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Striker Investment Realty v. Martin

June 7, 2007

STRIKER INVESTMENT REALTY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
SETH MARTIN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, No. L-1705-05.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued April 25, 2007

Before Judges Wefing and Yannotti.

Plaintiff appeals from a trial court order granting judgment in favor of defendant. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.

Plaintiff filed a one-count complaint alleging that defendant owed it a real estate commission of $72,000. Defendant, by its answer, denied it had any obligation to plaintiff. The lower court heard the matter in a bench trial, at the end of which it gave an oral opinion finding for plaintiff.

Plaintiff is a licensed real estate broker, dealing primarily in commercial real estate. Its principal is Michelle Streicher. Defendant is a real estate developer who owned property located at 533 Adams Street in Hoboken, for which he had received approval to build four condominium units with parking.

Sarah Abrahams, a real estate agent associated with plaintiff, approached defendant in connection with the Adams Street property. Defendant indicated he would be willing to sell the property if the transaction could close quickly on an all-cash basis.

The parties executed a listing agreement dated December 1, 2004. The agreement reflected a purchase price of $1,200,000. Next to the entry "Cash Req'd on Contract" was written $200,000. The listing agreement contained the following language:

Upon the procuring of a purchaser of the Property during the Term of this Listing, Owner agrees to pay to Broker a commission of 6% of the selling price. Broker's Commission shall be considered earned if the sale of the Property is effected by Broker, by Owner or by any third party during the Term of the Listing or after its Termination if sold to a party who was introduced to the Property during the term by Broker . . . .

Owner agrees to enter into a contract of sale which conditions the buyer's obligations on satisfaction of physical inspection and due diligence inquiries as to income expense and governmental inspection status. Owner agrees to enter into a contract which contains a contingency period of up to [60] days for the obtaining by purchaser of a mortgage commitment which is not in excess of 75% of the selling price of the Property.

The listing agreement named four prospective purchasers to whom plaintiff would be marketing the property, one of whom was Abraham Wercberger. The listing agreement specified that it would expire on December 7, 2004.

On December 6, the parties executed a new listing agreement for this property. This agreement called for an all-cash deal, with a purchase price of $1,175,000. This agreement deleted the language referring to the purchaser obtaining a mortgage. It also deleted the following clause, which had been present in the initial agreement:

The term of this Listing shall be extended by the period of time commenced by the date that Owner accepts any offer presented by Broker for the Property and extended for an additional 3 months unless the negotiations with respect to such offer terminate at a later date which will ...


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