By Boris Goldshmit
Anyone could pose as a real estate agent in Brazil. In fact, selling real estate appears to be the third most favorite national past-time after soccer and Carnival. Strangers on the street, doormen, friends, friends of friends, friends of relatives, and relatives of friends, in short, anyone would gladly land you a helping hand and charge a commission for services (or lack thereof) provided.

Actually, in Brazil, the profession of a real estate broker is strictly regulated by the Civil Code and providing real estate services without being duly registered and licensed is a misdemeanor punishable by incarceration and a fine.

This is important information yet it is often of little practical value to those unfortunate individuals who have already fallen victims to pseudo-brokers, incompetent brokers, or outright fraud.

As always, an ounce of prevention is worth many times a pound of cure, especially considering that this pound of cure is very hard to come by in the first place. Of course, there are recourses that could be invoked by the injured party. Brokers and agents can be reprimanded and their licenses could be suspended and revoked by CRECI – Regional Councils of Real Estate Professionals; real estate agents are also legally and financially responsible for their actions through civil and criminal legal systems. Needless to say, obtaining satisfaction or justice could take a very long time as well as be extremely difficult, costly, and stressful.

Information and knowledge are often the best defenses and protectors of consumer interests and rights in any situation. This is true many times more so in real estate purchase arrangements that take place in Brazil.

Let us look at the professional qualifications, responsibilities, and rights that real estate agents have in Brazil. Our first step is to learn how to avoid unscrupulous individuals who pose as brokers and who often cause serious financial and emotional damage to their unsuspecting clients. We will then look at the practical aspects of working with a real estate agent, and, finally, we should explore the steps that can be taken to protect rights and property of a client.

Part 2 next week…

Boris Goldshmit is the founder of www.lifestylesbrazil.com and a Licensed Real Estate Broker based in Rio de Janeiro. He can be contacted at boris@lifestylesbrazil.com.

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