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Baja Real Estate / Poor service!

1 Mexico Review updated:

I was sent this link from a friend who knows I was thinking about buying in baja:
http://www.thesqueakywheel.com/complaints/2007/JUL/complaint15574.cfm

The complaints I found when searching for Mexico real estate complaints, Baja real estate complaints, and about the developer I was thinking about buying from had very important things for me to think about. I think I was getting caught up in the hype of what the sales people were saying instead of taking the time and being objective about the costs, and the risks. I don't want to be stuck with a property with chronic problems, in a foreign country with no government protections. I am glad that these warnings were available for me. I am complaining about the lies and scams that are being promoted as fact by the Baja Real Estate community. It is important to understand these people have a lot to gain by getting us to go there and buy. It would be a good deal if there was a government that provided services and agencies for consumer protection. If the realtor and seller don't deliver the product they say they are selling there is no board of realtors to help you. The realtors are not licensed. There are no inspections of construction done by government building inspectors on houses or condominiums. When you see eroded concrete in the area it is because contractors were able to water it down and install it without using qualified workers. Americans are spoiled, we assume there are oversites. There are no oversites on Mexican construction. The people who are realtors are not going to tell you this unless you know to ask about it. In ten years the new construction of today will be riddled with major problems. In Real Del Mar you see it in houses that are only a year or two old. I would say buy a lot and build your own home, but take an American engineer to inspect the lot and do soil compression tests because they are selling lots that don't have the proper compaction to support a house , so the foundations crack and move. Don't trust the sales people, there is NO way to hold them to anything they tell you. You are walking into a lawsuit in a foreign country if you don't take a lot of time first, and use a Mexican attorney before you buy. There are many scams where Americans put deposits on property of $5,000. to hold it and even though they were told they could get it back, they don't. The whole process is riddled with risk from the beginning to the end. This is true in Rosarito, Tijuana, Loreto, all Baja. I believe it is true in all Mexico. Ask about how the realtors, builders, etc. are regulated, and what your rights are, and who will help you if you have a problem. If you don't ask about this first, you will be in major trouble later.

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Comments

  • Ke
      18th of Jul, 2007
    0 Votes

    I agree with people who are writing about the low quality of construction in Baja real estate. Baja real estate would not pass inspection in any county in the United States. Baja real estate developers cut corners even more than U.S., because there are no inspections or follow up. Anyone serious about living in a country that is becoming even more hostile towards Americans, should only build their own house, and supervise every board and nail. Baja is a scary place to live. Last spring three policemen were beheaded by drug cartel thugs in Rosarito Beach. You would have to be crazy to buy Baja real estate.

  • Ke
      18th of Jul, 2007
    0 Votes

    Moving to Baja is like moving to a Gheto. You are surrounded by deplorable poverty, exploitation, and crime. The police pull over tourists and foreign residents expecting bribes. The drug cartel is out of control. Some developers are also politicians and are the ones running the show. You will definitely get what you pay for if you buy Baja real estate. No services, the sewage is regularly dumped in the ocean or surrounding areas from the trucks that pump the septic tanks. You need to read back issues of the Gringo Gazette. It is true, the residents of beach communities get no help from the city with these types of problems. When they complain, the city retaliates against those who complain. Stay away from Baja real estate.

  • Ke
      19th of Jul, 2007
    0 Votes

    Thank you for this information. I was interested in Baja real estate because I read an article about how inexpensive it is to buy there and live. This has definitely put a different perspective on it. I guess the people writing those articles and all the positives are the ones there doing business. You are right, it is important to think about why something is less expensive. Very low property taxes, means little or no services. It is the crime that scares me, the police are the crooks. I never thought about the danger we could be in. These are very important issues.

  • Ke
      27th of Jul, 2007
    0 Votes

    I have a house that has a lot of problems in Rosarito. I was told the plumbing and wiring were replaced two years before I got it. I found out it was closer to four, by the owner himself, and he had never done it before, got advice from one of the neighbors. Well, I won't go on about all the problems I now have. If I tell the next buyer about all the problems I will never make any money. I have a bunch I have already sunk into it for repairs, then when I sell I have to pay a lot of taxes. I should have rented.

