Specialized Buyers Agent Answers Real Estate Questions

Q. Can you give me a quick rundown on what the sellers have to do to meet “code” when they sell their homes in this area? B. Jacobs, Strafford, PA

A. Happy to. There is a lot of misinformation on that topic in my profession. There are legal requirements and then there are contractual requirements. It helps to keep them straight. The principal law that requires sellers to do anything in order to sell their home is a type of local law called a “point of sale” or “use and occupancy” ordinance, enforced in PA by the township or borough where the house is located. In Radnor Township, for example, an outside inspection of house numbers and sidewalks must be done and sellers must sign an affidavit stating there are smoke detectors and the sump pump does not connect to the public sewer. This was recently changed to require an inspection of any illegal sewer connections, although I do not know if that means the township officials will go inside the home.

The general rule is that these ordinances are not allowed to be too invasive, weighed against need for the Township to protect the health and safety of its citizens. They usually involve only minimal cost. Overzealous enforcement can be a huge headache for sellers, who have little recourse but to complain to their elected officials. One seller I know (not from our area) had to replace all the balusters on his deck to meet current code in order to sell his house, at great expense. Another buyer was refused a certificate of occupancy because an existing drainage pipe ran under the ground from the road to a backyard stream and there was no recorded easement to PennDOT requiring it to be maintained.

In nearby Tredyfrrin Township, by contrast, there is no resale certificate required for existing home sales, although there is a “Use and Occupancy” requirement for new construction that applies certain standards for builders.

Most agreements of sale will require an inspection of the home and many inspectors will comment during the process on items that are not “up to code”. A good example might be ground fault interrupter electric outlets, required now in new construction but not when many homes were built. There is no legal requirement that a homeowner adhere to these newer codes, but many buyers will ask that the items be “fixed”. The standard agreement does not state that the buyer has this right but most inspectors and many agents are not aware how the contractual language is intended to apply in this situation.

 

 

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I moved to PA from Washington State and learned that realty is local. There were things that I thought I knew about buying a house previously but boy was I wrong. Linda was very patient with me but also did not hold back when she saw potential problems, and always made sure I had all the information I needed before making a decision and didn’t belittle concerns to just get a sale. Above all else, and this was the most important thing to me, Linda has a high ethical standard, is very transparent in her approach and is someone I trusted making one of the biggest decisions of my life. – A. Lindsay (Courtesy of Google)

 

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Read more about what our clients have to say

Hear from our Clients

  • "We were so pleased that a co-worker recommended someone in the area that she trusted. Boy, did we strike gold on all counts. You are amazing!"
  • "Instead of trying to take advantage of conflicts of interest, she puts the client's interests first."
  • "Linda is a hardworking, proactive and knowledgeable realtor. Throughout the process of finding and buying our new home, she was always responsive and kept us up to date on every detail."
  • "Linda and the group at Sage are the right fit. You won’t find more knowledgeable, prepared and professional agents."
  • "Linda and Tracey really know the Main Line area."
  • "Throughout the entire process we never doubted that she always had our best interests in mind. We wouldn’t consider anyone else when buying a home on the Main Line."
  • "From start to finish, Linda brought to bear a most helpful combination of experience, knowledge, attention and integrity on a somewhat complicated transaction. There was never any doubt that she represented our interests."
  • "Her knowledge of the area helped us quickly narrow our search and ultimately scored us an amazing home in an incredible neighborhood."
  • "It is hard to trust when you are not sure of the rules of the game. Working with Linda made us feel like we were family. Linda took her time to relay and explain everything in detail."
  • "Linda’s honesty and real estate savviness made for a wonderful home buying experience!"

Read more about what our clients have to say

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