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Residential Real Estate Archives

Understanding the basics of buying a home


For most people in Philadelphia and its suburbs, buying a home will be the largest financial transaction of their lives. Even couples who are purchasing their second or third house may be unaware of changes in the complex state and federal laws that regulate land sales. The summary that follows does not pretend to provide complete and authoritative legal advice -it merely explains the basics that are common to most if not all residential real estate purchases.

New mortgage disclosure rules take effect


Anyone in the Philadelphia area who has used a bank loan secured by a first mortgage to purchase residential real estate in the last thirty years has dealt with several forms intended to disclose the terms of the loan. According to federal rules, lenders were required to give these forms to borrowers before the closing, but the forms often lacked correct information or were not provided until the day of closing, effectively depriving the borrowers of the intended protections. Under a new set of rules promulgated by the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") that became effective on October 1, 2015, lenders, borrowers, loan brokers and real estate agents are learning to work with a new set of disclosure requirements and a new set of disclosure forms that apply to all residential real estate transactions.

Reverse mortgage can be trap for surviving spouse


One of the most innovative and appealing developments in the law of residential real estate in the last thirty years is the so-called "reverse mortgage." Instead of providing money to purchase a home, a reverse mortgage allows home owners to convert a portion of their accumulated equity into cash. The amount of the mortgage amount then becomes a lien on the residence. Three recent cases in the Philadelphia area have revealed a hidden trap for couples where only one spouses is named as mortgagor. When that spouse dies, the bank that provided the cash can foreclose on the reverse mortgage and take back the house.

Understanding Pennsylvania's installment land sales contract law

Many people in Pennsylvania who want to buy a house cannot qualify for a bank loan secured by a mortgage. In such circumstances, these buyers frequently enter into an installment land contract with the seller. Such an agreement can offer a path to home ownership that may be closed by financial circumstance, but such contracts also have an element of risk that should be understood by anyone considering signing such an agreement.

What is a title examination?


Real property is immovable: the land remains in the same place more or less forever. But it may have changed hands many times. In Pennsylvania, as in virtually every other state, the sale of land can be a very formal transaction, comprising a deed, a loan, a mortgage, and various warranties about the physical condition of the land. Unfortunately for the buyer, none of these documents provides any guarantees that the seller actually owns the land and has the right to sell it.

Selling a house: disclosure of material defects


Houses can be complex structures, with many systems that are susceptible to defects that are not readily apparent to a prospective buyer. For example, a basement that leaks after a heavy rain may not appear to be wet in August or after a period of no rainfall. Similarly, a buyer who inspects a house in the summer may not notice that the furnace does not work properly. In order to assist persons buying a home and prevent sellers from hiding known defects in a house, Pennsylvania has enacted the Real Estate Seller Disclosure Law.

Knowing the basics for purchasing your dream home is important


For many people, the idea of owning their own home may be an important dream. If you have made owning your own home a goal, you may wonder about the process and sometimes feel overwhelmed by all it entails. Because of the importance purchasing a dream home often holds in many people's lives, it is worth it to be knowledgeable concerning the process of purchasing residential real estate when pursuing the dream of buying your own home.

How do I prevent losing my home to foreclosure?


Though the Pennsylvania economy is seemingly showing signs of recovery, residential real estate foreclosures are still disturbingly common, with record numbers of home foreclosures throughout the United States and Pennsylvania. Besides being emotionally problematic, as losing one's home is definitely difficult, foreclosure can negatively affect your credit score. You may even end up owing the bank more money, called a deficiency judgment, if your home is worth less than the amount you owe on your mortgage.

U.S. groundbreaking rose 6.3 percent last month


Buying a new home is always a thrilling event, but it may also be stressful at times. Residential real estate sales were on the decline for quite some time, but it seems as if things are starting to look up in the area of property transactions.

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