Have you attended an open house and innocently discussed your current situation with the hosting agent when you were told to STOP, and a green paper was being put in front of you to sign?
This green paper is known as The Consumer Notice, and it must be presented by any licensed PA Real Estate Professional before they can have any discussion on your needs and motivations for seeking real estate services. It is NOT A CONTRACT, but an affirmation that you, the consumer, have been advised of your rights.
The Consumer Notice serves as notice of your rights and business relationships that exist in a real estate transaction.
By signing The Consumer Notice, you and the agent have NOT entered into a binding contract, but simply acknowledged you received information pertaining to your rights in representation in a real estate transaction. For example, if you're a buyer attending an open house, the agent hosting the open house may identify themselves as the seller's agent and their duty is to their client – the seller.
This agent has a fiduciary relationship with the seller and you should to be careful what information you disclose to that agent in what may seem like casual conversation. If you end up pursuing a purchase of that home, you may be sorry you disclosed certain information. This is where you have the right to know that you may want to consider a Buyer's Agent to represent your interests.
The next time a Consumer Notice is presented to you, read it carefully and afterwards don't be afraid to sign, it is there for your protection.
A copy of the Pennsylvania "Consumer Notice" is available at any real estate brokerage office or from any licensee. To obtain a copy of the "Consumer Notice" or to gain more information about agency relationships in Pennsylvania, feel free to contact us at 717-364-3000.
For further information about real estate laws and consumer education in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, visit the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS.
Navigating the "Minefield" of Real Estate, an Interview with Mark Duffie. Mark, Broker and Lawyer for Lawyers Realty, took a few moments to talk about his experience as a real estate attorney and the complicated challenges that can arise in buying or selling real estate.
What is it that appeals to you about the law, especially as it pertains to real estate?
With respect to the practice of law in general, the sense of problem solving and assisting others with legal matters is what drives me.
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
The sense of accomplishment is rewarding especially when it is done on someone's behalf. In the real estate field, you become a facilitator of transactions. The structuring of the deal and the documentation often make or break the deal.
What do you like the most about working with the law and real estate?
Real estate really provides an opportunity for attorneys to become very creative to meet the demands of the client. The challenges involved with every transaction are unique as are the solutions. The closing on a complicated well-structured deal is what we real estate attorneys work for. That is what makes real estate law so rewarding.
What are some of the legal "pickles" buyers and sellers get into by not having a lawyer involved in the real estate transaction?
Legal pickles. That is an open can of worms. Most real estate agents and clients are not educated on fundamental contractual principles including breach and remedies.
Buyers and sellers enter into agreements often times not knowing the implications given the circumstances. When the transaction warrants, standard agreements need to be amended. That is often times when the "pickles" occur.
When a buyer acquires property, they do not just acquire bricks and sticks. They acquire a bundle of legal rights of which they must become aware. They need to be educated on restrictions, easements, clean and green as well as other acquired rights.
The problems arise when these agreements are improperly drafted and these rights are not reviewed or improperly reviewed. Specifically, I have seen sellers try to sell a property that was already subject to an option or buyers attempting to buy a property under a fictitious name.
If you had to describe the real estate transaction in one word or one phrase, what would that word or phrase be?
Mark C. Duffie is an attorney and Broker for Lawyers Realty, LLC. Mark focuses the majority of his legal practice in both residential and commercial real estate transactions. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Akron. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors of the West Shore Chamber of Commerce and the Mechanicsburg Area High School Alumni Association. Mark lives in Lewisberry with his wife and two children.