Worst Month of the Year to Sell a Home: December

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

If you are just listing your home this fall/winter, then don’t have any high expectations for selling it quickly.  December is notoriously the worst month of the year to sell a home.

Most people would not want to move during the holidays, so they probably aren’t actively looking either.  Homeowners are thinking about decorating their home for the holidays and are focused on time spent with friends and family, not packing up and moving.  Plus, most people don’t love moving in the bitterly cold weather.  The second worst month of the year to sell a home is September.  If the family has kids, they want to have them settled into the new school system for the beginning of the school year.  This is what also makes the spring the most popular time to sell a home.  If a buyer purchases a home in the spring, by the time they have settlement, it will be summer and the kids will be out of school, having as little impact as possible on their transition to a new school.

On the flip side, if you are the buyer and in the market for a new home, you will have less competition and will probably come across some antsy sellers that need to sell their home.  So if you are really looking to purchase in December, then you may be able to come across some great deals and the sellers may be more prone to negotiating.  Either way, it’s always important to be represented by a lawyer that specializes in real estate transactions.  There are many circumstances that can unfortunately occur on either side of the process during the closing so make sure you are represented (especially on the day of closing).  Contact Charles Block today for more information.

 

Reasons For Drivers License Suspension in New Jersey

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Getting your license suspended can be an unfortunate life changing event.  From the time you got your license as a teenager, you have enjoyed the freedom and mobility that a driver’s license has given you.

New Jersey has many reasons why they may suspend your license, but we will go over the 4 most popular offenses.

Points -  In the state of New Jersey, for every moving violation a driver commits, they will receive points on their license.  When the driver accumulates 12 or more points, their license will become suspended.

No Insurance – The state of New Jersey will suspend your license if you are caught driving without car insurance.  New Jersey requires all motor vehicles to obtain insurance.  You must also carry your proof of insurance with you at all times.  Depending on the situation, you can also have your license suspended if you can’t provide proof of insurance at the time it is required.

Driving Under the Influence –  If you are caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the state of New Jersey will suspend your license.  The suspension time will vary depending on the severity of the situation and will also vary depending on whether this is a first time or repeat offense.

Driving With Suspended License -  If you are caught driving with an already suspended license, then the state of New Jersey will increase the length of time of the suspension.  Depending on the severity of the situation, the state of New Jersey can also charge imprisonment for up to 5 years.  You can also have your license suspended if you are caught driving without your license.

Obtaining the best attorney in NJ is the smartest move you can make when you commit a crime that will lead to suspension of your license.  Whether the suspension is due to no insurance or a DWI in NJ, Charles Block has the experience needed to get you the best results possible.

 

What is a White Collar Crime?

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

White collar crimes usually involve fraud or some other nonviolent way of illegally gaining money from a company.  There are numerous schemes that have been reported in the past and have been defined as a white collar crime.

White collar crimes can happen anywhere and can include computer fraud, counterfeiting, credit card fraud, cell phone fraud, bank fraud, embezzlement, insider trading, insurance fraud, tax evasion, welfare fraud, and healthcare fraud.  These are just a few examples of the many types of white collar crimes that can (and do) take place everyday.  Someone is always looking for a way to make easy money without working for it.  Fraud has been around for centuries and has only become more advanced with the explosion of technology.  Most white collar criminals do not look like a criminal at all; in fact, it’s quite the opposite.  They are usually high level employees in a company that take advantage of their position in the company because they don’t have many, if anyone, to report to.  A common and unfortunate example of a white collar crime is computer fraud.  Computer fraud is when someone hacks into a website or any other source on the internet to obtain personal information from someone such as credit card information, bank information, or any other important and private information.  In some cases, it may be an inside job of an employee at a company that houses that important information for customers.  It can also come from an outside job from someone completely unrelated to the company.  It is still considered white collar because of the nonviolent act of crime.

When a company or individual suspects a white collar crime, the first and most important step is contacting a highly experienced lawyer that specifically offers white collar crime services.  It’s a very serious situation and should not be taken lightly.

What To Expect When Purchasing a Short Sale Property

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

If you are in the market for a new house, then you may have seen some pretty attractive prices out there for homes.  You get excited at first and think you found a diamond in the rough.  Then you see the term “Short Sale” on the description.  A short sale property isn’t something you should shy away from, but it does come with a different set of rules than a conventional home purchase and you should be aware of them before you get too excited.

A short sale simply means that the sale price of the real estate is less that what is owed by the current owners.  The lien holder agrees to release the lien hold on the property for an amount that is less than the current lien.  When purchasing a short sale, the process is often times longer and more drawn out, but the reward is a good price on a home.  If you see a short sale and fall in love with the property, you can make an offer to the current owners.  Most times, because it’s a short sale, the homeowners will accept the offer.  After the offer has been accepted, the homeowners take the offer to the bank.  The bank needs to approve your offer before you can move forward.  They will either approve it or reject it, but it can take them a few weeks to a few months to give you an answer.  So if they end up rejecting it after waiting 3 months, then it can become very frustrating for the buyer because they may have lost out on a few other nice opportunities while they were waiting.  The good news is that once the bank approves the offer, then most of the time, the transaction can proceed as a normal real estate transaction.  If you are in a rush to purchase real estate, then a short sale may not be the right option for you.  Patience is a virtue when it comes to purchasing a short sale.

