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Real Estate

Crawford County Property Transfers Subject to UPI Ordinance

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Starting July 1, 2016, everyone transferring real estate in Crawford County will have to follow the recently passed Uniform Parcel Identifier Ordinance. A uniform parcel identifier (UPI) is a number assigned to a parcel of real estate. In Crawford County, the number will be based on the Tax Map Parcel number. The Ordinance requires every document that is recorded with the Crawford County Recorder of Deeds, and affects an interest in real estate, to have the UPI certified by the County Assessment Office. Documents affecting an interest in real estate include deeds; mortgages; easements; rights-of-way; oil, gas and mineral leases;...

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Real Estate Settlement Procedures: New Protections (and Headaches) for Homebuyers

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In the four years prior to 2008, banks began giving mortgage loans to higher-risk borrowers, sometimes without considering whether the borrower could repay the loan at all. Some banks used unfair loan repayment terms, variable interest rates, balloon payments, inflated appraisals, deceptive offers, or outright lies about the loan terms. Some banks led consumers who could not afford a conventional mortgage to believe it was safe to take a mortgage with no down payment. At the same time, those mortgages promised low payments for a few years because the borrower could refinance later. When housing prices fell, those same could...

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Oil & Gas Leasing: Dangers & Problems

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Oil and Gas owners beware! Northwest Pennsylvania is the target of several large gas development companies, including Range Resources and Shell. Owners of gas rights are being approached by “land men” who seek to lease the oil, gas and mineral rights as cheaply as they can, some land men represent themselves or small companies. Once they obtain a number of leases close together, they market these leases in a package to large companies who will develop the gas by drilling. New oil and gas development is far different than the gas drilling of the past. Present developers are drilling deeper wells,...

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Title Search a Must to Protect Buyers

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The purchase of real estate should in every case include examination of the title to the property. When a bank mortgage will be used to obtain purchase money, the bank will require a title search. Where the purchaser has the cash or will obtain private seller financing or a family loan, there is no legal requirement that the title be examined, but a wise purchaser will have an attorney or settlement agent perform a title search to protect the investment. A title search consists of a review of prior owners of the property for a period of approximately sixty years past....

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Estate Planning for Oil & Gas Landowners

Millions of dollars are changing hands from oil and gas developers to landowners in Pennsylvania. Advance planning for succession can drastically reduce the taxation and costs of passing wealth to the next generation. If a landowner has substantial acreage, the best time to plan for succession is before any oil and gas lease is signed. Once a lease is signed, the value of the land increases. After a successful gas well is drilled on or near the land, its value increases even more. For example, a father owns 200 acres which he has farmed for a generation. It has a fair market...

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