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Should I hire lawyer or agent for my condo purchase

Hello everyone,

I'm an international buyer, I just moved to work in the United States (Los Angeles, CA) for four years. I've decided to buy a condo here as investment that I will resell when I'm done my work here.

My question is: should a hire a lawyer to walk me through the buying process, sales taxes, property taxes, inspection, and any legal advice. 
OR
instead should I just use my agent and take her/his advice regarding taxes, and inspection...etc.

Thank you very much.
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October 07 2013 - US
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Answers (5)

You need both, and you need a CPA who is qualified to advise on international taxation.

A lawyer can't show you condos, provide you with comps, help you evaluate the strength of the homeowner's association. A real estate agent can't explain the legal and tax issues that an international investor faces. 

All the best,
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October 07 2013
You actually need both.  You need a RE Agent to help you locate the best homes, negotiate the purchase and help you with inspections etc.  It is unlikely that an attorney will be an expert in the local real estate market and be familiar with neighborhoods, market valuations and pricing.

But because you are a foreign national, there are specific ways in to purchase property (take title) that will benefit you when you go to sell. An attorney or accounting professional may be better suited to guide you in the legal matters.

It will cost you nothing to use a Buyers Agent and just explain to the agent your intention to have all contract paperwork reviewed by your attorney.  The agent can specify in your offer that the sale is contingent on attorney review. The agent will likely welcome the help as it will alleviate one of the agents biggest concerns and that is compliance.
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October 07 2013
Hi!  I would definitely call a realtor for my real estate needs.  Although lawyers are necessary for us to call upon in time of need, realtors are here to meet your housing needs.  There are many many good realtors to chose from - Zillow is a great source to help you find one.

Good Luck with whatever you decide and whomever you decide to acquire our help from.
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October 07 2013
I would use the person you currently have a trusting relationship with. I wouldn't just pick up the phone and call a lawyer if you have an agent who is knowledgable. .
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October 07 2013
I think it is always in your best interest to be represented by legal council during a home/condo purchase. Most likely the seller will have representation, so why shouldn't you?

There are things that a good lawyer will be able to get you through and give you advice on that you may not know about. 

With regards to an agent, they cannot give you legal advice or financial advice. A good agent should direct you to speak with a financial representative for your financial questions and a lawyer regarding specific legal issues.
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October 07 2013
 
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