Contact Attorney Jean Shrem at 510-882-9992 /

Shrem Law is a boutique law firm that provides 
real estate, business, estate planning and intellectual property legal services in Northern California including 
Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Crockett, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Emeryville, Kensington, Martinez, Oakland, Pinole, Richmond, 
and surrounding Northern California areas.

Shrem law provides lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) friendly legal services.
Privacy Policy: Information that you share with us is not given to any third parties.
Terms of Use: This website is merely for personal use and is not to be viewed as, or used as a substitute for, legal advice.

Copyright 2001 Jean Shrem & Shrem Law​.



Private & FSBO Residential and Commercial Property Sales

Deeds, Deed Transfers, Tax-Base Transfers 

Real Estate Agreements, Easements & Advice

Real Estate Disputes, Mediation Services & Pre-Litigation

Landlord - Tenant Issues & Leases

including those in rent controlled cities in the East Bay Area

Mechanic's Liens & Pre-Foreclosure Advice.


WHAT WE DO:  Our real estate law team represents companies and individuals with their private residential and commercial real estate sales and purchases. We assist individuals that are buying a property without an agent and/or selling a property without an agent (For Sale By Owner or "FSBO"). 

WHAT DOES IT COST:  We offer three different rates. 

Hourly Rate - We offer an hourly rate of $500/hour.  This option is typically applicable for buyers that do not have a property, a seller that does not have a buyer, for those individuals that have not finalized purchase terms or for those that just need a few hours of our time.  We require an advanced fee payment of $2500 to cover the first 5 hours of our time.  Any unused time is fully refundable.

Flat Fee - For those individuals that would like assistance with the entire process where all terms have been negotiated, we offer a $5000 flat fee to represent one party and an $8000 flat fee to represent both parties. 

These rates are not linked to the purchase price amount and in contrast to a realtor's commission, are not a percent of the sales amount. 


Yes and no.  The flat fee takes into account some time savings that comes along with not keeping track of our billable hours and it therefore usually has a little extra time built in for the client (10 hours for a single party, 16 hours for both parties).  Once we are hired on an hourly basis, that time savings is lost.  Conversely, since the flat fee assumes that we will save time by not having to keep track of our billing and hours, any conversion to an hourly rate then creates more time that was not contemplated by the flat fee. 

However there is an exception, if a buyer or seller is not quite sure if an offer will be acceptable, and we only spend a small amount of time, such as 1 hour or 2 hours helping that buyer or seller, then we are happy to convert the engagement to a flat fee should the offer be found acceptable.  On the other hand, if a client thinks that a purchase offer will be acceptable and after a very brief period of time, such as 3 hours or less of our time, it is discovered that the real estate transaction will not be moving forward, we charge for the few hours actually spent and refund the flat fee balance.

WHO WE REPRESENT:  Our law firm has assisted landlords and tenants, trustees and beneficiaries, parents and children, brothers and sisters, neighbors, friends and strangers, LLCs, companies, partnerships and corporations, in buying and selling residential and commercial property privately, throughout the Bay Area and State of California.  

INCLUDED SERVICES:  Our flat fee service includes the entire real estate purchase and sale process, from start to finish for both residential real estate and commercial properties.  On occasion we have reviewed seller marketing materials prior to posting real estate for sale on sites like Craigslist, although in most instances the buyer and seller have already been introduced.  We help buyers and sellers put a real estate purchase contract together, we can help prepare a promissory note and deed of trust if there is seller financing, recommend top notch local inspectors, help manage the inspection, loan and appraisal processes, negotiations and contingency removals. We help sellers thoroughly prepare their real estate disclosures, necessary forms, paperwork and real estate reports to ensure that their risks are minimized and that they are legally protected.  We provide guidance and assistance with timelines and strategies to investors who are buying or selling their real estate in a 1031 tax deferred exchange.  We also work with the title company to review the preliminary title report and assist with minor title issues.  If a title company's services are not used, then we do also prepare and record the new grant deed.  In short, we assist in every aspect of the transaction, but it is all done from our desk.

WHAT WE DO NOT DO:  We do not come to the property.  We do not help with staging or home preparation and are not present for appraisals, inspections, or the like.  We do not market the property on the MLS or hold open houses.  Our services do not replace those of a title company, although there are occasionally certain circumstances in which a title company's services are not required.  Our flat fee service also does not include any ancillary legal issues to the real estate transaction, such as estate planning, eviction services, title issues, buyer loan or credit issues, seller lien issues or the like.



For individuals that do not need representation for an entire private sale and are merely seeking a simple change to real estate property title via a change in a deed, we can give legal advice and prepare and record a deed on an hourly basis. We also provide counsel to many parents that are interested in transferring their property and tax base to their children or to children that are interested in receiving property and the tax base from their parents.  We also advise individuals who are over the age of 55 and want to take advantage of Propositions 60 and 90.  We assist homeowners that have an easement or want to create one or buyers who are looking to purchase a home with an easement or other property encumbrance. 


Our real estate law team drafts all sorts of agreements for individuals, couples and groups.  Most agreements involve the joint purchase of real estate, such as a TIC agreement, a separation of joint property owners or deal with property boundaries and permissions, such as an easement or prescriptive easement. 


Our real estate law group assists parties with all types of real estate mediations, disputes and pre-litigation matters. We represent real estate buyers, sellers, realtors, neighbors, family members, homeowners and contractors.  We can help answer your questions regarding a quiet title matter, partition action, adverse possession claim or legal dispute.  Whether it is a claim based on a failure to disclose issue, a neighborhood nuisance claim, a tree or water issue, a change of heart, deposit return or a breach of contract claim, our goal is to attempt resolution in the most cost effective manner.  We can assist with real estate mediation or pre-litigation. We also provide legal advice to buyers who are looking to purchase a trust or conservatorship property, short sale or REO (bank owned property). 


Our real estate law group primarily represents residential landlords and commercial tenants that are in need of general advice, need help dealing with a dispute, evicting a tenant or defending an eviction, lease drafting, review or negotiations. We have experience dealing with rent control issues and advice regarding rent control ordinances in all East Bay Cities, including Berkeley, Oakland, Richmond and Alameda, in addition to neighboring cities that do not currently have rent control or eviction control ordinances.  


We assist both homeowners and contractors in following proper procedures to ensure that their interests are protected.  


We provide legal services to individuals that are considering or involved in a strategic default.  Most people we speak with are underwater homeowners who owe more on their property than it is worth and often the neighborhood has declined as well.  Often they need advice from a strategic default attorney because they are considering applying for a loan modification, have tried to work with their bank and did not get anywhere or are in the middle of a short sale that is either not going anywhere or is going South.  The homeowners we speak with are either behind on their mortgage payments or trying to decide whether or not to make their next payment.  For better or worse, we have a lot of experience helping property owners in this situation evaluate their options.  We offer a $400 flat fee consultation that takes about 30-45 minutes. 

If you have an appointment scheduled with us we need to know: 

  1. If your property is in California.  The laws around this issue are state specific and we can only advise property owners whose homes are in California.
  2. How many loans you have. 
  3. If you obtained each loan upon your purchase or thereafter, like a refinance, second loan or equity line of credit after close of escrow.
  4. How much you owe on each loan.
  5. If you have more than one loan, who the investor is (not just the servicer, you should be able to obtain this by calling the servicer, but this information is not crucial before our meeting).
  6. Roughly what you, your realtor or Zillow feels that your property is worth.
  7. If you bought the property as your primary residence, a second home or as an investment property.
  8. If you have a VA loan.