Pennsylvania Real Estate Guide

A guide to some of the issues that need to be addressed when selling real estate in Pennsylvania.

Writing the Contract?

One difficult section of the Pennsylvania Agreement of Sale is Contingency Options. Please click here to read an article explaining those options.

Who is going to do the Conveyancing?

Conveying a property is the act of transferring ownership usually through a deed. In Pennsylvania, the term Conveyancing is used to describe the task of gathering the information and certificates necessary to complete the transaction. When using a Title Company, the listing agent will be expected to provide all of the information to the title agent. This information will include mortgage payoffs, county, township and school tax certifications, water certifications, child support search and hoa/condo certifications. Some townships in Pennsylvania will require that the listing agent provide sewer certificates, trash certificates, and use and occupancy certificates. In order to deal with this some listing agents will hire a conveyancer and charge the seller a fee for this service.

If you choose to use our office, we will handle the conveyancing for the property at no charge to the seller. The closing agent will likely ask “Will you be doing the conveyancing or should I?” We do ask that if we handle the conveyancing, that you please forward all information on the property to the closing agent handling the transaction early. This will insure that your client will have a smooth settlement and avoid delays.

Please click here to view an example of a form used for conveyancing. When a form like this is used, the Agent will submit the form with all of the certifications attached.

Is there a Homeowners Association?

If so, order a 5407 Certification from the homeowners association. The 5407 Certificate protects both the buyer and seller. There may be a fee for the association to provide this document. The Buyer will be protected because the form will make him an educated consumer and limit any dues owed to those set forth on the certification.  A request by the Seller will protect him from an Association failing to provide the information.  Please click here for a more detailed explanation of a 5407 Certificate.

Is the Property a Condominium?

If so, order a 3407 Certificate from the Condominium Association. The Certificate will provide the same information as a 5407 Certification. Please click here for a more detailed explanation of a 3407 Certificate.


Does the Property have Well Water?

There are many areas in Chester and Delaware Counties that rely on well water for private use. If the property that you are selling does have a well, a well certification will need to be ordered. The site listed below will take to a list of companies that test well water.

Does the Property have a Septic System?

If the property does not have a septic system, please let us know so that we can make sure that any back sewer fees are paid at closing. If the property does have a septic system please let us know. Septic systems can be a source of problems so the earlier that we know about it, the greater the chance or avoiding problems that will hold up the sale. Please click here for an article on Septic Systems and Certifications.

Order a Tax Certification

Property taxes in Pennsylvania can be complicated.  Generally, there are three sets of taxes for Pennsylvania; county, township and school.  A tax certification will provide an accounting of all three, indicating whether back taxes have been paid to the correct entities. If taxes have not bee paid it will show what taxes are in tax claim.  Please click here to view an example of a Tax Certification.

Domestic Relations

Selling property in Pennsylvania will require a Domestic Relations Certification. This document will certify that no child support is owed by the seller of the property.  This is important because under Title 23 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, the Domestic Relations Section is given the power to create a lien on property for child support arrears. Lien information is available to the public by contacting the County Domestic Relations Section.  Please click here to view the form that we must submit to the Domestic Relations Section.

Can my client use a Power of Attorney for settlement?

The use of POA is different in Pennsylvania. If you plan on using a POA for a settlement please let us know as soon as possible so that it can be approved by the lender. There are cases where a lender will not permit the use of a POA. Where a lender will allow a POA there is specific language that must be included.  A general POA as used in Delaware will not be sufficient.  

Can my client appeal his Tax Assessment?

Under certain circumstances a property owner is permitted to appeal to Board of Assessment.  After filing the appeal, the property owner will submit evidence of value to the Board for consideration including photographs, recent appraisals, and documents of recent sales of similar properties.  The Board will consider all of the submitted evidence and determine if the assessment was accurate. Please click here for a more detailed explanation of Tax Appeals.