Buying & Selling real estate in Pennsylvania does not require an attorney, but as real estate attorneys, we have seen where there was a need, especially in today's market where it is more complicated than ever.

From that perspective we created the Real Estate Company of Lawyers Realty. The only real estate company in the area that provides the services of an attorney along with a Realtor.

Attorneys work along with your Lawyers Realty Realtor as a Team. This added value and protection does not cost anything additional to our buyers & sellers. It is just added Value & Protection.

For further information on Lawyers Realty visit our web site at
www.lawyersrealtypa.com or call to discuss your real estate needs with one of our Realtors (717) 364-3000.

Lawyers Realty, LLC

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

STOP! I Must Review the Consumer Notice with You: Pennsylvania’s First Step in the Real Estate Process

It’s always an exciting time when a first-time buyer decides to make the leap from renter to homeowner, or when a long-time owner decides to upgrade and buy their dream home.  

But as you begin talking to real estate agents about buying or selling, you will be STOPPED and presented the “The Consumer Notice.”  This is not a contract, but an affirmation that you, the consumer, have been advised of your choices and it must be presented by any licensed PA Real Estate Professional before they can have any discussion with you regarding your needs and motivations for seeking real estate services. 

Since it was first required by law in 1999, the Consumer Notice has educated real estate consumers of the various 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. This would apply, for example, it you were selling your home to a good friend at a mutually agreed upon price and simply needed someone to complete the paperwork.
By signing the Consumer Notice, you and the agent have not entered into a binding contract, but simply acknowledged the nature of your relationship. 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. This means their duty is to their client – the seller.

Because this person represents the seller, you would want to be careful what information you disclose to that agent during what may seem like casual conversation. If you end up pursuing a purchase of that home, you may be sorry you disclosed certain information.   

A copy of the Pennsylvania “Consumer Notice” is available at any real estate brokerage office, from any licensee or if attending an open house. 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.

Deciding on the ideal real estate agent can be daunting, but our services are ideal for buyers interested in beginning their search for the perfect property or for sellers seeking to list their property with a competent and fair brokerage.

Through our partnership with Johnson, Duffie, Stewart and Weidner, we step outside of the conventional broker model by ensuring that an attorney is included in every real estate transaction at no additional cost.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

“All we need is the REALTOR® to lower their commission…”

We’ve heard it time and time again; “We are so close to where we need to be on this house. Why can’t the REALTOR® lower their commission to make the sale?

The reason…

The commission is written into the terms of the Listing Agreement between the seller and the Brokerage. This is a contract which provides compensation to the brokerage for providing a service and is typically based upon the amount of marketing and expertise the seller’s agent brings to the selling party.

Typically, the listing broker will offer a buyer’s agent a percentage of the commission offered by the seller.   There seems to be a thought process by buyers that if they purchase a home using the listing agent and not having their own buyers agent that they will “get a deal”.   What they don’t understand is that the listing agent is still going to earn the commission as per the contract with the seller, and that they may cost themselves more money in the long run by not having their own representation. 

If the buyer is not represented, the REALTOR® would be acting as a dual agent, which in reality can be more difficult for the REALTOR®.  Besides having to make sure that they are being fair to both parties in negotiations, they have to do twice the work with scheduling home inspections, working with the buyer on financing, etc. 

REALTORS® only receive compensation when a home actually settles which can sometimes be a long process.   So when you really think about it, is it really fair to ask someone to reduce their paycheck for your benefit?  This also holds true when negotiations may come to a standstill between a buyer and seller.  Sometimes they look to the REALTORS® to pitch in to make it happen.  Again, as a professional, would you appreciate someone reducing your pay?

Keep your budget in mind when searching for a new home.  If you are looking at houses where you are asking for an agent to reduce their commission, you may be out of your price range.  Remember that a buyer’s agent will help guide you to the houses that fit within your budget.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Home Ownership and Your Income Taxes

We’ve all heard the classic reasons to buy a house; “It’s the American Dream,” or “It is yours to change and decorate to how you like.”
Those are some emotional reasons, now for a practical benefit:  

Tax Breaks!

When the beginning of the year rolls around, and it is time to reconcile with Uncle Sam, you will be thankful that you own rather than rent. 

All of the mortgage interest you paid during the year is tax deductible up to a $1,000,000,000 mortgage!  When you itemize your tax return you can deduct the interest paid during the year.

For a loan payment of $1,200 per month you could save somewhere in the neighborhood of $3,700 in taxes for the year. Check out this Alllaw.com article about the Tax Benefits of Owning a Home including some great examples of how a mortgage can help your tax situation.

Did you know that even a home equity loan has tax breaks associated with it? As you begin to pay down your loan and the value of your house increases, you create more equity. You can then borrow against that value to pay down other bills or do home improvements. That loan interest, in addition to your mortgage, is also tax deductible.

If you are currently renting and are in a position to purchase a home, you may want to stop giving away your tax deductions to the landlord. You know he/she is thanking you every year when they are reconciling with Uncle Sam.

If you had extra money coming your way from the IRS after doing your taxes this year, how would you spend it?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Our Holiday Traditions

With the holiday season in full swing and Christmas coming on Sunday, we’ve decided to put together some of our favorite holiday traditions/memories. 

Mary and Gina in the kitchen preparing
their traditional spaghetti dinner.
Mary Sill, a Realtor® at Lawyer’s Realty, and her best friend, Gina, have spent Christmas Eve together since 5th grade missing only two in the past 47 years. They enjoy a special spaghetti dinner from a family recipe.

John Andrews, an associate broker, has produced an elaborate family Christmas card and letter since about 1995.  It includes family photos and recounts major events in the family. John also comments on major trends in politics and culture and goes a bit over the top on this to serve as a standing joke for the family as well as a family history.

