Baja Real Estate — Very poor service!
What I Learned the Hard Way About Mexican Real Estate. Problems at Las Olas Mar y Sol:
BY MICHELLE MARINA
Ed Note: The Gringo Gazette is unable to obtain comments from Alex Crosthwaite, because he instructed us not to ever call him again. If Mr. Crosthwaite will accept our phone calls, we will report his comments.
I am a US based real estate agent, and I have sold nine condos at Las Olas Mar y Sol to US clients. I feel that anyone should be able to ask and receive answers to real estate questions without fear of receiving threats. I and my family have been threatened by Mr. Crosthwaite, the developer at Las Olas Mar y Sol, I have not received my commissions, and at this point most of my clients are asking for full refunds.
I stated before that I would be the first to say if Mr. Crosthwaite has fulfilled his obligations. So I hereby report that he did refund Mr. Rich Soranno’s $10,000 earnest money deposit. However, it took countless phone calls, attorneys, and press exposure to achieve this. Also, I now have two other clients that are requesting refunds, but neither Mr. Crosthwaite nor his agent Gustavo Torres (Remax-Baja) has responded to those requests. I have not received my commissions because Mr. Crosthwaite has ordered me to write a favorable statement about him, subject to his approval, before he will pay me the money he owes me. I stand firm that I will not write a favorable letter just to collect those commissions.
I submit to the public the following list of questions and issues that created the problems with Mr. Crosthwaite. I invite the public to judge for themselves whether these are questions that others should ask, and whether my life should be put in danger for asking them.
1. Trust Agreement. If the contract states “Promise of a Trust”, then what kind of trust is being promised? Is it a Real Estate Bank Trust or an Administrative Trust? There is a huge difference between the two types of trusts.
2. Exhibits. If the contract refers to Exhibits, they should be attached to the contract and provided to the buyer for full review.
3. Upgrades. There should be a price list of upgrades that can be added.
4. Homeowners Association Fee. What will be the amount of the dues, what is included in the fee, and will the homeowners take control of the Homeowners Association eventually, or will it be controlled by the developer?
5. Actual Closing Date. The contract states that the Trust Agreement will be executed within 24 months after the execution of the contract. What if the building is not complete?
6. Initial Earnest Money Deposit. The contract stated that "said earnest money will simply be held and then returned when 30% down payment has been placed". Does the term "simply held" mean that the check will be cashed or not cashed?
7. Notary. The contract states that the Trust Agreement shall be executed before the Notary Public appointed by the developer. Why can't the Notary used be of the buyers choice?
8. Release of Funds. The contract states that money is to be released by the Title Company to the developer at certain stages of construction. If so, then why aren't the buyers notified when the funds are released? If money is being released, who is checking to see that this part of the construction has actually been started?
9. Unit Re-sales. Las Olas Mar y Sol requires that re-sales go through his company. Why would he sell your unit before he sells his own?
10. How many towers will be going up at this site?
The following additional items are things that are not related to Las Olas Mar y Sol, but that I have learned while trying to buy real estate in Mexico:
1. The Spanish Version of the Contract Applies in Court. Buyers should not necessarily believe that the contract says the same thing in English and Spanish.
2. Select your own Attorney to review your contract. Do NOT hire an attorney that is referred to you by the developer!
3. Construction Bond. Ask whether the development is covered by a construction performance bond.
4. Disclosure of relationship between your agent and the developer. If your real estate agent or that firm has a partnership in the development, they do not disclose this to you! This may be the main reason that they are trying to sell you a particular development!
6. Get it in Writing. For agents, get your commissions due you in writing at time of contract. For buyers, if you make any additional agreements with the developer, get it in writing! DO NOT assume that they will honor any verbal agreement.