NEWS BRIEFS

Stay up to date on current News & Issues.

General News
PUC seeks comment on terminations and consumer protections

Bucks County
Middletown to consider anti-discrimination ordinance

Chester County
West Chester’s new budget reality — $9 million in cuts

Delaware County
County drafts housing plan

Montgomery County
Public input needed for Montco Pikes roadway plan

Philadelphia County
How will the repeal of the fair housing rule affect Philadelphia?

 

Blog

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Watch: Realtor Town Hall with Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Thursday, June 11, 2020 at 7:00:00 pm Comments (0)

The Suburban Realtors® Alliance hosted a Realtor® Town Hall with U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-5) — on Thursday, June 11, 2020. Watch it below:

 

 

The conversation covered COVID-19 relief efforts like Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and SBA loans, and broader legislative topics relevant to real estate like remote notarization. 

Panelists for the town hall include:
    • Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-5)
    • Stefanie Hahn (NAR Federal Political Coordinator)
    • Jamie Ridge (SRA President/CEO)


Monday, June 1, 2020

How to Use the New Voting Machines in 2020

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Monday, June 1, 2020 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)

In 2018, Gov. Wolf ordered all 67 counties in Pennsylvania to have paper-based voting machines in time for the April 2020 presidential primary. The systems produce a paper trail of votes that can be manually audited and recounted.


Choose a county to learn more about its voting machines:

Bucks County Chester County Delaware County Montgomery County

*Information comes from the Pa. Department of State's comprehensive resource explaining the new systems for each county.   


Bucks County

Bucks County uses Clear Ballot voting machines.

To mark ballots:

✏️  Most voters will use a hand-marked paper ballot. 

  See instructions for hand-marked ballot.

♿  An ADA-compliant option is also available — the Clear Ballot Clear Access Ballot Marking Device.

Click to view a video demonstration of the ADA-compliant option:


To cast ballots:

🗳️  All voters will cast their ballot using the Clear Cast Scanner.

Click to view a video demonstration:


More information:

Bucks County website — includes demonstration dates
Pa. Dept. of State website — includes step-by-step instructions and videos.

 

Chester County

Chester County uses Election Systems & Software (ES&S) voting machines.

To mark ballots:

✏️  Most voters will use a hand-marked paper ballot

  See instructions for hand-marked ballot.

♿  An ADA-compliant option is also available — the ES&S ExpressVote 2.1.

Click to view a video demonstration of the ADA-compliant option:


To cast ballots:

🗳️  All voters will cast their ballot using DS 200 Precinct Scanner.

Click to view a video demonstration of the ADA-compliant option:


M
ore information:

Chester Co. website
Pa. Dept. of State — includes step-by-step instructions and videos.

 

Delaware County

Delaware County uses Hart Verity voting machines.

To mark ballots:

✏️  Most voters will use a hand-marked paper ballot. 

  See instructions for hand-marked ballot.

♿  An ADA-compliant option is also available — the Hart Verity Touch Writer.

Click to view a video demonstration of the ADA-compliant option:


To cast ballots:

🗳️  All voters will cast their ballot using the Verity Scan Scanner.

Click to view a video demonstration:


M
ore information:

Delaware Co. website
Pa. Dept. of State — includes step-by-step instructions and videos. 

The Delaware County site also offers this overview video of the voting process (click to expand):

  

Montgomery County

Montgomery County uses Dominion systems.

To mark ballots:

✏️  Most voters will use a hand-marked paper ballot. 

  See instructions for hand-marked ballot.

♿  An ADA-compliant option is also available — the Dominion Imagecast X.

Click to view a video demonstration of the ADA-compliant option:


To cast ballots:

🗳️  All voters will cast their ballot using the ImageCast Precinct Scanner.

