July 13, 2007
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YLD to Present Minority Bar Scholarships Wednesday, July 25

The Young Lawyers Division and the Minorities in the Profession Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association, along with the Barristers' Association, South Asian Bar Association, Asian American Bar Association of the Delaware Valley and the Hispanic Bar Association of Philadelphia, invites you to a joint happy hour on July 25 to present minority bar scholarships.

This "summer soiree" will take place from 5-8 p.m. at Marathon Commerce Square, 2001 Market Street, and will feature $2 lager drafts, $4 wine and $4 well drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Two drink tickets for the first 200 people to register. Kindly RSVP to Tracey McCloskey.

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Villanova Law Students Win Iraqi Family Asylum in Life-Or-Death Case by Tricia Parker

When she was at Villanova law school, Maryam Salaam dreamed of helping others. A native of Dubai born to Iranian parents, Salaam, 24, felt a special connection with other international people. So when she was offered the opportunity to represent asylum-seekers in court, Salaam jumped at the chance.

"I'd never helped people one-on-one," said Salaam, who graduated from Villanova in May. "It really fascinated me."

At Villanova, law students have the option to work on pro-bono cases through one of five clinical programs. One clinic, called Clinic for Asylum, Refugee and Emigrant Services (CARES) gives Villanova students the opportunity to work with immigrants who are seeking asylum in the United States. Along with real-world courtroom experience, students get eight credit hours for a semester's work. Hundreds of students apply to the program, and only 10 are accepted each semester.

"Right before the semester ends, there's a roster on the wall with the names of 10 students who've been selected for the clinic," said Salaam. "I was totally happy I was up there."

Salaam began working at the clinic in January. She was paired with another Villanova law student, Greg Cannon, 23, who was also looking to get more hands-on experience. "I wanted to get something under my belt where I knew the ins and outs of the court," said Cannon. "The clinic was a welcome change from everyday class sort of stuff — showing up and taking your finals. It was a change of pace for me."

To read more of this article from the latest edition of YL, please click here.

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Pricing Your Home to Sell in Today's Market by Lisa Getson

Once you have made the commitment to put your house up for sale, how do you decide on a fair market value? There are several factors that I use to determine the asking price of a property when listing it for sale.

I begin by visually inspecting the entire property. In general, I count the total number of rooms, and more specifically, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. I also research the square footage when dealing with a condominium, and additionally the acreage when dealing with a house. I also look at the overall condition of the subject property, as that plays a role.

The next step is to research similar properties to the one you are listing for sale. With an ever-changing real estate market I try to only look for comparable properties that have sold within the past six months to a year at most. I also look at similar properties that are currently on the market for sale. I feel that it is important to know your direct competition when selling your home.

Knowing which aspects of a property to compare is also of consequence. With center city condominiums, you are usually able to take a look at properties that are for sale, and those that have sold, and figure out an approximate price per square foot. This plus the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, location in a particular building or even in a particular area of the city, as well as the condition of the condo should be considered in determining a fair asking price. Evaluating the price of a house is almost the same.

When looking at a house, rather than deciphering the price per square foot, I correlate the total interior square footage of the subject property with that of the comparison properties. In addition I also survey the county assessed value and the acreage. The number of bedrooms and bathrooms is of significance. Also of consequence is the overall number of rooms, including, but not limited, to living room, dining room, family room and/or library. It makes a difference if the kitchen is eat-in. Other factors to consider are for example, whether or not the lower level is finished and if so, to what extent? Is there a garage? Is the driveway shared? Is it nicely landscaped? Again, the location of the property as well as the interior and exterior condition count for a lot when determining an asking price. The more desirable a location and the better the condition, the more money you can ask.

Once you have assessed the property and compared it to other similar properties in the same area, you should have an idea of a price range. Keep your competition in mind. If a Buyer is getting in the car to see houses in a certain price range on a particular day, what are they going to see? Is the asking price of your property indicative of the features as compared to other houses? If it is not, then it is probably priced too high and will more than likely be passed over by buyers who will move on to another property. And with more inventory than in the past, there are more houses from which buyers can choose. Price it right, price it fair, and hopefully it will sell!

Send your real estate-related questions to Lisa Getson at lisa.getson@prufoxroach.com.

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