The Real Estate Brokerage Practice Group serves commercial and residential brokerages with specialized legal services unique to the profession and individuals involved, and consultation and representation that is comprehensive in scope to support the commercial, professional and personal goals of brokerages, brokers and salespeople.
Chaired by Barry S. Goodman, who is General Counsel to the New Jersey Association of REALTORS® and author of the book, New Jersey Brokerage Law, the practice group incorporates the talents of both litigators and transactional lawyers from a variety of practice areas who provide a full menu of business, professional and personal legal services to the brokerage profession.
In addition to his counseling work with the REALTORS®, Mr. Goodman is a noted litigator whose work has resulted in precedent setting case decisions. For example, he conducted the lengthy trial in In re: Opinion 26 (1995), in which the N.J. Supreme Court decided that buyers and sellers of residential real estate can receive assistance from real estate and title agents during the closing process as has been the practice in South Jersey and do not have to retain a lawyer as typically has been done in North Jersey. He also argued before the N.J. Supreme Court in RE/MAX v. Wassau (2000), where the court held that real estate salespeople are employees for purposes of workers’ compensation. In another case, H.I.P. v. K. Hovnanian (1996), he successfully represented a developer regarding an advocacy group’s claims that a development did not comply with the Fair Housing Act. Mr. Goodman also was lead counsel in a 12-year battle in Mortgage Bankers Association of NJ v. NJ Real Estate Commission (1995), in which the Appellate Division ultimately held that real estate licensees can receive a fee for providing mortgage-related services. More recently, in Exit A Plus Realty v. Zuniga (2007), the Appellate Division decided that real estate listing agreements are not automatically void but only voidable based upon the equities of the case if a real estate licensee violates the Real Estate Licensing Act. In that same year, he prevailed before the N.J. Supreme Court in CBTR v. Twin Rivers Homeowners’ Association (2007), where the court held that homeowners’ associations’ policies regarding expressional activities will be upheld if they are reasonable but may be subject to constitutional scrutiny if they are unreasonable.
Legal Services for Commercial and Residential Brokerages
- Business counseling regarding real estate commissions and regulatory matters;
- Litigation, arbitration or mediation of business disputes;
- Representation of brokers and salespeople before the Real Estate Commission when complaints are filed or there are licensing or other issues;
- Preparation or review of real estate brokerage documents intrinsic to the business including:
- Independent contractor agreements
- Sales agreements
- Creation of forms for brokers to use
- Any other agreements necessary for the brokerage to function
- Defense of real estate malpractice claims brought against brokers or salespeople;
- Formation of brokerages, including the creation of limited liability companies, limited liability partnerships, partnerships or any other type of entity appropriate to the business mission;
- Consultation regarding office procedures and complaints, which often include areas such as:
- Employment law issues
- Financial planning or restructuring for the brokerage
- Estate planning, wealth accumulation and protection strategies for individuals
- Business and bankruptcy counseling;
- Mergers and acquisitions of brokerage offices; and
- Preparation or negotiation of franchise documents.