?

A trademark or a service mark is a word, name, symbol or device that can be useful to identify a particular company or brand. The purpose of the trademark is to make it easier for sellers and consumers to distinguish among the different sources of goods and services that are available for purchase.  A trademark is eligible for certain legal protections. To protect your trademark and receive the maximum benefit from its use, you may need the assistance of an experienced attorney. However, a basic understanding of trademarks is a helpful starting point.

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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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How Long Will My Civil Lawsuit Take?

Although America is thought of as a litigious society, many people go their entire lifetime without ever being involved in a lawsuit in the United States. For someone who has no experienced with the legal system, suddenly being a party to a lawsuit can be overwhelming and a confusing. If you are currently involved in a civil lawsuit for the first time you likely have a number of questions. Starting with “How long will my civil lawsuit take?”  Because of the individual nature of a lawsuit there is no way to provide a universally applicable answer to that question without consulting a civil law attorney; however, a better understanding of the factors that determine how long your lawsuit will take may 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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What Is a Breach of an Employment Contract?

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as is the case in most states, employment is “at will” unless you have an employment contract with your employer. As an “at will” employee, your employer can fire you at any time and for any reason, as long as the reason for your termination is not discriminatory in nature. Likewise, an employee may quit his/her job at any time and for any reason if he/she is an “at will” employee. If, however, you have an employment contract with your employer, the employer-employee relationship is governed by the terms of the employment contract. As an employee working under an employment contract, you need to understand what constitutes a breach of contract in an employment contract.

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Can You Be Fired for No Reason If You Are over 50?

Unlike many countries around the world, workers in the United States enjoy a number of rights and protections while in the workplace. As an employee, for example, you are protected by state and federal laws from illegal discrimination in the workplace. While there are a number of state and federal laws that offer American workers protection in the workplace, there are also a number of common myths and misconceptions about those laws and rights. For example, can you be fired for no reason if you are over 50? That question raises the subject of age discrimination in employment, an area of the law that gives rise to many misconceptions among employees and employers alike.

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Am I Allowed to Negotiate My Employment Contract?

In most states, employment is “at will,” meaning you can be fired at any time and for any reason – unless you have an employment contract. In that case, the terms of the contract can determine under what conditions you can be terminated as well as what severance, if any, you will be entitled to should your employment terminate. If you have never been offered an employment contract before, it can be a bit intimidating. Your first question will likely be “Am I allowed to negotiate my employment contract?” The short answer is “yes.”

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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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When Are Wages Due If an Employee is Terminated, Quits, or Is Laid Off?

In the normal course of your employment you should receive a paycheck at specific intervals, such as every week, every two weeks, or even once a month. What happens, however, to wages due to you if you terminate your employment with the employer? When are wages due if an employee is terminated, quits, or is laid off in Pennsylvania? If you suddenly find yourself in that position, you may need to know what the law says about receipt of your final paycheck.

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How Does a Short Sale Work?

To understand the short-sale process you first need to understand how a mortgage loan works and a little bit about the real estate market. Most people cannot afford to pay cash for the purchase of a home. To finance the purchase of a home most people take out a mortgage loan and then make monthly mortgage payments for 15-30 (typically) years until the loan is paid off. At any time during the life of the loan a borrower may sell the home and pay off the mortgage with the proceeds from the sale. Of course, that assumes that the proceeds from the sale will be sufficient to pay off the balance owed on the loan. If the real estate market takes a drastic turn for the worse, as often happens during a recession, that assumption could be wrong.

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What Is the Role of a Civil Engineer?

Anytime a new building or structure, whether commercial or residential, is constructed, a number of different steps must be taken during the process. It takes a team of professionals to take a building from conception to construction. A civil engineer is usually among those professionals. Whether you are planning to build a multi-million dollar commercial office park, or just your dream home, you may need to employ the services of a civil engineer.

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