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Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

Ending your marriage during back-to-school season

It can be difficult to bring your marriage to an end during any time of the year. With that said, certain months can be especially challenging. With back-to-school season around the corner, many parents will find themselves running around to buy school supplies and clothes for their child, while dealing with the stress related to school season starting up once again. If you are in the middle of a divorce during this time of year, it can be especially tricky, which highlights how crucial it is to be prepared.

For starters, you should try to cover all of your options and make sure that the decisions you make are the most sensible. This may also be a difficult time for your child, who may have enough anxiety related to returning to school (social issues, adjusting to the daily routine, schoolwork, etc.). Try to help reassure your child that everything will be okay and serve as a source of support during this time.

How can you know how much your house is worth?

Homeowners who want to sell their house in Pennsylvania may be wondering how much their house is worth. The best way to get an accurate estimate is to get a professional appraisal, which takes into account a number of different factors to determine a fair price. There are also things owners can do to boost their home's value and entice buyers.

According to the SF Gate, an appraiser looks at a number of things to come up with an unbiased market value. One of the first things an appraiser looks at is the sale of other comparable homes, and this usually gives a base price for the home's value. The overall condition of a house is an important factor, as this is an obvious thing a potential buyer will see. Amenities are another factor. If a house has upgrades, or a lack of them compared to other homes, this will raise, or lower, the value. 

Making the first offer on a house

Buying a house is an exciting experience because it is a chance for buyers to settle down in a space of their own. However, submitting an offer can be daunting – whether or not you are a first-time buyer.

The best way to present an offer is including the right information and being flexible to the seller’s needs. If a buyer can accomplish those factors, the offer negotiations will be less intimidating for everyone.

Consider options to avoid foreclosure

Are you a homeowner in Pennsylvania who is struggling to keep up with mortgage payments? Unexpected circumstances, such as an employment change or a medical emergency, can put a strain on finances. Fortunately, there are a number of state and federal programs designed to assist homeowners in keeping their home, even when times are tough.

The PA Housing Finance Agency says the first thing you should do when either behind in payments or you know you cannot pay next month's mortgage is to contact the agency that is servicing your loan. It will help figure out alternatives or other options. Ignoring notices from the company will only make it worse, so be proactive and talk to an associate. Depending on your situation, your lender may give you an Act 91 notice, which is a loan program that assists in mortgage payments.

Preparing your home to sell on the market

When selling a home, “staging” goes a long way

A great deal of work goes into selling a home. Preparing your home for sale is more expensive than most people realize. On average, homeowners in the U.S. spend an average of $18,342 to prep their home for sale. These expenses include  closing costs such as realtor commissions, transfer taxes and title insurance, in addition to property appraisals and inspection costs.

The career impact of ending your marriage

Deciding to bring your marriage to an end can have a number of consequences and may lead to various challenges in life. However, divorce should not be looked at from a standpoint that is completely negative, since many people have been able to enjoy a number of benefits as well (finding a fresh start, a healthier lifestyle, etc.). That said, there are some different divorce-related topics that people should be aware of. For example, you may want to think about how the decision to split up with your spouse could affect your career.

There are multiple reasons why divorce can have an impact on your career. First of all, the divorce process can consume a lot of your time, which could interfere with work if you are not careful. Moreover, the stress and emotional turmoil that some people experience when they split up with their spouse can affect their performance in the workplace. However, divorce can also be advantageous with respect to your career. For example, you may be able to move to a new city where you can pursue more lucrative opportunities, or it might be easier for you to relocate because your spouse refused to move.

State Supreme Court says historical association should keep land

The concept of eminent domain may still seem to be difficult to comprehend for many in Philadelphia. While may be understandable why local governments would want to take dilapidated properties and use the land for public works projects, many may still fail to see how people who are living on coveted land (and paying property tax on it) can be forced to sell it and relocate when they do not want to. Ultimately it comes down to a question of land use. 

The laws governing eminent domain (or more specifically, the standards government entities must meet before invoking it) differ from state-to-state. A recent case showed those in New York to be being able to demonstrate a community benefit and, on the flip side, a diminished environmental impact. That was the case village officials tried to make when justifying their attempt to try and bur a parcel of land owned by a local historical association. The state Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of the association, agreeing that the village's represented had not sufficiently support their claims that their proposed parking garage would not impact the environment and would not contribute to traffic problems. The historical association bought the land over 11 years with the intention of building a museum. That plan has yet to materialize. 

Is handing over power of attorney right for me?

Granting another person your power of attorney is a major decision that should not be taken lightly. The benefits of doing so, however, may save you future hardship or help you through a difficult time now.

To give someone your “power of attorney” means to give another individual the right to legally act on their behalf. People often do this when they expect someone else to be able to make more informed decisions for them, or when they are simply unable (due to medical issues or time constraints) to speak on an issue themselves.

Do you need title insurance?

When you are preparing to purchase residential real estate in Pennsylvania, you may be advised to obtain title insurance on your purchase. Yet what is title insurance, and why would you need it when you have a binding purchase contract? What can title insurance protect you against?

Pennsylvania state code defines title insurance as insurance that protects you, as the buyer, against any liens, defects in title marketability, encumbrances, incorrect title information, or other conditions applying to the property. What this essentially means is that if the property owner sells the property to you when it has liens or other provisions that would complicate or otherwise prevent the legal sale of the property, you are not liable for said liens, encumbrances, or other matters.

The murky world of ancient mortgages

The phrase “ancient mortgages” evokes images of old record books with hidden secrets stored in a forgotten sub-basement of a bank or government building. In actuality, ancient mortgages most often lurk in digital databases and only rarely surface, most notably when someone wants to sell their property that was thought of as paid off years ago.

These home loans do not have to be over a hundred years old to qualify as ancient. Here are some questions and answers about what mortgages are ancient and why they can be a problem.

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