Avoiding Online Real Estate Scams in Mexico
Researching properties online is a great way to get an overall view of available properties in Mexico. It is exciting to search and dream about purchasing one of the amazing vacation homes featured on the net. The internet is also a great tool to search for the most popular areas, or if you prefer the most secluded properties and obtain the general price range of your new home.
However, there are many online real estate scams, here are a few pointers from our Mexican Real Estate Legal Team on how to avoid them.
- Do not engage with an online “seller” who demands a deposit upfront without viewing the property or without a proper contact (reviewed by a lawyer.) Many sellers may use the threat of a missed opportunity as if there is an overwhelming amount of people interested in this fantastic deal, so you must act now! Never extend payment to anyone without legal counsel.
- Consult with a real estate agent in the city you want to invest in. Since Quintana Roo is the only state that has begun to regulate real estate agents, it is important to hire an agent based on a referral. Gather references through friends or other expats, often a quick search on expat Facebook pages can provide reviews of real estate agents other expats trust or have had experiences with, good or bad. Also research the agent online, are they established in the community with a good reputation?
- Educate yourself online, research the market, prices, and locations. Consider rental opportunities for your property and its potential resale value. Know the value of the property you are interested in before you begin negotiations.
- Consider that difference between a property which may be cheap but difficult to resell and an underdeveloped property with potential. Is there a trend for the property value to increase? Is the tourist area spreading out to an area which may prove to be a good investment?
- Does the seller have the right to sell the property? Of course, you will hire a local real estate lawyer who will ensure proof of ownership, perform due diligence and ensure you receive the title deed, but it is helpful to meet the owner and learn the history of the property.
- Have the property inspected, a building inspector will check for infestation, mold and any foundation problems that may exist.
- Do not agree to presale purchase without reviewing the contract with a lawyer.
- Most importantly, no matter how great the deal looks online, do not agree to purchase real estate without seeing the property in person and use the proper legal channels to buy real estate in Mexico. Do not transfer any funds without consulting a lawyer in Mexico.
For more information on how to safely purchase real estate in Mexico, contact us.