How to Hire a Lawyer in Brazil Part 2
By Jose Santiago
Here is the second part of Jose's article with advice on hiring a lawyer in Brazil. To read the first part click the relevant link at the end of the article.
When it comes to hiring real estate lawyers, besides the previously listed steps, more careful and due diligence is required. But why would you need a real estate agent and/or a real estate lawyer if is not required by law in the first place? Real estate transactions usually involve considerable amounts of money and involve a number of legal procedures and tons of paperwork that must be properly executed to be valid.
In my opinion the importance of a real estate lawyer when purchasing real estate is fundamental because a foreign buyer is usually not fully aware of the laws that affect the ownership. Sometimes, you're not only subject to the laws of real estate ownership, but there may be special laws or restrictions which affect foreign owners, as well as local laws which may be different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
Plus, there is always the risk of related title defects. These defects could include survey errors, title flaws, fraud, forgery, undisclosed liens and encumbrances, or a host of other problems. Lawyers identify these risks and disclose to clients, but the client must decide whether or not to accept the risks. If a title search is not done or not properly done, buyer could face substantial losses or damages.
In Brazil is common to hear realtors telling their clients not to hire a lawyer or to let them do the paperwork for them. For obvious reasons they dont want to risk losing a deal by any means; needless to say if an lawyer detects a hidden title cloud or a lawsuit or any other deal-breaker issue while running a thorough title and seller search. As a matter of fact, the advice not to seek legal help is prohibited in the state of Florida for example. Realtors there can be reprimanded and loose their license in some cases.
Nonetheless, in Brazil the reality is different, some sellers and some realtors do steer buyers away from real estate lawyers, but if this happens to you, extra care is required. If there is a hidden title defect or a pending lawsuit against the seller, and you end up losing your recently bought property, guess what is going to happen? You wont be able to get your money back based on the verbal guarantee given by the seller or by the realtor on a title or legal issue. It is not part of their job to give legal advice and issue opinions on title and court documents. It is the same as if your accountant gives you medical advice which caused you to lose your liver. You ultimately followed the advice of a non-expert, someone who lacks in education, knowledge and in experience; someone who does not hold the respective license to do the job; and therefore, someone who has no obligation to give you proper and correct advice whatsoever.
The third and final part next week...
Jose C. Santiago
Multinvest / Elite International
Licensed Attorney - Brazil
Licensed Real Estate Agent - USA
Phones: (55-11) 9348-5729 - São Paulo, Brazil
(800) 983-7060 - Miami, USA
Previous articles by Jose:
How to Hire a Lawyer in Brazil Part 1
Tax Information for Foreigners in Brazil Part 4
Tax Information for Foreigners in Brazil Part 3
Tax Information for Foreigners in Brazil Part 2
Tax Information for Foreigners in Brazil Part 1
8 Reasons to Invest in Brazils Real Estate
The Brazilian Resident Investor Program for Foreigners
Brazil: Annual Required Procedures to Keep Your CPF Number
Legal Aspects of Acquiring Real Estate in Brazil