2053 Woodbridge Avenue - Edison, NJ 08817

Friday, July 20, 2007

NJ Laws Newsletter E243 April 25, 2007

Kenneth Vercammen's NJ Laws email newsletter E243

April 25, 2007

In this issue:
1. Real Estate Sales
2. Yearly Insurance Review
3 DWI suppression affirmed where reasons for ordering sobriety test not "reasonable suspicion."
4. Defendant can be guilty of .08 DWI even though Breath machine calibrated at .10 level

1. Real Estate Sales

To better serve our Probate and Senior citizen clients, Kenneth Vercammen has taken and passed the NJ Real Estate Salesperson test. The examination consists of numerous questions taken over a 4 hour period. Mr. Vercammen is now also a licensed real estate agent, is affiliated with Century 21, John Anthony Agency on 1815 Oak Tree Rd., Edison, NJ. Century 21 is one of the largest real estate agencies in the country. http://www.century21johnanthony.com/
If you will be selling a house, please give Kenneth Vercammen a call. Do not pay a 6% commission, but also don't rely on a 2% agency that merely lists your home on the internet, then expects you to do all the work.

The sale of a home is probably the largest transaction a person will ever undertake. Careful consideration should be given to the technical difficulties involved in the transfer.

The Contract of Sale

A Contract of Sale is an agreement for the purchase and sale of real estate. This is the most important document in any real estate transaction because it establishes the respective rights and responsibilities of the purchaser and the seller.

Since the Contract of Sale is important and legally binding New Jersey requires a 3 day attorney review period on Contracts prepared by a realtor. Please read the contract before signing. If you have any questions, please ask your real estate agent. If there are any clauses you want added, such as the house sale "As is", make sure they are added to the Contract before signing.

The 3 day attorney review period is to protect the buyer and seller from being forever bound by a contract without them receiving the benefit of legal advice. You only have three days to have your attorney review the contract and make the appropriate changes. Remember that once a Contract is signed and in final form after 3 days, your rights and obligations are fixed concerning the transaction. Your attorney will no longer have the opportunity to structure the Contract to meet your objectives.

Read and Understand the Contract Before Signing your Contract of Sale

Perhaps the seller may want to retain possession of the property for some time in order to find new accommodations. You should make sure these clauses are included in the contract defining such rights prior to signing. Never sign a contract involving the sale or purchase of real estate until you have done the following:
1. read the entire contract
2. written down your questions and posed them to your realtor
3. made sure all your requested clauses are included, such as the house being sold "as is"
These are only a few matters usually covered in the contract. However, they illustrate the variety of terms and conditions to be considered when you enter into such a transaction.

The seller's attorney should provide the seller with a written Fee Agreement in accordance with the requirements of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Please do not be put off by the formality of this letter as it is for your protection as a consumer of legal services.

Legal fees for sales vary. We still charge a flat rate of $800 plus any costs for a simple real estate house sale where the realtor prepares the contract.
We anticipate the following will be performed by your attorney in a real estate sale:
1. Review and analyze the contract of sale during attorney review after both buyer and seller sign the contract.
2. Recommend revisions to contract if needed. However, the seller should never sign the contract if it is missing clauses or language needed by the seller.
3. Initial Office consultation if requested with client after contract is signed by both buyer and seller;
4. Request from the Seller back title, including a photocopy of the Deed, survey, title policy and mortgage payoff statement.
5. Preparation of fax letter of representation to buyer's attorney
6. Opening of file
7. Prepare Representation statement to client with request for Seller's Information Sheet
8. Review old Deed, survey
9. Forward Deed, survey, title policy to the purchaser's attorney, thus expediting the search and survey process.
10. Three (3) free calls with client
11. Three (3) telephone calls with buyers attorney and other individuals
12. Three (3) correspondence to and from buyers attorney and clients
13. Review home inspection report
14. Review other documents supplied by client and buyer's attorney;
15. Work with the purchaser's attorney in resolving possession and closing date.
16. Remind the seller to contact their mortgage company and equity loan to obtain a written payoff/ balance due on their mortgage.
17. Review Title Binder and Judgment Searches, if applicable
18. Review RESPA pre-closing, if applicable
19. Preparation of Deed, fax to buyer's attorney
20. Preparation of Affidavit of Title, fax to buyer's attorney
21. Cooperate with the purchaser's attorney in preparing the final closing statement.
22. Review the Respa, which is the Federal Real Estate Settlement Procedure Statement/ Amounts paid and to be received
23. Represent you at the closing.
24. Attend closing, execute Deed, execute Affidavit of Title
25. Assist in Preparation of 1099 tax form
26. Offer sound legal advice to client;
27. Preparation of End of Case Letter and client questionnaire.
28. Make available to client in office upon request free client case folder, Real Estate brochure, Website brochure, and other information brochures on Wills and Power of Attorney;
29. Free Brochures provided on other legal topics such as Car Insurance Rights, Worker's Comp,
30. Free subscription to monthly e-mail newsletter. Provide your email address.
31. 3 free telephone calls during the 2 years after the closing on Probate, Wills and non real estate matters.
32. Invitation to client community events.
33. Free Magnet, Keychain, Pen upon request in the office

Costs are items such as filing and recording fees, Certified or Express postage and other out of pocket expenses.
This fee does not include costs or legal fees if there are judgments against the property, probate issues, defects in title or other work requested to be performed. If this closing does not take place, you will only be responsible for the legal fees and costs incurred.
Work with your Realtor
Your realtor is a highly trained licensed professional. Their goal is to help you through this closing. They perform substantial work and earn the commissions of between $8,000- $16,000. In order to keep your legal fees down, you should be calling you realtor with routine questions regarding the closing. We have learned by past experience if you, your realtor or you family call your attorney's office every day, these calls are not included in the $800 fee, and there will be a charge for excess calls. The buyer is entitled to obtain a termite inspection and home inspection. Inspections are scheduled by the realtors. If the buyer requests repairs after the home inspection report is done, speak with your realtor first.
The seller is responsible for obtaining the smoke detector certificate, plus municipal certificate of occupancy if required by your town. Discuss these with your realtor. Please also arrange the walk through with your realtor.
Closing date is approximate
You should understand that the proposed closing date in the Contract is an approximate closing date. The actual closing depends upon the buyer's mortgage company issuing a commitment and a mortgage check. We do not set the closing date, that is set by the buyer's attorney. The realtor should be calling the buyer's attorney to determine time of closing and directions to the closing, not our office.