Click to view a video demonstration:


M
ore information:

Montgomery Co. website
Pa. Dept. of State: includes step-by-step instructions and videos

 

 

Friday, May 15, 2020

Watch: 'Legislative Update: Reopening Real Estate in Pennsylvania'

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Friday, May 15, 2020 at 2:00:00 pm Comments (0)

The Suburban Realtors® Alliance hosted a webinar — "Legislative Update: Reopening Real Estate in Pennsylvania" — on Friday, May 15, 2020. Watch it below:

 

The discussion covered efforts in the state House and Senate to reopen real estate throughout Pennsylvania, with a focus on House Bill 2412. The bill would to allow real estate service providers to be designated as a life-sustaining industry and resume working with safety precautions.

Jamie Ridge, SRA CEO/president, facilitated the conversation. Panelists included:

• State Sen. Tom Killion (9th District/Chester and Delaware counties)
• Mike McGee (PAR CEO)
• State Rep. Todd Polinchock (144th District/Bucks County)
• Jamie Ridge (SRA president/CEO)

 

Friday, May 1, 2020

Watch: 'State of Bucks County: An Update for Realtors'

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Friday, May 1, 2020 at 2:00:00 pm Comments (0)

The Suburban Realtors® Alliance and the Bucks County Association of Realtors® hosted a webinar — "State of Bucks County: An Update for Realtors®" — on Friday, May 1, 2020. Watch it below:

 

Bucks County leaders provided an update on how the county is operating during the coronavirus outbreak.

BCAR executive Pam Croke and SRA CEO/president Jamie Ridge facilitated the conversation.  Panelists included:

Commissioners Chair Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia (@ 2:30)
Commissioners Co-chair Robert J. Harvie Jr. (@ 9:20)
Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo (@ 15:10)
Recorder of Deeds Robin Robinson (@31:50)

 

Friday, April 24, 2020

Watch: SRA Hosts Legislative Town Hall with NAR, PAR

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Friday, April 24, 2020 at 6:00:00 pm Comments (0)

The Suburban Realtors® Alliance hosted a virtual town hall on Friday, April 24, to provide legislative updates at the local, state and federal levels. Watch it below:

 

The town hall was conducted as a Zoom webinar and focused on efforts to protect and support real estate during the coronavirus outbreak.

Speakers included:

  • PAR director of public policy Alex Charlton (segment begins at 01:30)
  • NAR political representative Drew Myers (segment begins at 25:50)
  • NAR director of federal housing and commercial policy Megan Booth (segment begins at 31:35)
  • SRA president/CEO Jamie Ridge (segment begins at 56:10)

 

 

 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Upper Darby considering costly sewer mandates for already stressed homeowners during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Friday, April 10, 2020 at 1:00:00 pm Comments (0)

April 10, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Pete Kennedy, 610-981-9000, sra@suburbanrealtorsalliance.com

UPPER DARBY, Pa. — The Suburban Realtors® Alliance (SRA) is urging Upper Darby Township Council to table a proposed ordinance that would require residents to perform costly sewer inspections and repairs when they sell their homes.

Draft Ordinance 3070, which is set for a council vote during an online meeting on April 15, would require home sellers to have a plumber inspect their sewer laterals — the pipes that carry sewage from homes to sewer mains under the street. The proposal is being considered at a time when the township has closed its offices to the public and drastically changed its public meeting procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The idea of introducing such an ineffective, but very expensive point-of-sale inspection during an unprecedented pandemic and financial crisis is mind-boggling,” said Jamie Ridge, SRA president/CEO. “Why rush through this major piece of legislation when there are obstacles to public engagement? Why add a new burden on home owners who are already worried about their income and upcoming mortgage payments?”

What's wrong with Upper Darby Draft Ordinance 3070?

• Home sales become more costly and difficult

• Ineffective at goal of preventing sewer infiltration

• Shouldn't be rushed through in health crisis

The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records advisory on coronavirus says, “To the extent that agenda items can be delayed until in-person meetings can resume, it’s a good idea to do so.” The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association says, “What can happen in the ordinary course of business should happen in the ordinary course of business with full and complete transparency after the emergency has ended.” The Pennsylvania State Association of Townships says, “if the township does not have business that it needs to conduct, then PSATS believes that it would be appropriate under these emergency circumstances to cancel or postpone the meeting.”

