Depending upon where you are purchasing or selling real estate or real property in Pennsylvania, you may find that the real estate community has effectively discouraged the engagement of an attorney. Because realtors have affiliated themselves with title insurance companies and agencies (sometimes owned in part by the principals of the real estate firm) many people mistakenly believe that there is no need for an attorney. This is particularly imprudent for all Buyers, particularly those purchasing new construction. What realtors fail to explain is that they are employed by, and paid by, the Seller, unless specifically engaged as a Buyer’s Agent. Even “your” agent, from a different real estate firm than the listing agent, is a sub-agent of the Seller.
For many people, purchasing a home is the largest and most important financial transaction of their lives. They may purchase only a few homes during their entire lifetimes. The standard “Pennsylvania Association of Realtors Agreement of Sale” serves two (2) purposes. Initially, the form serves as a binding offer. Once it is signed by Buyer, it cannot be withdrawn or modified. It if is accepted by the Seller, it becomes your contract. Therefore, it is important to have the offer reviewed by an attorney BEFORE it is signed and presented to the Seller. Remember, the realtor does not get paid unless the property sells. Realtors are trained to get you to sign an offer so that you are emotionally and legally committed to purchase the property. It is difficult to change the terms of the contract after it is accepted by the Seller.