Brokerage & Agent Law

Representation For Brokers And Agents

At Caldwell & Kearns, P.C., broker and agent law is one of our core strengths. Our lawyers represent real estate professionals throughout Central Pennsylvania and statewide. We provide the representation brokers, agents and other real estate professionals need in a range of broker and agent legal matters, including:

  • Brokerage startup and licensing representation We attend to the unique issues involved in forming a real estate brokerage, and handle all the details from setting up your business structure to licensing the broker to helping your salespeople properly complete their licensing applications.
  • Brokerage mergers and acquisitions — Our real estate attorneys are well-versed in the combination of business and regulatory issues that are unique to merging real estate brokerages. From developing the appropriate corporate structure to assisting with licensing requirements, our experienced attorneys can guide you through the process.
  • Brokerage compliance cases Our business law attorneys will meet with brokers and help prepare office policies and procedures to help brokers comply with the complex and changing federal, state and local regulations.
  • Professional license defense We fight to protect the licenses of brokers and sales agents, and represent certified appraisers in state disciplinary proceedings.
  • Commercial broker liens and commissions A commercial broker lien is one way to protect your commission in a commercial transaction. We can advise when a commercial broker lien is appropriate and can help you meet the technical requirements for preparing and filing a claim.
  • Agent/broker error and omission defense We are approved by most insurers to defend real estate brokers and agents when they get sued for failure to disclose claims, negligence or other professional liability claims.

Our clients appreciate that the firepower associated with the larger firms of downtown Philadelphia is available here in Harrisburg.

Contact Us Today

Learn more about the counsel we provide by scheduling an initial consultation. Complete our contact form or call 717-232-7661 to learn more.

Agent/Broker E&O Defense

Real Estate Agent Broker And Defense Lawyers

In today’s litigious society — particularly in the current atmosphere of foreclosures, short sales and deflated property values — it is now a matter of when you get sued, not if you get sued. How many of you know of a broker or agent who devoted countless hours trying to help a young couple find their dream house, only to be thanked by being slapped with a lawsuit?

There are numerous “real estate lawyers” who will offer to represent you in these difficult circumstances, but few firms have the in-depth knowledge and understanding of how real estate brokers and agents operate, and have proven success defending professional negligence claims.

The real estate attorneys at Caldwell & Kearns, P.C., of Harrisburg have more than 50 years of combined experience defending real estate brokers and agents in lawsuits across Pennsylvania. We are approved broker defense counsel on many insurance company panels, and will work with you and your insurance company to become approved if we are not.

Errors And Omissions Lawsuit Defense

E&O, or errors and omissions insurance, is there to protect you and give you peace of mind from financial concerns. We can help you maintain that peace of mind when your brokerage, personal assets, licensure and professional reputation are at stake.

In many of these cases, brokers and agents face related disciplinary hearings. We also provide professional license defense before the Real Estate Commission or State Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers.

Whether you are being sued by an angry buyer, a dissatisfied seller or are brought into a lawsuit by another real estate brokerage, our attorneys can protect and defend you throughout the process. Ask your E&O insurer to engage Caldwell & Kearns, P.C., to defend you, or contact our Harrisburg law office today for more information by calling 717-232-7661. We represent real estate professionals across Pennsylvania.

Brokerage Compliance Issues

Providing Real Estate Regulatory Advice And Customized Forms

Keeping your office and your real estate business compliant with federal, state and local regulations is a constant challenge. The experienced attorneys of Caldwell & Kearns, P.C., will help you meet the challenges, bring you into compliance, and help you stay that way.

With offices in Harrisburg and Hummelstown, we represent brokerages and real estate sales professionals in Dauphin County, Cumberland County, York County and statewide across Pennsylvania. If you are mired in a regulatory dispute or want to stay out of trouble with the licensing authorities, call our lawyers today at 717-232-7661.

Comprehensive Compliance Solutions

Caldwell & Kearns, P.C., is one of the pre-eminent law firms in broker and agent law. We serve as legal counsel to the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, and attorney the rest of our team have helped shape legislation favorable to the real estate brokerage industry.

Our main office is located off I-81 in Harrisburg. We also have an office located at 113 E. Main Street, Hummelstown, PA 17036.

We know the laws and can help you take the proactive steps toward compliance:

  • Broker advertising — We can review your print ads, radio or television commercials, websites and Yellow Pages ads to ensure you comply with the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission regulations, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), and state and federal fair housing laws. We work with you to ensure compliance without destroying the effectiveness of your marketing campaign.
  • Risk management — From the documents you use to the practices in your day-to-day operations, we will conduct a thorough review of your business practices to identify potential problems. We gauge your exposure to lawsuits or professional license sanctions, and recommend ways to minimize exposure without altering your efficiency or profitability.
  • Market leadership — The most successful brokers are those who explore new frontiers. We work with clients on new and innovative business models, services and marketing strategies to help them conform to the regulatory framework without limiting their effectiveness.
  • Custom forms and policies — Caldwell & Kearns, P.C., participated in developing many of the standard office forms for real estate professionals available through REALTOR associations. We take that knowledge a step farther, customizing forms and office policies for your specific needs to provide you with legally sound yet flexible documents and procedures.

We have seen brokers and agents draft their own forms — or modify a standardized form — with disastrous results. (If you have drafted your own documents, we can also review them for compliance and suggest revisions.)

If you have run into legal trouble because of compliance issues, Caldwell & Kearns, P.C., also practices in professional license defense and errors and omissions defense.

For experienced counsel and representation specific to the real estate profession, contact our Harrisburg office today.