The proposed ordinance could deliver a devastating blow to an Upper Darby real estate market already troubled by extremely high local property taxes that have depressed the value of homes compared to neighboring communities. Typical sewer lateral inspections cost hundreds of dollars, and needed repairs can run into many of thousands of dollars.

“Point-of-sale inspections are also a wholly ineffective method of addressing the serious issue the township wants to fix — infiltration of fresh water into the municipal sewer system,” Ridge said. “By only inspecting approximately 1-2% of sewer laterals each year, it will take Upper Darby more than four decades to stop the infiltration of fresh water into the system via residential laterals.”

See also:

SRA Letter to Upper Darby Council 
(April 6, 2020)

PDF version of this press release
(April 10, 2020)

A smarter, more cost-effective plan would be to first determine whether the issue is being created by problems in the main sewer lines, Ridge said.

The SRA previously submitted comments to Upper Darby Council on portions of the draft ordinance that would violate Pennsylvania Act 133 of 2016. Ridge said that while those legal issues have been addressed, the SRA is strongly encouraging the council to table the proposed ordinance entirely until the state of emergency has been lifted and a more comprehensive solution can be designed with proper opportunities for public comment.

About Suburban Realtors® Alliance

The Suburban Realtors® Alliance is a subsidiary of the three largest local Realtor® associations in Pennsylvania: the Bucks County, Montgomery County and Suburban West associations of Realtors®. Between its three shareholder associations, the Alliance serves more than 12,000 members. For more information, visit www.suburbanrealtorsalliance.com.

###

Monday, March 30, 2020

SRA Coronavirus Updates

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Monday, March 30, 2020 at 12:00:00 am Comments (1)

The coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak is causing municipal and county government offices to drastically reduce their operations — affecting local code inspection processes and county recorder of deeds offices. At the Suburban Realtors® Alliance, we're working to minimize the impact of these changes on Realtors® and their clients who are involved in property transfers.

Because municipalities have different regulations and are reacting to the public health emergency in different ways, each case is unique. If you're involved in a transaction being held up by a municipal closure, your best sources for guidance right now are your company’s broker and counsel, as well as suggesting that sellers and buyers consult with their personal attorneys. 

What Realtors® should know:

  • Act 133 is still in effect. If a municipality has conducted a U&O inspection, it must issue a resale certificate — at least a temporary access certificate.
  • Many municipalities have altered their U&O procedures.  Some are issuing conditional U&O certificates without a full inspection, on the condition that buyers (and in some cases sellers and agents) sign affidavits stating that certain items like smoke detectors are already in place and that any issues revealed during the eventual inspection will be the responsibility of the buyer.
  • Recorder of Deeds offices in the four SRA counties are being affected by the state of emergency.
  • The Suburban Realtors Alliance is available to help you through specific issues. We continue to track news and public legal notices, and we've been assisting members with their municipal issues throughout the region.

Below are resources for more information about how coronavirus is affecting real estate in the Philadelphia suburbs.

 
 
Jump to a section of this page:

Coronavirus News   FAQ     More Resources Contact SRA


   


Coronavirus News

How the pandemic is affecting Realtors® and real estate

July 2020:

   7/13 — Gov. Wolf extends eviction and foreclosure moratorium through Aug. 31 (SRA News Briefs)

   

June 2020:

   6/26 — Suburban Philadelphia counties set to go green on June 26 (SRA News Briefs)

   6/11 — Watch: Realtor Town Hall with Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (SRA Video)

   6/5 — PAR Obtains More Clarification on State Guidance for Business Restrictions (PAR)

 

May 2020:

   5/22 — All red PA counties move to yellow on June 5 (Spotlight PA)

   5/21 — Wolf clarifies: Some evictions and foreclosures are permitted (Gov. Wolf)

