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Articles Tagged "Buying"

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"The best deal investment you can make is to buy a primary residence that you're the owner-occupier of"

Great advice for today's prospective buyers from Billionaire John Paulson!  Among Paulson's explanations on the benefits of purchasing featured in this KCM Blog article, he explains:

"And you've locked in the cost over the next 30 years. And today the cost of owning is somewhat less than the cost of renting. And if you rent, the rent goes up every year. But if you buy a 30-year mortgage, the cost is fixed."

Contact a Lawyers Realty market expert (717-364-3000) to guide you through the home buying process and help you make your investment!


According to the Trulia Rent vs. Buy Archives it is over 38% cheaper to buy than rent in most metro areas in Pennsylvania.  They report that their studies find that buying remains cheaper in all 100 top Metro areas across the United States.  However, mortgage rates have slowly risen which has slightly narrowed the gap.  Buying vs. Renting is a hyper local comparison because each market is driven by different forces.  The cost of buying in Detroit is less than Pennsylvania, and much less than California.

Check out Trulia's nationwide index:


If you are currently renting, check out Trulia's Rent vs. Buy calculator for your situation and contact a Lawyers Realty Real Estate Professional Today!  Stop paying your landlord's mortgage!


Have you been thinking about buying a home?  Here are five good reasons published on the KCM Blog from Eric Belsky, Managing Director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University.  He published a paper on homeownershipThe Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America in which he detailed the points below:


1.) Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available.

"Few households are interested in borrowing money to buy stocks and bonds and few lenders are willing to lend them the money. As a result, homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. Even a hefty 20 percent down payment results in a leverage factor of five so that every percentage point rise in the value of the home is a 5 percent return on their equity. With many buyers putting 10 percent or less down, their leverage factor is 10 or more."

2.) You're paying for housing whether you own or rent. 

"Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord."

3.) Owning is usually a form of "forced savings".

"Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people's tendency to defer savings to another day."

4.) There are substantial tax benefits to owning.

"Homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from income...On top of all this, capital gains up to $250,000 are excluded from income for single filers and up to $500,000 for married couples if they sell their homes for a gain."

5.) Owning is a hedge against inflation.

"Housing costs and rents have tended over most time periods to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation, making owning an attractive proposition."


If you are considering purchasing a home, contact a Lawyers Realty Agent today to learn about the home buying process and representation that protects your interests.  717-364-3000


Come and explore this modern 4,696 Sq. Ft. home nestled in a 5+ acre wooded lot in Upper Allen Township, Mechanicsburg School District. Many elements in this open concept design are perfectly suited for entertaining or just quiet relaxation. Offered at $750,000. OPEN HOUSE, May 18 from 1-3PM, Hosted by Scott Liebel 717-773-5067


Elizabeth Statler JUST LISTED this amazing custom executive home in Fishing Creek Estates, Middle Paxton Township.  No detail was overlooked in this Stunning 1-level luxury property.  Style and Privacy can be yours in this 3 Bedroom, 3.5 Bath home!  Chef's Kitchen with Custom Cabinetry, Quartz Counters, Thermador appliances and 2 pantries.   Sumptuous Master Suite with His/Hers Walk-in-Closets and Beveled Glass Pocket Doors.  Wide-Plank Cherry Hardwood Floors and Plantation Shutters throughout.  Finished Walk-out Lower level with Kitchen and Full Bath for possible In-law quarters.  In-ground Pool, Hot tub, Geo-Thermal heating/cooling and 5 car garage make this property stand out from the rest.  See more at:


The internet continues to grow as the primary resource for home buyers.  According to The Digital House Hunt: Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate the internet is a primary research tool for 90% of home buyers.  The study also found that real estate Google searches have increased 253% over the past four years.  Internet home searchers are also going mobile in large numbers.  

What does this mean if I'm selling my home?  Exposure on the internet is key, including appearance in pictures and virtual tours (attracting buyers to look at your home in person).  Lawyers Realty is exceptionally positioned for the internet age buyer - our website features our listings as well as those across Central Pennsylvania.  Our mobile site will also allow buyers to find the information they need where they need it.

