Point of sale inspections before settlements is a big issue in our area with many of the municipalities, we have 283 in our area that our government affairs directors at Suburban Realtors Alliance deal with on a daily basis. Many of these municipalities do not know of or understand the details of the PA Municipal Code and Ordinance Act which requires them to issue Temporary U & O Certificates and whilst it allows them to request deposits into escrows the act allows for some large penalties if the homeowners do not complete the required work within the 18 months the act requires the municipality to give them to complete.
In fact our local government affairs office has just created this website http://www.thisdoesntmakesense.org/ which shows how long some of these point of sale inspections will take to rectify these "important" issues that municipalities need to address so urgently.
I am currently dealing with a Fannie Mae sale in one of these municipalities and when delivering the U&O Inspection request with the permit fee, $250 again being Fannie Mae this had to be paid by the buyer, encountered their escrow requirements for repairs to any items that fail the inspection, and their list is quite extensive, including sewer laterals. In this case my buyer is going to obtain financing post settlement to do the repairs, so has no available funds for escrow and this being a Fannie Mae property there are no funds available from the seller. I mentioned the act and was greeted with amazement and interest as to what the act allows and requires the township to do.
I asked the CEO of Suburban Realtors Alliance to send a copy of the act over to the township and his covering email laid out what we feel is a good solution for the township.
Today, I heard two good pieces of news, whilst at the U & O inspection, the township has dropped the escrow requirement of issuing the U & O Certificate, and they now require the new homeowner to sign a letter saying they will do the work in a set amount of time. The act says specifically this is 18 months, so we will have to wait and see what they say. Also another Realtor who had been told the township required a $5000 escrow for a sewer lateral also discovered the township was dropping this request and allowing the settlement to move ahead without the escrow, but with a requirement for the work to be completed. So a win for the good guys.
As a Realtor, this is one of the issues I deal with for consumers. Protecting their interests and their ability to go to settlement without onerous requirements. It is why I am involved with my local association Suburban West Realtors Association and why I believe my association provides good value through being an shareholder of Suburban Realtors Alliance. Having the association behind me to back me up allows me tackle these thorny issues and hopefully achieve results for consumers that allow them to sell and buy homes as easily as possible. Not every real estate agent is a Realtor, who upholds a code of ethics, or is held to that code by other Realtors. Who you use to help you buy and sell a house is important.
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