“REAL ESTATE LAW IS HAPPY LAW. SELLERS ARE GETTING MONEY. BUYERS ARE GETTING KEYS,” SAID CARA DUDEK PETRI, A REAL ESTATE LAWYER WITH MORRISVILLE-BASED ARNETTE LAW. “I KNOW THAT THIS SOUNDS CORNY, BUT I ENJOY HELPING SOMEONE ACHIEVE THE AMERICAN DREAM OF HOME OWNERSHIP.”
The firm, owned by Asekesai “Kesai” Arnette Harris, focuses on residential real estate and primarily represents buyers. The firm opened in 2010 and has grown to a staff of seven, with four attorneys, and also handles estate planning.
“In a seller’s market. like the Triangle, where there are multiple offers, the buyer may only have been in the house for five minutes,” said Petri. “For first-time homebuyers it’s particularly challenging because they don’t know how the game is played yet. We’ve seen them lose out on multiple houses because they didn’t act quickly enough.
“Sellers are making fewer concessions, and we’re having buyers terminate contracts once the inspections come back and the reports are scarier than they were prepared for,” said Petri. “And the sellers don’t care. They can pocket the due diligence and/or earnest money deposit, put it back on the market, and go back under contract with a new buyer in a few days.”
To keep deals from blowing up, real estate agents have had to become creative. “We pride ourselves on being a resource for real estate agents. We’ve come up with solutions such as appraisal addendums when they want to offer significantly over asking price, staggered due diligence addendums, basically anything to make their offer and buyer stand out.”
“Closings are stressful for the buyers. Their lender has asked them for everything under the sun four different times. By the time they get to me, they are at their max. I try to put everyone at ease when they arrive to my office because we know we are their last stop on their way home.
“I’m not going to read a bunch of legal jargon at you,” she continued. “Most people like the fact that I’m educating them using plain language they can understand. That’s why people like our firm. We’ll make you laugh, we’ll make you smile, you’ll feel like you have a good grasp on the transaction, and when it’s over you’ll walk out the door with keys in your hand.”
Highly active real estate markets tend to attract people who want to change careers and become real estate agents. “Anyone thinks they can sell real estate. It is not that easy. Teaching real estate agents is something we like to do. For our own sanity, we want to make sure the agents understand the rules and changes in the law in this ever growing market.”
Petri was born just outside of Pittsburgh. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science at West Virginia University. Her Juris Doctor is from North Carolina Central University School of Law. No conversation with Petri can end without her talking about West Virginia University where she and her husband, Jason, met, graduated and married.
“We are huge Mountaineer fans. We drank the Kool-Aid freshman year. The football and basketball teams are our life. We try to go to at least one game a year. When they are on TV my 3-year-old daughter, Gwen, cheers, “Let’s Go Mountaineers” and can already sing “County Roads Take Me Home” with us. I’m super pumped that the football team is playing NC State in Raleigh in September. The Petri’s will definitely be there!”
NEW TECHNOLOGY AND E-CLOSINGS
“Our firm is at the forefront of working toward e-closings in North Carolina, similar to what is done in Virginia, where clients don’t have to sign a hundred pages, they just click-through the loan docs online and possibly are not even present. We already exclusively e-record and are basically paperless. We have computers in our conference rooms, we’re electronic notaries, we want to be ready as soon as the lenders are because this is not an if, it is a when. The practice of transactional real estate has evolved so much over the last few years, especially with CFPB . We know the new generation of homebuyers will bring the necessity of e-closings, and Arnette Law is up for the challenge.”