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Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

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.

Does unpaid child support interfere with travel?

For non-custodial parents who have fallen behind on child support payments, a number of questions may be on their mind. For example, people going through this may worry about being taken into custody or wonder how their inability to pay child support will affect their lives in other ways. For example, they may be unable to apply for a U.S. passport, which could spell disaster for those who have important travel plans. Pennsylvania parents who are struggling with child support payments should go over their options and do their best to address the situation.

According to the U.S. Department of State, a parent who has $2,500 or more worth of back child support will be unable to receive a U.S. passport. For parents who owe too much unpaid child support to successfully apply for a passport, making arrangements to pay arrears in a timely manner is essential. Moreover, it can take weeks for your passport application to be processed once you have made proper payment arrangements.

Tips for avoiding legal conflicts with contractors

The world of real estate can be lucrative, but is also fraught with legal complications that can drain your wallet. Even a minor dispute can be long, tedious and expensive. Sometimes, these disputes arise from issues with a project’s contractor.

When most people are hiring contractors, they do not focus on the possibility of a lawsuit. But in our litigious world, legal tussles are increasingly common. It is helpful to have a few general tips on hand for how to avoid legal conflicts with a contractor.

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Whether you need help with a divorce, a real estate transaction or starting a small business — our lawyers are prepared to address your unique legal needs. For a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us directly at 215-253-3855.

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