As with any real estate transaction, it’s very important to have a real estate lawyer involved in the process.  Short sales are no exception.

 

 

Juvenile Cyber Crimes

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Cyber crimes committed by our youth are increasing at an alarming rate.  Is this really a surprise?  Many kids have their own computers, touch screen tablets, and mp3 players all in the comfort of their own room.   As with anything in life, the more you use something, the more intelligent you become with it.  Some examples of juvenile cyber crimes include computer hacking, stealing online music, online bullying, online harassing, and viewing online pornography.

Downloading online music without purchasing it is known as Piracy.  Piracy can also include videos, software, and DVD’s.  Piracy has hurt music industry sales over the years; however, online music sales have been increasing again thanks to legal streaming music sites.  Another major problem we have as a nation is dealing with is online hacking.  An example of online hacking is when someone (other than yourself) gains access to another person’s personal information without his or her consent.  This information can include name, address, phone number, social security number, and credit card information.  It is often used for identity theft or credit card fraud.  One more example of a juvenile cyber crime is online bullying or harassing.  This has become a major issue over the past few years and has lead to countless sad endings.  With the use of emails, social media, and texting, teenagers (and even younger) have the ability to embarrass, torment, and threaten other kids.  What makes cyber bullying often times more hurtful than face-to-face bullying is that with a touch of a button, hundreds (or millions) of people online can view embarrassing information or pictures of someone.  And once that information is out there, it can’t be taken back.

Any of the juvenile cyber crimes mentioned above are a serious threat and need to be dealt with legally.  Keeping a closer eye on your teenager and monitoring their online use will undoubtedly decrease their chances of becoming involved in any type of juvenile cyber crime.

 

What Are The Effects Of A Foreclosure Or Short Sale On Your Credit Score?

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

With so many consumers evaluating their options, it is important to understand the difference between a short sale and a foreclosure, and how each option may impact your credit scores. So, what is the difference between a short sale and foreclosure? A short sale occurs when the lender agrees to accept less than the total amount owed on the mortgage loan. A foreclosure is the legal termination of all rights of the borrower as the owner of the home and the lender repossesses the home. In a foreclosure, the estate becomes the absolute property of the lending institution.

The perception that a short sale will always have less impact on a credit score compared to a foreclosure is simply a credit score myth.  If a foreclosure or short sale appears on your credit report it is considered negative because it predicts future credit risk. Generally speaking, the impact on your credit score will be similar for both a foreclosure and a short sale.

The exact score impact of a foreclosure or a short sale will depend on several factors including:

.Additional information reported on the mortgage account, included in a foreclosure or short sale. For example, late payments associated with the mortgage account prior to the foreclosure or short sale and how recently those past due payments took place.

.Current credit profile of the consumer.  For example, how the consumer is managing all their other credit obligations such as credit cards, car loans, student loan, etc.  Are other bills being paid on time or have missed payments been reported on these as well? And are credit cards showing high balances?

.The negative impact on a credit score appears more severe if a foreclosure or short sale is reported on a credit report that has little or no history of missed payments and or derogatory information. In these scenarios, the number of points lost can be 150 or greater.

Ways to Avoid Foreclosure

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

The best way to avoid foreclosure is to prevent the filing of a Notice of Default. Lenders do not want to foreclose but will file a Notice of Default to protect their interests, if necessary. If you know you are unlikely to meet your mortgage obligation, the first thing you should do is call your lender.

Do not ignore letters from your lender because those responses will make the situation worse, not better. Depending on your particular situation and hardship circumstances, here are some options your lender might propose to you:

Time To Catch Up Your Payments:

Lenders might agree on forbearance. The lender will wait before taking legal action against you and let you work out a repayment plan that is affordable for you.

Forgiving A Payment:

Debt forgiveness is rare. It involves agreeing that you will be current after missing a payment and the lender waiving your obligation.

Spread Out The Missed Payments Over A Longer Term:

A repayment plan allows you to pay your missed payment over a few months to a year. For example, if your payment is $1,200 a month, the lender might let you add $100 a month to each payment for a year until you are caught up.

Changing The Terms Of Your Loan:

If your mortgage is an adjustable loan, the lender might freeze the interest rate before it increases or change the interest rate to a more manageable.

Add The Back Payments To Your Loan Balance:

If you have sufficient equity and meet the lender’s lending guidelines you might be able to refinance. Here the lender might increase your loan balance to include the back payments and re-amortize the loan.

Make A Separate Loan To You:

During a partial claim borrowers who meet specific criteria can apply for another loan, which will pay back the missed payments.

Reckless Driving

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Reckless driving is defined as a moving violation in which a driver displays a disregard for the rules of the road. In essence, reckless drivers put themselves and others at risk, and they often involve more than one traffic violation. Reckless driving offenders are punished by fines, jail time, and/or driver’s license suspension or revocation.