   5/19 — All Real Estate In Pennsylvania Reopened With New Guidance (PAR)

   5/15 — Watch: 'Legislative Update: Reopening Real Estate in Pennsylvania' (SRA Video)

   5/14 — House Passes HB 2412; PAR Urges Wolf to Sign the Bill (PAR)

   5/11 — PAR issues call-to-action to support HB2412 to designate real estate as life-sustaining industry (PAR)

   5/1 — Watch: 'State of Bucks County: An Update for Realtors' (SRA/BCAR Video)

 

April 2020:  

   4/29 — PA real estate market adapts to COVID-19 (ft. SWRA Chairman Kit Antsey) (6ABC)

   4/29 — PA House Passes Bill to Allow Real Estate Services to Reopen (HB2412) (PAR)

   4/28 — Your Guide to PUA Benefits (NAR)

   4/24 — Watch: SRA Hosts Legislative Town Hall with NAR, PAR (SRA Video)

   4/24 — Wolf outlines three-step reopening plan; real estate returns in ‘yellow’ phase (SRA news brief)

   4/24 — Pandemic Unemployment Assistance application available online (PA Dept. of Labor & Industry)

   4/17 — Killion legislation would halt business evictions and foreclosures (Daily Local News)

   4/16 — Rep. Polinchock introduces bill to allow safe real estate transactions (SRA news brief)

   4/15 — Updates on industry waiver request and amicus brief filing (PAR) 

   4/10 — PAR Advocates for Real Estate During Pandemic (PAR)

   4/3 — PAR Files Brief Supporting Lawsuit to Request Governor to Designate Real Estate as a Life-Sustaining Business (PAR)

 

March 2020:  

   3/30 — Thanks to new affidavit, Aston can continue use and occupancy inspections (SRA news brief)

   3/27 — Real Estate License Renewal and CE Requirements Extended to Aug. 29 (PAR)

   3/26 — No deed, no deal: Pa. real estate industry stymied by move online (Inquirer)

   3/26 — PAR Officers: Follow Governor’s Order, Cease In-Person Business (PAR)

   3/24 — Governor Authorizes Temporary Use of Remote Online Notarization (PAR)

   3/19 — COVID-19 Addendum Available for Use (PAR)

   3/17 — As Local Governments Close, What Happens to Property Sales? (SRA Blog Post)

 

 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Questions we're hearing from Realtors about this situation.

Is Act 133 still in effect during the coronavirus outbreak?

Yes — if you have a property that was previously inspected, the municipality must issue at least a temporary access permit, allowing buyers of homes deemed “unfit for habitation” to access the building (without residing in it), and make substantial repairs within 12 months. It may also issue a normal use and occupancy permit (U&O) or a temporary U&O permit. Read more about Act 133 and the three types of resale permits here

What have you heard about ____________ township?

We have been in contact with most boroughs, townships and cities in our coverage area, but the circumstances have been constantly evolving. We ask our members to contact us with issues in specific municipalities. For municipalities that have offered new formal processes for the state of emergency, e.g. those that have created new affidavits, we have updated our municipal database accordingly.  

How are the recorder of deeds offices being affected?

We have confirmed that recorders of deeds in Bucks, Chester and Montgomery counties will accept online notarizations in compliance with Gov. Wolf’s temporary order. Those offices also have web-based systems for e-filing and in some cases have waived fees for those services.

The Delaware County Recorder of Deeds does not currently have a web-based system for e-filing and has not responded to our inquiries regarding online notarizations.

How is the outbreak affecting the Delaware County comprehensive reassessment project?

According to the county's project website:

"[A]ll informal property reviews with Tyler Technologies will be conducted by telephone. ... Tyler Technologies will be calling you within an hour of that scheduled time to conduct your informal hearing by phone. ...  YOUR PHONE LINE MUST ALLOW CALLS FROM PRIVATE NUMBERS OR WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO REACH YOU."  

 

 


More Resources 

Where to find the latest information about the coronavirus outbreak.

