Should I hire a real estate lawyer before purchasing a home?
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Should I hire a real estate lawyer before purchasing a home?

My name is Samira Kermani. I’m the owner and founder of Kermani Law Firm
in West Los Angeles. People should work with a real estate lawyer
in two instances. For example, when they’re purchasing real
estate or selling real estate, on the front-end, when a person is selling their home, or
selling a shopping center, or buying property, they need to have a real estate attorney look
at the paperwork, make sure the disclosures are drafted properly, and also to advise the
buyer especially how to do their due diligence, to make sure that they understand what they’re
purchasing so that they don’t have buyer’s remorse. Also, very important, is to do this before
you actually sign the paperwork because often what I see in my law practice, most of my
clientele are buyers who purchased real estate and then after they closed escrow, they realized
that the seller or the brokers either forgot intentionally or negligently to represent
some very serious defects in the property, and at that point in time obviously it’s a
lot more costly to hire an attorney to represent their rights and seek compensation for their
damages. So it’s always wiser to have an attorney before
you purchase to make sure that your paperwork is correctly put together. And have an attorney advise. Whether it’s a $500,000 condo or a $5 million
shopping center, honestly at the end of the day, the lawyer’s charging pretty much the
same and doing the same work. A lot of times what I see is people who purchased
property where the price point is a little bit on the lower side, so they think, “Well,
I don’t want to spend the money on an attorney.” But once you want to retain someone, after
you’ve closed escrow, for example you discover there’s mold in the property, or they had done
the remodels, which are so popular now, everyone’s doing the remodels and taking down walls,
for example, if someone’s remodeling and they take down weight bearing walls and then there’s
earthquake seismic consequences to the property, or they take down the windows and they change
them and they don’t put windows in properly, they don’t use structural engineers or a general
contractor or an architect, it’s a do-it-yourself job. The property looks beautiful when you walk
into the home, it could look like the cover of a magazine, but once the first rains hit,
we have clients right now where 20 windows are leaking in a house. Millions of dollars were spent on purchasing
the home. So what that entails at that point is litigation where we file a lawsuit
against the seller and brokers for failure to disclose defects that were serious enough
that they should’ve known about. I think that if you are hiring a real estate
lawyer after you close the escrow and you have purchased the property, whether it’s
residential or a shopping center, if you are in a situation where you believe that there
were some misrepresentations on the part of the agents, you need to hire an attorney who
not only is a real estate lawyer but also understands brokerage law, because basically
it’s a hybrid. I’m a licensed broker myself. I own a real estate brokerage, so it’s very
important for your attorney to understand basically what it is that the broker should’ve
done, so that they can then articulate it in the legal framework. So it’s a hybrid of knowing real estate law,
but then you also have to know brokerage law, and the standard of conduct for real estate
brokers. Basically, what does the law require of a real estate broker? Did they discharge
their duties? Did they do what they were supposed to do, or not? So, you want to make sure that your attorney
understands and is familiar with both areas of practice.

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