NEWS BRIEFS

Stay up to date on current News & Issues.

General News
Fannie, Freddie loan limits announced for 2021; NAR urges access to safe, affordable financing

Bucks County
Weeks left for Bucks COVID-19 Mortgage Assistance Program

Chester County
Chester County Recorder’s office temporarily closed, but services continue

Delaware County
Recorder of Deeds system disrupted by hack

Montgomery County
SEPTA maintains commitment to King of Prussia Rail project

Philadelphia County
Philly is set to create a new construction tax and cut a big property tax break

 

Blog

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)

 

 

 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

2019 Annual Report

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 12:00:00 am Comments (1)

 

Read our 2019 Annual Report below.  Click the icon in the center to make it full-screen.

 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Meet Our Board: Q+A with Vice Chairman John McFadden

Board of Directors, John McFadden
Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Monday, November 27, 2017 at 9:00:00 am Comments (0)

John McFadden brings nearly three decades of real estate experience to the SRA board, plus firsthand knowledge of local government. He has served as a commissioner in Springfield Township and as chairman of Delaware County Council. He's also one of the founders of the annual Run for Heroes, a 5k fundraiser that provides scholarships to children of Delaware County first responders killed in the line of duty. 

John McFadden
2017-18 Vice Chairman, Suburban Realtors® Alliance 
RE/MAX Hometown Realtors®

Hometown (born/raised):  Born in Southwest Philadelphia, raised in Aldan
Hometown (current):   Springfield, Delaware County 
Years as a Realtor®:  29

Why did you first join the Alliance Board?

I want to continue the collaborative approach to working with local officials that our organization is known for.​

What do you see as the most important legislative issue for Realtors® right now?

Fair and balanced tax reform both locally and nationally. Locally, I don't see any of the leading state plans accomplishing that, and nationally, I am worried about cutting taxes when our national debt is out of control. 

          You can earn a good income from selling real estate,

                    but you can build wealth by owning real estate.  

How do you like to spend your time when you're not working?

I love to read, and at this time each year, I enjoy playing the new Call of Duty game.​

What is one piece of advice you would give to a new Realtor®?

​Find a mentor who is successful in a similar area of Real Estate and learn from them. Also, you can earn a good income from selling real estate, but you can build wealth by owning real estate.​

What book(s) is on your nightstand?

A President and a Pope, about Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul working together to defeat communism. A lot of new information in it.​

Offices/titles held: 

Past Treasurer of Suburban West Realtors® Alliance
Former Springfield Township Commissioner
Former Delaware County Councilman
Monday, October 23, 2017

Meet Our Board: Q+A with Chris Beadling

Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Monday, October 23, 2017 at 6:00:00 am Comments (0)

Chris Beadling is a Realtor® with an eye for technology. The immediate  past chairman of the  Alliance, he has spent more than 15 years helping other Realtors® make the best use of the tools at their disposal to maximize their success. In 2015, he founded Sqaak, an earnest-money transfer tool for real estate professionals.

Chris Beadling 
Board member, Suburban Realtors® Alliance (2016-2017 chairman)
Quinn & Wilson, Realtors®

Hometown (born/raised):  Hatboro, PA
Hometown (current):   Doylestown, PA 
Years as a Realtor®15

Why did you first join the Alliance Board?

​I had just finished service as the president of the Bucks County Association and from that experience I knew there were so many important issues that needed our attention.  The SRA Board was a great way to leverage that experience. ​

What do you see as the most important legislative issue for Realtors® right now?

Because of my technology background, I tend to look at legislative issues others don't; patent reform, net neutrality, things of that nature.  That doesn't mean the mortgage interest deduction isn't important or that protecting private property rights isn't critical, rather, I just like to keep an eye on the items others may not.

Describe the first deal you ever closed.

My first deal was on a single family house in Levittown.  Cute couple trying to find their first real home.  I quickly learned about municipal ordinances (I think I paid for an electrical mast to clear the U&O) and how important it is for Realtors to have a say in how homes are transferred.

What was the most unusual home/sale you have handled?

