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May be worth it to hire an attorney before buying a home in Pennsylvania

5/2/2012 | Real Estate Blog

A Census Bureau report released on Tuesday revealed that the national rate of homeownership has fallen to its lowest level in 15 years, at 65.4 percent. An increase of renting accompanies the decrease, to the point where the apartment-vacancy rate was 8.8 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

The new report also noted that nationwide construction spending rose slightly in March, making it 6 percent higher than it was last year. Residential construction spending, in particular, increased rose 2.9 percent since last year. In terms of single family dwellings, construction spending rose 3.8 percent since February. As far as multifamily dwellings, spending fell 3.1 percent since February. According to a survey conducted by the national homebuilder Pulte, more folks plan on making a residential real estate transaction within the next two years, but the market shift from renter to buyer will not happen quickly.

The trend of decreased home buying and increased renting is present in the Philadelphia region as well, where the homeownership rate fell to 54 percent in 2010. In terms of foreclosures, the number in Philadelphia fell between March 2011 and March 2012. Nationwide, 3.5 million foreclosures have been completed since 2008.

Homeownership, obviously, is a big decision and involves a number of financial and legal considerations. While it isn’t required in Pennsylvania to hire an attorney to close a real estate transaction, it may be worth it to do so. Real estate agents may be more interested in closing a deal than in making sure the deal is what you want it to be, and an agent will not be able to answer questions that an attorney will be able to answer. To an attorney, the most important thing in a real estate transaction is that your interests as a buyer are represented. .

Source:, “Census Bureau: Homeownership rate at lowest point in 15 years,” Al Heavens, May 2, 2012.