Realtor-specific resources

PARThe PA Association of Realtors has an indispensable information page with daily updates. 

NAR: The National Association of Realtors page has been tracking federal relief packages and other topics.

BCAR: Important information for Realtors® in Bucks County.

MCAR: Important information for Realtors® in Montgomery County.

SWRA: Important information for Realtors® in Chester and Delaware counties and on the Main Line.

 

Government/other resources

Bucks County Tracker Map

Chester County Tracker Map

Delaware County Tracker Map

Montgomery County Tracker Map

PA Health Department

 


Contact Suburban Realtors® Alliance 

We want to hear about your experiences — good and bad — in working with municipalities.

Email: sra@suburbanrealtorsalliance.com

Phone: 610-981-9000 (The SRA office is closed, but we are checking messages regularly.)

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

SRA Municipal Update: As Local Governments Close, What Happens to Property Sales?

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 2:30:00 pm Comments (0)

Here's a sampling of what we've been hearing from members since the coronavirus hit our region:

"I have a closing scheduled on March 25, but we need a re-inspection and the borough office just closed."

"The township just told me they are not conducting U & O inspections."

"Since they won't inspect, they want my buyer to sign a waiver saying she'll be responsible for any repairs they require after the sale."

Here are examples of municipalities finding a way to get the job done, even during the crisis:

“We are continuing with external inspections of properties, but we would love to see pictures if possible for the smoke detectors, fire extinguisher, hand rails and relief valve on the water heater. If needed, we will issue a conditional U&O for the property.”

“We are continuing our inspections, but will only enter buildings if they are unoccupied in an effort to protect our staff and avoid spreading the virus.”

Many municipal government offices have shut down or drastically reduced their operations during the public health emergency that is the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak. Where does that leave Realtors® and their clients?  Because municipalities have different regulations and are reacting to the public health emergency in different ways, each case is unique. If you're involved in a transaction being held up by a municipal closure, your best sources for guidance right now are your company’s broker and counsel, as well as suggesting that sellers and buyers consult with their personal attorneys.  

The Alliance has been in contact with individual municipalities when a settlement issue has been brought to our attention (with mixed success), and we are actively coordinating with the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® to find a broader solution to this unprecedented situation. 

Here's what we know:

Municipalities can't do use and occupancy inspections if their codes departments are shuttered.

That leaves several possibilities that we have heard: 

  1. An Impasse — Municipalities simply do not inspect, and our members have relied on their own company’s counsel to decide whether to move forward through an agreement between sellers and buyers.  

  2. Waiver/Buyer Responsibility — Municipalities provide a waiver, in which the buyer agrees to be responsible for addressing any code issues cited when an inspection is eventually done, after the sale closes.  We have already seen some municipalities issuing such waivers. While they allow the sale to proceed, they put the buyer on the hook for unknown — and potentially significant — expenses.

  3. A Modified Use & Occupancy Process – Several municipalities have created a new "self-serve" process that allows transactions to move forward through the signing of an affidavit. While there are several versions of this to date, the Aston Township model has been offered by SRA staff as an alternative to allow settlements to move forward without the post-settlement risk to buyers mentioned above. 

  4. A Statewide Solution? — PAR is working closely with statewide associations that represent the Commonwealth’s boroughs and townships to raise this important issue. While it is highly unlikely that a statewide and "one-size-fits-all" solution will be found, PAR and the SRA are actively seeking solutions to help alleviate the challenges being created by the myriad of municipal approaches to use and occupancy inspections and requirements.     

Of course, municipal inspections are just one part of the more complex process of buying or selling a property, and other areas may be similarly affected by the ongoing public health emergency. We will continue to coordinate with our leadership, our shareholders and the state association to find resolutions for these issues.

Please continue to keep us informed about your experiences with local, county and state government during the coronavirus outbreak. Email us at sra@suburbanrealtorsalliance.com.

