Pennsylvania residential real estate laws concern matters of neglected property, bankruptcy, home equity, and seller property disclosure. Whether you are looking to buy a home or are trying to protect your assets during bankruptcy, having a trusted real estate lawyer on your side can give you peace of mind. We make sure you have followed all necessary steps and protect you from a home purchase that you may later regret.
At Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam, our Scranton real estate lawyers have been helping clients throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania for more than 50 years. This means that our attorneys will explain everything to you in detail to ensure no stone is left unturned.
When you’re making your first, second, or even third residential home purchase or sale, there are a number of things that can go wrong. There can be issues regarding the safety and ownership of the property that you need an attorney to confirm for you. We offer services such as title insurance and title searches to make sure all documents and ownership are up to date.
We can also help you get the proper inspections completed for the property you’re hoping to purchase or sell to make sure everything is up to code.
If you don’t have an attorney, you run the risk of finding out that you don’t actually own your home or didn’t have the rights to sell it. There are many situations where someone may be trying to sell a residential property that is the property of someone else, such as the bank or an inheritor, without even knowing. A residential real estate attorney will catch this issue before it causes irreversible damage, and help you fix the issue.
There are several different laws that you should be aware of before making a purchase of a home. These can help you gain ownership of a property at a reduced price, and/or help you protect your ownership of a property you are living in.
When you purchase a home in Pennsylvania, you most likely will encounter a document called the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement. This is a document the home seller completes to inform the buyer of any material defects with the property that may not be readily visible. These defects can include anything that may pose a significant adverse impact on the property.
Such elements you may need to disclose include:
This helps protect the buyer from any unknowns that may come across in or on the property.
In Pennsylvania, it’s possible to gain the title of neglected pieces of property if you have continuously improved them. Adverse possession law makes this possible.
To acquire a title through adverse possession law, the person’s possession of the land must be actually physical, continuous, visible, and hostile. By hostile, it means that the individual did not have permission to remain on the land for the prescribed 21-year limitation period.
In 2019, the adverse possession law was under review. Now, under updated legislation, single-family homes, including attached homes, on less than one-half of an acre of land can be claimed after only 10 years. Landowners and municipalities may need to reevaluate the status of their ownership.
When filing for bankruptcy, homestead laws allow property owners to protect the equity in their homes by declaring a portion of their property a “homestead.” These laws are in place to allow homeowners in the midst of bankruptcy to hold on to a certain amount of equity. They can only do this if the amount is greater than the remaining balance on the mortgage.
Currently, Pennsylvania has no homestead exceptions to utilize. However, there are existing federal homestead laws that are more generous. The exempted amount is adjusted every three years with the most recent adjustment occurring on April 1, 2022. The current amount can be up to $80,000. This means that homeowners can save about $1,119 a year on their Real Estate Tax bill in 2023. Federal law also requires that you have lived in the property for at least 40 months before filing for bankruptcy.
Real estate transactions are incredibly complicated. Not every lawyer has the track record and experience needed for these matters. That’s why you need Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam. With extensive knowledge of Pennsylvania’s real estate laws, our attorneys will make sure you understand the process and negotiate a fair deal.
If you live in Northeastern Pennsylvania and are in the middle of a residential real estate transaction, now is the time to get a Scranton real estate lawyer on your side. Put your trust in a law firm that puts your needs first. If you live in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wayne, Monroe, and surrounding counties, contact Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam for a free consultation today.
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