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Belize Real Estate News



November 15, 2017 - How To Avoid Belize Real Estate Scams and Con Artists


Property and land titles in Belize could not be more secure … once you have a legit one in hand. Unfortunately, you only need to type “Belize real estate scam” into Google to learn that getting to that point can be tricky.

Our Belize law office has heard many horror stories of unsuspecting people purchasing title to Belize real estate only to find out the title is fraudulent. Scams of this nature are all too common in Belize, sadly, a fact that is exacerbated by little regulation over whom may market themselves as a real estate agent.

It’s worth taking a look at a few recent scams to observe key elements.  This website - www.complaintsboard.com - is a good place to start.  Type in Belize and you'll be able to review all sorts of land scams.  Do not get carried away with the specifics of any particular case, and our law office is not involved with any of these cases and does not have any opinion to the merits of any specific complaint.  But if you're considering buying real estate in Belize, you can get a good a sense of the kinds of scams out there and what to be on the look out for.  (A few particularly instructive links are below.)

A few common elements that should create red flags:

  • Belize real estate scams victims do not verify title.  Scams often involve a faulty title, so victims end up paying for worthless pieces of paper rather than a deed to actual Belize property.  
  • Belize real estate scam victims feel rushed into making a decision on the property. If they don't act now, the opportunity will be lost.  
  • Belize real estate scam victims have trouble communicating with those involved in their Belize real estate transaction and have difficulty receiving updates on their Belize property investments.
  • Belize real estate scam victims rely on parcel maps to make their decision.  But such maps can be deceptive, and victims who thought they were buying beachfront property suddenly notice two plots between theirs and the ocean upon moving to Belize.
  • Belize real estate scam victims do not read the fine print in the documents they sign.  For example, a victim realizes she will forfeit her $1,000 deposit on a Belize property if she doesn't pay for a $995 package to travel to Belize to see the property.  It was all there in the fine print she chose to ignore or did not understand fully.
  • Belize real estate scam victims are not present at the transaction closing.  If a Belize real estate is encouraging you not to be present at the closing, that’s a big flapping red flag that the agent might be unethical. (Of course, if you’ve gone through the process before and have somebody who you truly trust or you have legal counsel present, you do not absolutely need to be present.)
  • Belize real estate scam victims do not have a Belize real estate attorney

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You’ve probably heard the saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably too good to be true.”  Heed this.  Excellent bargains and investment opportunities do exist in Belize - these are not too good to be true. Take your time to understand the difference.  

Here is a quick guide that will be helpful if you decide to proceed:

  • Avoid Belize real estate scammers by being diligent and doing your research
  • Avoid Belize real estate scammers by taking your time to finalize a property deal
  • Avoid Belize real estate scammers by recognizing that communication is key
  • Avoid Belize real estate scammers by reading the fine print
  • Avoid Belize real estate scammers by relying on your own two eyes or the eyes of somebody you trust
  • Avoid Belize real estate scammers by obtaining a trustworthy real estate agent
  • Avoid Belize real estate scammers by being present at the closing
  • Avoid Belize real estate scammers by hiring a Belize real estate attorney

You best option?  Ignore everything but the final bullet point.  To avoid a nightmare, contacting a reliable real estate agent in Belize is key and our real estate lawyers have over 12 years of experience and contacts with such agents.  Consider inviting Wrobel & Co., Attorneys-at-Law to assist you today.  

References


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