​I represented the seller of a historic old home in Haverford Township in the 1990s.  The house and its owner were both very eclectic.  It was an "in-house" deal, so the other agent seemed to think we could be lax about the rules.  It was the first time I really had to stand up for doing things correctly. 

 

          The other agent seemed to think we could be lax about the rules.

                    It was the first time I really had to stand up for doing things correctly.  

How do you like to spend your time when you're not working?

In addition to doting on my 11-year old daughter, I like to play golf (especially in support of our local candidates) and I am an avid reader.  During the fall you can find me playing fantasy football or at the Linc cheering on my favorite team.​

What is one piece of advice you would give to a new Realtor®?

​Learn from your mentors and those who have been doing the business, but don't rely exclusively on them.  There are so many tools and services out there people ignore because their mentor/trainer told them "we do it this way" (which happens to be the old-school way).  Look at the technology available from sources like RPR.​

What book(s) is on your nightstand?

​In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam - Robert McNamara​
​The Confessions of Young Nero - Margaret George
(and a copy of Don Quixote that I have been trying to finish for two years)​

Offices/titles held: 

Chair, Suburban Realtors® Alliance, 2016-2017
President BCAR - 2014
Chair, PAR Strategic Plan Task Force - 2010
Chair, Pennsylvania YPN - 2014
Chair, PAR Member Services Coordinating Committee - 2013/2014
President, Bloomsburg University Alumni Assocaiton - 2010
Founder & President, Central Bucks Rotary Club - 2010/2011
 
Monday, September 25, 2017

‘When Do I Schedule Inspections?’ And Other Important Questions

Posted by: Jamie Ridge on Monday, September 25, 2017 at 9:00:00 am Comments (0)

In a four-county region where 238 municipalities each have their own way of governing real estate sales, you might think there would be an endless array of inquiries from our 11,000 members regarding these varied and often frustrating rules.

And while it’s true that our staff has fielded a wide variety of questions about the intricacies of municipal point-of-sale regulations, there are some we hear on an almost daily basis. Recently, many questions have focused on Act 133 of 2016, the new law that made important amendments to Pennsylvania’s Municipal Code and Ordinance Compliance Act.

In this column, I’ll give our best advice on the most common of these questions.

If a municipal inspection is required, how early should I schedule it?

The earlier, the better. We recommend that you call the municipality to schedule an inspection no less than 30 days before the scheduled closing. Municipalities generally don’t want to step on your sale, but the municipal staff needs sufficient time to perform its work.

An early inspection also gives your client advance notice of any issues with the home that could complicate the sale. The extra time allows them to complete repairs or negotiate with the other party about how the work will be done.

When Realtors® call our office regarding use and occupancy inspection or certificate issues just a day or two prior to settlement, it can be very difficult for us to help resolve them in a way that allows a transaction to move forward on time.

How does Act 133 define “unfit for human habitation?”

Under Act 133, homes that are deemed “unfit for human habitation” by an inspector are only eligible for a “temporary access permit.” While the meaning of “unfit” will always be somewhat subjective, Act 133 helps to narrow the definition, stating that it applies to a condition likely to be dangerous to the health and safety of occupants or neighbors, including things like fire risks, lack of sanitary facilities, vermin or overall disrepair that would cost half or more of the sales price of the property to repair. This term is generally limited to the worst types of violations.

True or False: Under Act 133, municipalities can’t require escrow before issuing a resale certificate.

True. The law forbids a municipality from requiring escrowed funds, bonds or other sorts of financial arrangements as a condition of issuing the certificate. A municipality may, however, require escrow for permitted work necessary to graduate from a temporary resale certificate to a full one.

True or false: Under Act 133, municipalities can no longer require municipal inspections before a real estate transaction.

False! If a municipality has a point-of-sale inspection ordinance, a seller is required to order an inspection and follow the procedures laid out by the process described in the ordinance. The main change implemented by Act 133 is that once a code inspection has been completed, the municipality must issue a resale certificate.

How do Act 133 rules apply to code/ordinance violations that were cited through some other process?