Contact a Lawyers Realty Agent today to talk about the importance of the internet in buying or selling your home (717) 364-3000.    


Would you like to be in this chair?



You have been searching and searching for a new home within your price range. What you are finding are houses that are best described as "a fixer upper", "has great bones but in need of TLC", "stuck in the 1970's -  does lime green sound familiar".  What has been your reaction to these houses?  "No way, we can't afford to buy the house AND do any work!"  

Well, did you know that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has a program for that?  The FHA 203k Rehab Loan allows for the cost of renovations to be included in your mortgage.  By considering this program, many more houses may open up to you as possible choices. 

The 203k Rehab Loans allows for a variety of repairs to the home.  It can be used for such things as painting; minor repairs; updating kitchens, bathrooms or flooring; plumbing and electrical work; among others. A validated contractor will be required to provide estimates on the renovations as well as complete the work within 6 months.  

The FHA 203k Loan is a great option to help improve a potential home, but the process may take longer than other loans so be prepared to be patient.  By working with a REALTOR®, you will be guided throughout the process which would include putting you in contact with the right mortgage professional who knows the ins and outs of the FHA 203k Program and can qualify you. 

When you are ready to buy, choose the Lawyers Realty Team – a REALTOR plus a Real Estate Attorney at no additional cost.  It is Added Value & Protection for buyers. (717) 364-300 or visit



 To the buyers and sellers we have worked with this year and in the past, the REALTORS, Office Administration & Attorneys at Lawyers Realty thank you. And to those of you that have entrusted us enough to have referred your family and friends, thank you.

It doesn't have to be a holiday for us to be thankful, but Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the gratitude for our bounty and for the relationships that we treasure.

 We greatly appreciate the opportunity to have been the real estate company to represent you in the purchase and/or sale of your homes.  The same homes where families and friends will gather this Thanksgiving to reflect and give thanks for their blessings.

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." John F. Kennedy

What are you grateful for?


The search for a new home can be an exciting one; however, before you begin your quest for that dream home, your REALTOR® would require that one of your first steps would be to meet with a mortgage lender.  This individual will help you determine the price range at which you should be looking and at the end of the meeting if all goes well you should find yourself pre-qualified for a mortgage loan. 

What is one of the primary factors that go into a lender's decision of whether or not to grant a loan? Credit scores.  It has been estimated that nearly 75% of all mortgage loan decisions are made with the applicant's credit score in mind. 

The importance of credit scores in mortgage decisions and real estate transactions has risen over the past decades, and this is in large part due to what the lenders call risk-based mortgage pricing.  Essentially, the lender will make a decision on a mortgage based on how much risk is involved in the transaction.  If an individual has a credit score below 700 (which I'm sure none of you do), then that tells the lender that they are at higher risk of defaulting on their obligation to pay, and that will be reflected in the loan that they propose.  They may be offered a higher interest rate.
Now before you rush off to a free credit report website in a wave of panic, please keep in mind that a credit score is not a permanent and accurate representation of who you are as a person, and many mortgage lenders understand that.  It is important to find a lender who can see you as an individual with your own story.  That is not to say that you should ask them to completely disregard a credit score of 450 and give you a loan for that million dollar home, but there are some lenders out there who are willing to work with a low credit score, owing to the fact that you are not a number, but a person.  They will take into account things like your rental history.
That being said, it can't hurt to try and raise your score before meeting with a lender, and there are many ways to do this.  Getting a credit card and keeping up with the payments is a quick and easy way to improve your credit and show lenders that you are serious.  In the end, that is all the lenders want.  They want to know that you are a responsible borrower and understand the value of a positive credit history, and a high credit score will give them a good first impression. 

Consumer NoticeHave 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.

  • Seller Agent: the licensee works only for the seller/landlord
  • Buyer Agent: the licensee works only for buyer/tenant
  • Dual Agent:  the licensee works for both seller/landlord or buyer/tenant
  • Designated Agent: the broker may designate one or more licensees from the agency to represent the consumer. This occurs, for example, when your real estate agent and the other party's real estate agent work for the same company or office.
  • Transaction licensee: Licensee performs real estate services without having any relationship to the consumer.

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.


Mark Duffie

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 DuffieMark 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.

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