 

See also:

https://www.parealtors.org/coronavirus/

https://www.nar.realtor/coronavirus-a-guide-for-realtors

 

COVID-19 Update: SRA Office Closes Temporarily

Posted by: Jamie Ridge on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 11:00:00 am Comments (0)

 
Dear SRA members,
 
In response to the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak in our region, the Suburban Realtors® Alliance office in Malvern is temporarily closed, but our work continues uninterrupted.

Alliance staff are working remotely, starting this week through the end of March. We continue to monitor the news and legal notices for any issues that could affect the members of our three shareholder associations. Our municipal database remains online. We are in contact with government officials to ensure necessary public health measures cause as little disruption to real estate as possible.

Stay in touch.

As always, our Realtor® members are a vital source of on-the-ground information. Please continue to contact us with any questions, concerns or issues you’re experiencing. We are responding promptly to messages sent via email and phone.

As this outbreak progresses, we will send updates as necessary.  In the meantime, we encourage you to utilize these sources of information.

Coronavirus: A Guide for REALTORS®
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Pennsylvania Department of Health
Analysis from NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun  
 
Sincerely,
Jamie Ridge
President/CEO, Suburban Realtors Alliance
Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Delco Reassessment Project Explained

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 3:00:00 pm Comments (2)


Delaware County is reassessing all 200,000 residential and commercial properties within its borders.
 

The county is working to determine the market value of each property, which will be used to calculate real estate taxes starting in 2021. 

• Why is it happening?

• What is the timeline?

• Important points to know  

SRA flyer and other resources

 


   Update: Official assessment notices will be mailed July 1, 2020. Property owners have until Sept. 1 to file an appeal . Read more here on the county project website.

 

 

   Why is the comprehensive reassessment happening?

The countywide reassessment is the result of a court order.

Two families who purchased homes in Rose Valley Borough and Haverford Township in 2014 found their tax assessments to be too high. They challenged the county’s assessment process in court, and won.

The judge who heard their petitions — Judge Charles B. Burr of the Delaware County Common Pleas Court — determined that property assessments in the county were so inconsistent that they violated the state constitution.

In 2017, the judge ordered the county to reassess all properties within its borders.

The goal of the reassessment is to determine accurate values of all properties in the county, so that owners are paying a fair amount of property tax and the tax burden is distributed equitably across all taxpayers.

   What is the reassessment timeline?

February - March 2020:  New 'tentative assessment' notices mailed out

On Feb. 14, the county began sending out notices of new tentative property assessment values to property owners. The notices will go out in four batches. To find out when each municipality is scheduled to receive notices, view the mailing schedule.  

Owners who feel their new assessments are too high — meaning they could not sell their property at that price — can request an informal review meeting via the Tyler Technologies website, but they must do so within 10 days of the date on the notice. Otherwise, they can go through the formal hearing process. 

March 2 - May 15, 2020:  Informal review hearings

During informal reviews, property owners meet with representatives from Tyler Technologies. Property owners should bring any documentation, including comps and photos, to support their claim that their assessment is too high.

View a sample informal review (17-minute video)

Delco-Assess from The Media Message on Vimeo.

July 2020:  New assessments mailed

The county will mail out new assessed values to property owners, reflecting any updates from the informal hearings.

July - October 2020:  Formal appeals period

The county Tax Assessment Appeals Board will hold formal assessment appeal hearings with property owners whose disputes were not resolved in the informal hearings. 

Due to an expected high number of appeals, the county is looking for residents to serve as Auxiliary Tax Assessment Appeals Board Members. Applicants must live in Delaware County and cannot be an active property assessor. Selected applicants will receive a six-hour training and be paid $200 a day. For more information, read the county press release (PDF).

Jan 2021: New assessments take effect

New assessment values become effective for tax year 2021.

The values will be used to calculate state, school district and municipal property taxes.



   

   Other important points to know about the reassessment:

Click a bullet point below to expand.

The reassessment project will be revenue-neutral overall.

The county will not be able to collect more revenue based on the assessment.