The law is directed only at violations that are found when a municipality decides to inspect a property at resale; it does not apply to violations discovered through prior inspections, or open municipal construction permits.

For violations already on the books that have advanced to some sort of judicial enforcement, the generally applicable municipal rules would still apply and a new owner wouldn’t be guaranteed a certificate. In addition, if the property has previously been cited under the Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act, those rules would apply instead.

How do I know if a municipality requires a point-of-sale inspection?

Realtors® can visit our website's municipal database, which has information on each of the 238 municipalities in the four counties we monitor. The database includes information on point-of-sale inspections, sign requirements and millage rates.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Meet Our Board: Q+A with Chairwoman Ellen Renish

Board of Directors, Ellen Renish
Posted by: Pete Kennedy on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 9:00:00 am Comments (0)

 In 1971, Ellen Renish took a temporary receptionist job at a real estate office. The broker saw potential in her, and the two-week assignment turned into two months, then two years as she worked her way up to agents' assistant, then became a Realtor® herself.  

Ellen Renish 
2017-18 Chairwoman, Suburban Realtors® Alliance 
Continental Realty

Hometown (born/raised):  Mt. Airy (northwest Philadelphia)
Hometown (current): 
Collegeville 
Years as a Realtor®:  
41

Why did you first join the Alliance Board?

I was initially a member of the board of the Realtors Legislative Alliance, when it first formed, which later became the Suburban Realtors Alliance.  I was happy to be a part of this innovative group.  It truly was groundbreaking to have a regional political advocacy group.  It was and still is very exciting to be a part of a group of dedicated individuals in our profession devoted to advocating for positive laws and regulations affecting us.  We were trendsetters. 

What do you see as the most important legislative issue for Realtors® right now?

Local ordinance inconsistencies, such as in point of sale requirements, create challenges for our Realtor members, even though we were able to affect the passing of the Municipal Code and Compliance Act. Much education still needs to be done, both for Realtors and municipal employees.

We need to prevent increases to realty transfer tax and tax on our services, while encouraging individuals who understand real estate to run for office at all levels of governments.  I know you asked for what is the most important, but I can't come up with just one.  I am a political junkie!!

Describe the first deal you ever closed.

The first deal I ever closed, believe it or not, was generated by my very first night on floor time (back in the day!).  I received a call on a listing that my office had that was in a small subdivision under construction.  I scheduled an appointment with the caller after talking to the person.  I was really excited!  Showed the property the next night to the very nice couple.  I had just come back to work after having my first baby and was terrified that I was going to be working on commission only for a couple of months. 

The people that I met loved the property and did not want to see any others.  This was a great start for my real estate career and probably the easiest transaction ever!  I was totally hooked on real estate!!
 

Our profession is intertwined with our personal lives.

We eat, sleep, drink and dream real estate.


How do you like to spend your time when you're not working?

I love to read.  That is my R & R.  I work out 5 days a week, and that gives me energy and contemplation time.  I also love to dance whenever I have a chance.  If you ask my family and friends, they say I am always working.  It is hard to be turned off and tuned out for any length of time.  Our profession is intertwined with our personal lives.  We eat, sleep, drink and dream real estate.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a new Realtor®?

Create a system and stick to it. Be organized and focused. Be everywhere you can be, talking to everyone.  Get out of your comfort zone, learn as much as you can!  Be ethical, build your integrity, become a resource.  That's more than one thing, but it all goes together.

What book(s) is on your nightstand?

Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush by Jon Meacham

Offices/titles held: 

I have served as President of Central Montgomery Association of Realtors (now Montgomery County Association).  I was only the 3rd female President at that time in 1992.  I also served as PAR President in 2002, the 5th female to serve.  I am proud to currently serve as the Chairwoman of the SRA.

One last thought:  I am the RPAC Queen here in Montgomery County.  I cannot express how strongly I feel about investing in RPAC. It truly is insurance in our business.  It is the easiest way to participate in the political process.  And we all know that if Real Estate is our Profession, then Politics is our business!!

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