Andrews’ traditions continue on Christmas morning with a breakfast of eggs Benedict and a particularly rich coffee cake followed by beef tenderloin for Christmas dinner. John quips, “It’s an expensive and high calorie food day.”

Megan Duffie Flor with her 2 brothers
which includes Mark, our Broker, in the plaid.
Elizabeth Statler, one of our Realtors® says, “our most favorite family tradition is the Christmas Eve reading of The Night Before Christmas.”

It began as a way to get her young sons to willingly go to bed on Christmas Eve.  By using the last line of the poem, "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night" its then off to bed!!!  This has become a cherished tradition. As the boys learned to read, they earned their turn.  Oh, how proud they were the first time they got to read it. 

Since the boys have grown, they have read it over the phone with each other when they could not be together. They have recently welcomed a grandchild, but with her son and his young family living very far away they decided to buy a recordable version and sent it to their son to help continue the tradition with their granddaughter. The tradition carries forward with her son’s families.

Finally, myself, Lori Zimmerman, now that my children are in their 20’s I look back, and my fondest memory of Christmas is the magic of it. 

Lori's children, Ami & Zachary with Santa
Back to the years when they believed that there was a jolly man wearing a red suit driving a sleigh pulled by reindeer that cruised around the world delivering presents to good little boys and girls.  And to believe this all happened in one evening. Just the anticipation of it all as they had to wait a whole month as it counted down.

Then Christmas Eve arrives.  Oh, how long that evening was.  First there was Church service which my son couldn’t sit still for because he had to get home and get to bed or Santa would miss our house!  Then we would go to a dear friend’s open house which was always tradition for us to get lost getting too because they live in the middle of the back roads, and this was before GPS.  Then, finally home to bed.  

But with the morning came more anticipation as there was a whole pile of wrapped presents.   What was inside?  They wouldn’t know until they got their hands on each one and opened the magic inside.  

What is your favorite Christmas memory/tradition?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Want Holiday Sales? Only if you are listing.

When it comes to selling a home, many houses are sold in the warmer months of the year. Logically the warmer months usually mean a clear day to move and less risk of a snow storm on your potential moving day. However, don’t count out winter sales.
Top three reasons to keep your house listed throughout the holidays and winter months.
1)      The first reason to keep your house listed is simple. Potential buyers are still looking for homes. No matter the time of year, there are at least a few people still looking for a new home. Even if they aren’t necessarily looking to move in January, you can count on the buyer braving the cold and snow for that right house at that right price.

2)      Second reason - Less Competition.  Many people don’t want to have to “deal” with showing their house throughout the holiday season and may take their house off the market. Being one of the fewer homes kept on the market or listing it during this time will allow you to stand out among the crowd because there is less of a crowd.  

3)      The final reason to list your house through the holiday season and  throughout the end of the calendar year is because of transfers. Many businesses will transfer employees at the end of the calendar year and those buyers and families NEED to find a great house IMMEDIATELY. Take advantage of the lack of homes for sale and leverage that with the demand of the transfer market.
These are just three simple reasons to keep your house on the market during the holiday season. Can you think of any other reasons to put or keep your home on the market during this time?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Season for Giving

This time of year means many things to many people.  Be it family, friends, football, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, or shopping ‘til you drop in the early hours of the morning, there is one thing that Thanksgiving means to the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors and that is giving. Lawyer’s Realty is a proud member of the Association.

For the past 25 years your local Realtors and sponsors have donated to help feed those in our community who are less fortunate.  This year was my first year as a member of the committee that facilitates this drive.  This year we raised over $22,000 which allowed us to purchase 725 turkeys plus 725 Giant gift cards.  

On the morning of November 18th, in the parking lot of the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors, the turkeys were organized and ready to be picked up by the various charities that would in turn distribute them to the different families.  Each family would be receiving a turkey and a $20 Giant gift card for them to use towards the remainder of their Thanksgiving feast.  As each van or truck pulled up to be loaded, we received smiles and warm hugs that were worth more than money could buy.   Before this year, the total number of families that the food drive has fed was 8,344; now it is 9,069!

Keep an eye on our blog in the coming weeks as we will be highlighting both a reason to still be listing your house through the holidays and winter as well as our personal family traditions for the holidays. It should be a lot of fun and we look forward to hearing what you and your holiday traditions are.

Lori Zimmerman, Operations Manager/Realtor

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Battle in the Spirit of Giving

Recently, the Salvation Army of the Capital Region announced a battle.  No, not a typical Army battle, but one in the spirit of giving. We are all use to seeing the red kettles and bells signify the Salvation Army’s annual fundraising drive outside of various retail stores as we do our holiday shopping, but this year they’ve added a twist.

Beginning November 17 and running until the end of the year, a battle will begin.  Harrisburg-area businesses and organizations will staff 25 Red Kettles positioned at high-traffic locations to compete for the “Battle of the Bells” title by raising the most money at their kettle during the battle.

The Salvation Army is also asking local businesses and corporations to share their Red Kettle experiences via YouTube Videos as well as Twitter and Facebook updates and photos. While Harrisburg has been making international news for many negative reasons, the Salvation Army is hoping to turn the negativity around.

The Red Kettle Campaign is the Salvation Army’s most significant source of annual revenue to help feed, clothe and care for those in need. As the temperatures begin to drop, especially at night, and since we’ve already seen significant snow, remember those who are less fortunate. The Salvation Army aims to help protect those who need help and this battle is one way that you can help your local community.

For more information check out  http://www.salvationarmyharrisburg.org.