The same is true for other local taxing entities, i.e. the municipality and school district.

A lower (or higher) assessment won't necessarily mean a proportionally lower (or higher) tax bill.

Tax rates are likely to change when the assessment is complete, in some cases substantially.  Here's why:

According to an analysis by the Philadelphia Inquirer, about one-third of homeowners will see their assessments rise, one-third will see their assessments decrease, and the remaining one-third won’t see a significant change. But here’s the catch — according to that analysis, the over- and underassessed homes tend to be clustered. The bulk of property taxes are levied by the school district, so if nearly all the homes in a district receive lower assessments but the district needs to collect roughly the same revenue as the previous year, the tax millage rate will simply increase.

Put simply — if your assessment goes up, but all your neighbors' assessments do, too, the tax millage rate will be lowered, because the assessment must be revenue neutral overall.

There will certainly be many homeowners who see significant changes in their tax bills, but it’s important that homeowners and Realtors® exercise caution before making assumptions about how the countywide reassessment could impact tax bills. 

The county is looking to hire auxiliary members of the assessment appeals board.

Delaware County is currently seeking qualified professionals to preside over the formal tax reassessment hearings to be held the summer and fall of 2020. Selected applicants will be appointed to an Auxiliary Tax Assessment Appeals Board.

The hearings will begin in July 2020 and continue for approximately eight to 10 weeks. Applicants must live in Delaware County and cannot be active property assessors. Selected applicants will receive a six-hour training prior to hearings.

Auxiliary Tax Assessment Appeals Board members will be paid $200 a day for days they preside over hearings. Application details can be found here

 

Delaware County's last comprehensive reassessment was in 2000.

Ideally, homes are assessed at 100% of their market values. That’s what happens immediately after a countywide reassessment.

But assessment values become inaccurate over time as the real estate market changes. To keep new assessments in line with old ones, the PA Department of Revenue sets a Common Level Ratio factor for each county every July.

In 2020, a property assessment in Delaware County was supposed to equal about 56.5% of the market value.

Read more in this SRA blog post:  What is an accurate property assessment?  

What should Realtors® know about how the reassessment affects agreements of sale or properties already under contract?

According to Suburban West Realtors® Association:

Paragraph 17 of the Agreement of Sale, “Real Estate Taxes and Assessed Value,” provides notice to buyers about the possibility and effect of re-assessment or appeal of current assessment. Buyer agents should use the opportunity presented by this paragraph to alert potential buyers about any known re-assessment prior to the buyer executing the agreement of sale.

Article 2 of the Code of Ethics requires Realtors® to avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation or concealment  of pertinent facts about the property or the transaction. If the buyer has questions or concerns, the buyer agent can direct the client to available resources.  

Read more on the Suburban West website: Agreement of Sale and Assessed Value (PDF)
 

What if you miss the 10-day window to schedule an informal review hearing about your tentative new assessment?

The county has said it will be very strict regarding the 10-day deadline.

However, you will still be able to file a formal appeal with the Board of Assessment Appeals. According to the  Assessment Appeal FAQ on the county website, there are three ways to request an appeal form:

Annual Appeal forms are available from March 15th to August 1st

Calling the Assessment Office at (610) 891-4879
Visiting the office 201 West Front Street, Media, Pa. 19063.
Downloading the form by clicking on the appropriate link 

 

   One-page flyer and other resources:

SRA:  View a one-page overview flyer (PDF).

SRA: What is an accurate property assessment?

SWRA:  Information about the Agreement of Sale and Assessed Value (PDF) from Suburban West Realtors® Association.

Delaware County:  Visit the Delaware County Reassessment Project website. 


Still have questions about the reassessment?  
Contact the Delaware County Tax Assessment office (610-891-4879) or the county's consultant on the reassessment project, Tyler Technologies: (610-891-5695).

 

The information on this page is provided as a general summary of the reassessment project. It is not intended to take the place of written law, county or municipal regulations, or information that can be obtained directly from the county or its affiliates. 

 

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