Brokerage Start-Up and Licensing

Providing The Right Start In The Realty Business

Starting or buying a real estate brokerage involves unique licensing and compliance issues. It is much different than a standard business startup. The attorneys of Caldwell & Kearns, P.C., have
unmatched experience in broker and agent law, and strong backgrounds in business formation and real estate transactions, making us uniquely suited for representing brokers in these business ventures.

We represent real estate brokerages in the critical startup phase, and offer ongoing compliance counsel and litigation services. With offices in Harrisburg and Hummelstown, we represent brokerages and real estate professionals in Dauphin County, Cumberland County, York County and throughout Pennsylvania. For more information, contact Elizabeth Feather and our knowledgeable team at

Real Estate Brokerage Formation

We offer smart and efficient counsel for choosing the appropriate entity for your business and facilitating the licensing process. We can also help you establish Limited Function Referral Offices (LFRO) and other affiliated entities such as settlement companies. Our comprehensive services cover all the details to get you up and running, and protect you from problems down the road:

  • Complete the purchase of an existing brokerage
  • Form your business entity and draft the ownership agreements
  • Register your business entity and name
  • Negotiate or review franchise agreements
  • Prepare the numerous licensing forms and certifications
  • Guide you step-by-step through the office inspection process
  • Provide custom forms and policies to get your office running smoothly
  • Ongoing compliance counsel to keep you out of trouble

Sophisticated Knowledge And Superior Service

Our lawyers will put together the entire licensing packet, including applications and supporting documents, and hand-deliver it to the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission. We work closely with you and the commission’s licensing staff to address any additional documentation required for licensure, and we keep you updated and answer your questions throughout the process.

Caldwell & Kearns, P.C., has been active in real estate broker law for over 35 years. We spent many years representing the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS, and our firm has been instrumental in shaping legislation on behalf of real estate professionals. Our connections with the real estate industry allow us to stay in front of the curve of new laws, practices and ideas. If and when the Pennsylvania Legislature allows sales agents to incorporate or form LLCs, we will be ready to guide you through that beneficial transformation.

Caldwell & Kearns, P.C., will work with you directly (or through your local counsel) to get your new brokerage formed and licensed while you concentrate on putting your business model into action. We offer both flat-fee and hourly rate options to give you control of your startup costs.

Contact our Harrisburg office to arrange a consultation by calling 717-232-7661. We are conveniently located on Front Street off I-81.

Title Insurance

Capable Handling Of Residential And Commercial Title Insurance Matters

In today’s volatile market, it is more critical than ever to assure clear title when buying (or selling) property. A clouded title or lack of title insurance might expose your real estate to liens, judgments and other adverse matters.

The law firm of Caldwell & Kearns, P.C., offers protection and peace of mind through title insurance in residential and commercial real estate transactions. We serve individuals, businesses and developers in Harrisburg, Hershey, throughout Dauphin County and surrounding Central Pennsylvania. Arrange a consultation at 717-232-7661.

Full services for homebuyers
We can assist clients in the full process of buying a home: negotiation or review of the purchase agreement, arranging inspections, reviewing seller disclosures, providing title insurance and representing you at the closing.

Caldwell & Kearns, P.C., provides title protection through our own subsidiary, Residential-Commercial Abstract Inc. Policies are underwritten by Old Republic National Title Insurance Company, one of the oldest and largest title insurers in the U.S.

Do We Need A Lawyer For This?

You certainly should have title insurance to protect your investment, and most lenders require it. You will need an attorney if there is a problem with the title — we will review the title search documents, as well as any other legal documents that affect settlement.

It does not cost any more to acquire title insurance through Caldwell & Kearns, P.C., than through a separate title company — and you have the added protection of an experienced attorney overseeing your settlement at no additional cost. Our experienced real estate lawyers examine the deed and other title records for any hint of trouble, including:

  • Liens against the property (e.g., mechanic’s lien filed by a builder)
  • Unpaid real estate taxes
  • Municipal claims
  • Judgments against the seller’s assets
  • Errors in legal descriptions of the property
  • Covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) on use of the property, such as easements
  • Pending claims for quiet title/adverse possession
  • Outsale of portions of the property to others

We also handle title insurance and related work for undeveloped land transactions in advance of commercial projects, residential subdivision and planned unit or condominium developments.

Caldwell & Kearns, P.C., provides title protection through our own subsidiary, Residential-Commercial Abstract Inc., and currently maintains offices in Harrisburg and Hummelstown. Policies are underwritten by Old Republic National Title Insurance Company, one of the oldest and largest title insurers in the U.S.

Title Search And Closings

Contact our law firm today to discuss your needs and our qualifications in real estate and title insurance. Call us at 717-232-7661.

Commercial Broker Liens

Providing Legal Action To Secure Your Broker Commission

Commercial broker liens are powerful tools to secure payment of a promised commission in a commercial property transaction. But filing and perfecting these liens is procedurally complex — someone inexperienced with the requirements can easily lose your case in court. If the lien is perfected, there is still the matter of enforcing it.

At Caldwell & Kearns, P.C., of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, we know the statutes and case law regarding broker liens on the sale or lease of commercial property. Our broker law team, is known statewide for its legislative advocacy and formidable representation on behalf of real estate professionals. Call us at 717-232-7661.

Commercial Broker Liens

There are specific statutory requirements regarding notice to owners, recording, filing and escrow. These must be strictly met to perfect the lien. Failure at any step, such as notifying owners in advance of the conveyance, can nullify your legal standing to file a lien and collect your commission.

We can evaluate whether a commercial broker lien is permissible and advisable for your particular situation. If it is, we work diligently to perfect and enforce the lien so that you are paid the commission you worked so hard to earn.

Contact lawyers who understand the broker profession and the legal issues you face. Call 717-232-7661 or reach us online to arrange a consultation. We provide representation for real estate agents throughout the entire state.