If Seller fails to timely obtain a written mortgage payoff statement, there will be an additional charge of $100.00 for the Seller's attorney to obtain the written payoff statement.

SELLERS INFORMATION SHEET- To be filled out by seller and returned to seller's attorney

1. SELLERS NAME: (as it appears on deed)


2. Real Estate being Sold: Lot No. _________ Block No. __________
Address: __________________________________________

3. Present Mortgage Company: _____________________________
Address: ___________________________________________
Loan No. ___________________ 800 Telephone No. ____________
(Provide copy of payoff amount)

4. Other Mortgages, including Bridge Loans or Home Equity:
Name of Mortgage Company: _____________________________
Address: __________________________________________
Loan No. __________________ 800 Telephone No. ____________
(Obtain written copy of payoff amount from bank, a verbal payoff will not be good enough)

5. Social Security Number: (H) ________________ (W) ___________

6. Is any Seller age 62 or over? If so, name and date of birth: _________

7. Name, Address, Telephone number of Condominium Association, if any


8. Type of Fuel: Gas ___________________ Oil _______________

9. Marriage Information:
Date of Marriage __________ Maiden or Prior Name(s) __________
Prior Marriages ________________________
(copy of Final Judgment of Divorce needed, not original)

10. Address After Property Sale: _____________________________

2. Yearly Insurance Review

By Ray Pavese & Mike McCormick
Every year you should review your insurance policies to make sure you still have a policy that
meets your needs, as well as the needs of your family members and
loved ones.

One of the policies that most often gets overlooked is the life
insurance policy. Since this is often a long-term policy, most
insured individuals assume they are stuck with the same policy,
no matter what. Usually this is not the case, although it will
depend on your policy and company as to whether you receive
penalties when changing your insurance.

Even if penalties occur, changing your life insurance policy may
be essential to keeping up with your family's financial needs for
the future.

If you don't review your life insurance policy every year, you
should at least review your policy under these circumstances:

* Marriage/Divorce - Needs change depending on your marital
status. Keep this in mind as things change in your life. Even if
you don't want to change the value of your policy, you probably
want to change the beneficiary.

* Children - If you ask the majority of life insurance agents,
the major reason for changing a life insurance policy is because
of children. This is because many adults never believe they will
need extra money after death until they realize that they will
have someone preceding them in death. Children will need money
for basic food and shelter until they are 18 and possibly for a
future college fund as well. Keep that in mind, and tell others
you know that may be affected.

* An Illness - Although waiting to change your insurance policy
until you have a long-term illness will mean paying higher
premiums, it is best to at least review your policy limitations
and make necessary changes if you find out you have a potentially
life threatening illness.

If you have questions regarding a change you would like to make
on your life insurance policy, feel free to contact me anytime.


Ray Pavese & Mike McCormick
Pavese-McCormick Agency, Inc.

3 DWI suppression affirmed where reasons for ordering sobriety test not "reasonable suspicion." State v. Lord Appellate Division, A-3228-05T2, October 5, 2006, not approved for publication.

Law Division order granting the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence of the results of his sobriety tests affirmed; the police officer observed the defendant’s car cross both the shoulder and center lines, and he then activated his video recorder and followed the defendant’s car for about two and a half minutes; the officer testified that, during that time, the defendant came to a full stop several times, properly used his signals when executing turns, did not speed, and properly stopped his car when the officer signaled; there was no question that the initial motor vehicle violation allowed the officer to stop the defendant; however, the Law Division properly concluded that the reasons that the officer gave for ordering sobriety tests did not give rise to a “reasonable suspicion” that the defendant had been driving while intoxicated; although the defendant had been observed violating the motor vehicle laws, his behavior did not demonstrate any further violation, and he did not exhibit any physical impairment. Source: Facts-on-Call Order No. 20296

4. Defendant can be guilty of .08 DWI even though Breath machine calibrated at .10 level. State v. Pearson Appellate Division, A-1344-05T2, September 22, 2006, not approved for publication.

Conviction following a trial de novo of driving while intoxicated affirmed; the defendant registered blood-alcohol-content levels of 0.08 and 0.09 on two Breathalyzer tests; the defendant asserted that the State had not established that the Breathalyzer was in proper working order because it was calibrated for accuracy at a 0.10 blood-alcohol-content level rather than a 0.08 level; the State Police protocols were not changed when N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 was amended to reduce the blood-alcohol-content level needed to establish a per se violation from 0.10 to 0.08, and the protocols require periodic testing with a simulator solution to establish accuracy at the 0.10 level; there was no merit to the defendant’s argument in light of the well-established principle that a Breathalyzer that is tested pursuant to the protocols and satisfies them is in proper working order and thus satisfies the State’s burden of proving that the results from the Breathalyzer, if correctly operated by a qualified operator, are reliable. Source: Facts-on-Call Order No. 20227


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