Law Offices of Marshall D. Chriswell
Licensed in Pennsylvania State and Federal Courts
Offices in Indiana and Clearfield
(724) 465-5826
mchriswell@westernpalawyer.com
Real Estate

Here are the answers to some questions that clients frequently ask about Real Estate. These FAQs are provided for general information only and are not intended to be relied upon as legal advice. For a consultation, please contact us.

 

I am buying (or selling) a property, why should I have an attorney?

An attorney representing a buyer or seller of real estate performs an integral function of the transaction, ensuring that the title is properly transferred, and that the sale is handled efficiently and effectively. Some of the responsibilities of an attorney handling a real estate transaction include:

  • review and negotiate the agreement of sale
  • carefully review the property records, including previous deeds, easements, mortgages, and other liens.
  • certify that good title passes to the buyer
  • ensure that the seller has the legal right to sell the property
  • advise the parties regarding how the deed should be worded, and draft the deed.
  • obtaining a title insurance policy where required
  • conduct closing and ensure the appropriate apportionment of settlement costs

Can a buyer and seller be represented by the same attorney?

It depends. There are situations where it is more efficient and cost-effective for both parties to be represented by the same attorney; however, in many cases it is prudent for the parties to be represented by separate counsel. Also, in some instances an attorney is prohibited from engaging in dual representation because it would violate rules of professional ethics.

 What are the differences between the common forms of ownership in Pennsylvania?

Sole Ownership – One individual owns a 100% interest in the property.

Tenants in Common- A form of joint ownership where the joint owners each own a particular percentage interest in the property. When one owner dies, their percentage of interest passes to their heirs, who become tenants in common with the other owners.

Joint Tenant with the Right of Survivorship - A form of joint ownership where each owner has the right to possess the entire property. When a joint tenant dies, his ownership interest passes to the other joint tenants.

Tenancy by the Entireties – A form of joint ownership which may only be created by a husband and wife. This form of ownership is similar to Joint Tenancy, except that it also provides limited protection of the property from the creditors of either spouse.  Further, one spouse may not sell their interest in the property without the consent of the other spouse.