Disregard for the safety of people or property is a common element in reckless driving car accidents. Reckless driving acts include, but are not limited to, the following situations:

.Causing an automobile accident

.Running red lights

.Distracted driving

.Running stop signs

.Drinking and driving

.Speeding

.Driving under the influence of drugs

.Suddenly braking

.Driving without headlights

.Tailgating

High Rate of Speeding

While speeding alone isn’t usually considered reckless driving, an extremely high rate of speed might lead an officer to charge someone with reckless driving.

Alcohol and Drugs Also Lead to Reckless Driving

Everyone that gets behind the wheel knowing that they are drunk or impaired are by definition reckless drivers. According to the courts, reckless driving and DUI offenses are separate crimes, and drivers may sometimes be charged with both crimes.

Most car accidents can be prevented by following these simple tips:

.Always wear a seatbelt

.Avoid distractions caused by passengers, cell phones, food, or loud music

.Don’t speed

.Obey all traffic signs

.And try not to drive when tired.

Not every automobile accident can be prevented, but you can control whether or not you cause a serious car crash.

The penalties for Reckless Driving in New Jersey are as follows:

.Jail of up to 2 Months (3 months for a 2nd offense)

.Fines of 50-$200. (Up to $500 for a Second Offense)

.5 Points on your Driving Record

The penalties for Careless Driving are:

.Fines

.2 Points on your Driving Record

Avoiding Foreclosure

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Foreclosure can happen to anybody in any financial income bracket. Also, it is not something that you should hide from because it never goes away.

There are many ways to avoid foreclosure but you must act on time. Once you miss your first payment it gets hard to catch up and becomes overwhelming

Foreclosure is when a Lending institution repossesses your home because of unpaid mortgage payments. The mortgage company does not typically begin the official foreclosure proceedings until you are 3-4 months past due. The duration of proceedings depends on your State’s Foreclosure laws.

The Obama Administration has put a number of programs in place to help homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure and struggling to make their monthly mortgage payments. Homeowners are encouraged to contact their lenders and loan servicers directly to inquire about foreclosure prevention options available to them.

Programs to Help Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure Include:

.The Making Home Affordable © (MHA) Program: helps homeowners avoid foreclosure, helps stabilize the country’s housing market, and also helps improve the nation’s economy. Homeowners have the opportunity to lower their monthly mortgage payments and obtain a loan at a lower rate. There are also choices available for unemployed homeowners and homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth.

.Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP): lowers a homeowner’s monthly mortgage payment to 31 percent of their verified monthly gross (pre-tax) income. The HAMP modification usually results in a 40 percent drop in their monthly mortgage payment.

.Principal Reduction Alternative (PRA): was designed to help homeowners whose homes are worth less than they owe, by encouraging servicers and investors to reduce the amount you owe on your home.

.Second Lien Modification Program (2MP):  this program was designed for homeowners whose first mortgage was modified under HAMP SM and they have a second mortgage on the same property. The homeowner might be eligible for a modification or principal reduction on their second mortgage under 2MP.

.Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP): is designed to help homeowners who are current on their mortgage but have been able to refinance because the value of their home has declined.

.Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP): designed for individuals who are unemployed and are having a tough time making their mortgage payments. The program provides a temporary reduction or suspension on your mortgage payments for at least twelve months while you seek re-employment.

.FHA Forbearance for Unemployed Homeowners: Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requirements now require servicers to prolong the forbearance period for unemployed homeowners to 12 months. It also requires servicers to extend the forbearance period for FHA borrowers who qualify for the program from four months to twelve months also removing any upfront hurdles to make it easier for the unemployed borrowers to qualify.

.Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA): If your mortgage payment is unaffordable and you wish to transition into more affordable housing, you may be eligible for a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure through HAFA SM.

 

Driving Without Insurance

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Driving without insurance varies from state to state—and so do the penalties imposed. You may have your car registration suspended as well as your driver’s license. Whether or not you did not get around to paying your insurance (or are looking for cheaper rates) and your insurance lapses, operating your car without insurance is a hazard.

If you get in an accident and you have no insurance, your assets may be at risk since you will be held responsible for the damages caused. Also, if you get caught driving without a registration the penalties are usually tougher because you could have caused an accident in which you were
not covered.

Driving in New Jersey without auto insurance or not being able to show proof of auto insurance when requested is a serious offense carrying severe penalties. According to the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission a citation for driving uninsured puts you at risk of economic loss, fines,
suspension of driver’s license or registration, community service, surcharges, and time in jail.

The New Jersey statutes state that every owner or registered owner of a motor vehicle registered or principally garaged in the state of New Jersey shall maintain motor vehicle coverage, under provisions approved by the Commissioner of Insurance.

A first time violation of driving without liability insurance includes a fine of at least $300 and up to $1000, community service, DMV surcharges of $250 for 3 years, and the loss of your license for up to one year. In addition to court costs and fees.

A second time offense comes with a fine up to $5000, a mandatory jail sentence of 14 days, 30 days community service and a license suspension for 2 years or more. State laws and statutes are always being changed and updated, so it is important to contact the courts to find out what the exact penalties are for driving uninsured.

Remember that you are breaking the law if you drive without the proper auto insurance.