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The Facts About Purchase and Sale Agreements: An Interview with Peter S. Friedman, Esq. of Friedman, Schuman, Applebaum, Nemeroff & Kilkenny, P.C.

By Marsha Gauntlett-Kirby

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Friedman Schuman, P.C. is full-service law firm headquartered in Jenkintown, PA. We specialize in Residential and Commercial Transactions, Real Estate Financing, Land Use and Zoning and Real Estate Dispute Litigation. Some of our other areas of expertise include Banking and Financial Services, Wealth Preservation and Estate Planning, Trademarks and Intellectual Property, Personal Injury and Municipal Law.

Is there something that most people in Pennsylvania don't know about purchase and sale agreements that they should know?

Residential real estate transactions have become increasingly more complicated. There are several key aspects including agreement of sale, seller's disclosure, the home inspections, financing and the settlement expenses.

Can you briefly explain the main reasons why it's important to have a lawyer prepare and/or review a residential purchase and sale agreement?

In all likelihood, a buyer or seller of residential real estate will only be involved in one or two few real estate transactions during his or her entire lifetime. Real estate attorneys who handle residential real estate transactions on a regular basis have acquired the skills and practical experience to professionally guide a purchaser or seller through a residential real estate transaction.

What is the ­Pennsylvania state law regarding working with an attorney at this stage?

It is critical to work with an attorney at the purchase and sale agreement stage. Once the agreement of sale is finalized and signed, the negotiations are over except for issues that arise during the home inspection process. In particular, buyers should have an attorney review the agreement to make sure that all issues and concerns have been addressed.

How reliable is it when a standard "PAR (PA Board of Realtors) Form" type of form is used for the agreement?

The Board of Realtors form favors and protects the seller.

What are some of the most common unfavorable variations/items you've found in purchase and sale agreements?

The mortgage contingency clause, the title provision and the default (breach of contract) provisions require modification.

Do you have any advice for potential home buyers or sellers before they sign the agreement?

Consult with an attorney to review the agreement and present questions regarding the agreement and entire residential real estate process.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

The initial contact should be accomplished by telephone. Thereafter, a combination of telephone and email. Of course you can always visit us at www.fsalaw.com for more information.

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