  • Ke
      29th of Jul, 2007
    0 Votes

    I got an e-mail from a woman with a link to her story about Real Del Mar. I followed the link on the bottom of her page about that development in Baja to this. It is making me see that trying to sell real estate in Baja is a big mistake. I have seen the market slow down, but if people start seeing this it will completely dry up. I have sent the e-mail to the people on my mail list and they agree about the problems we have in Baja. I can't see that the government and the conditions to protect buyers will change in my life time. I think it is time to pack up my things and move back to Phoneix. Thanks for helping me with this decision. I think the area from TJ to Ensenada will get its old name back, "The Corridor of Broken Dreams."

  • La
      29th of Jul, 2007
    0 Votes

    I believe your broken dreams will be the fact that you will never have another opportunity to live by the ocean for a fraction of what it cost in USA. I am always amazed how narrow-minded people are. They hear one bad story and run with it. Yes the issues with Real Del Mar are a know fact. But Real del Mar is not the only place to buy in Mexico. I would not think twice about buying a resale in that development. It is beautiful and close to the border.

    When something bad happens in Mexico people such as yourself act like the whole place is in chaos and corrupt and unsafe. Truth be told bad things happen in the USA all the time. You cannot be that naive to think that corruption is not world wide? Of course it is. I cannot think of one school bombing in Mexico. Can you? Any murders, or thieves in our country? Of course they are but if it happens to you say all of the USA is bad. Really, think about it.

    There is good and bad in every aspect of life. Yes there are unethical people in the world and in Mexico. But one unethical person does not make everyone unethical. Find a realtor in Mexico that belongs to the Mexican Board of Realtors. Whoever says there is not a board of realtors in Mexico is talking out of the side of their head. Goes to show how people ignorant to the facts can spread so much nonsense. My suggestion is try reading the articles on business trends instead of relying on hear-say.

    Keep in mind other realtors in Mexico do not want you coming down to Mexico to work. It is competition. It takes away their business. Believe me I know, because I have been through it.

    Between my associate and myself we are working on our 5th property. Yes I know the behind the scenes stuff that goes on in Mexico. I live there. I just know how to buy from reputable builders and reputable real estate people.

    Loosen up... take some risks. Do your homework. Check-out why all the American and other foreign investors are going to Mexico in a frenzy to buy up coastal land. Don't you think large corporations do their due diligence?

    Why are American Mortgage companies coming down to Mexico to offer AMERICAN LOANS to Americans in Baja? Why is there American escrow services and and American title insurance company's in Mexico? Is everyone else naive or do you think large corporations have the means to do in- depth checking before they invest in another county. My guess is that they have done their homework... You should too.

    How much research have you done besides reading the blogs? Remember those are personal opinions not fact. Sorry about the typos but I had to do this fast because I have clients waiting. Wake up smell the roses. I love Mexico and I love the USA. Experience life... For those of you who truly dare to live your lives to the fullest... welcome to Baja.

  • Gi
      29th of Jul, 2007
    0 Votes

    You obviously have not been able to thoroughly check on other buyer's comments or other developers doing other projects in Mexico. We are building homes in Punta Mita (www.elencanto-puntamita.com) and our clients (100% US citizens) will not agree with you at all. They have been part of a very professional process that ended with full title and timely delivery of a home of the highest quality of construction, furniture and appliances. I'd like you to dare compare our homes and sales process with any other developer's.

    Cheap projects are found all over the world (I'm sorry to break the news but even in the US! and even in Phoenix!!). So don't be surprised to get what you pay for (in Mexico or the US).

  • La
      29th of Jul, 2007
    0 Votes

    My name is Laura. I am a realtor in Mexico and I truly resent this post. Please read on and see how I debate what this person has said about ALL The realtors in Mexcio. I will break this down and answer some of your concerns. You will see {Remark from Laura} That is my opinion of what this person is saying. Forgive me if I get a little strong in some of my remarks. I am usually a very easy going person but this is too much for even me.


    Here goes: Statement #1
    The complaints I found when searching for Mexico real estate complaints, Baja real estate complaints, and about the developer I was thinking about buying from had very important things for me to think about. I think I was getting caught up in the hype of what the sales people were saying instead of taking the time and being objective about the costs, and the risks.

    {Remark from Laura: Don't you think before you buy in the USA? What hype, are you talking about? A chance to own beach front property at a fraction of the cost. The fact that it is safer than ever to buy land in Mexico. Better get a realtor that belongs to Ampi board of realtors in Mexico so you do not invest in developments that are questionable.}

    Statement # 2
    I don't want to be stuck with a property with chronic problems, in a foreign country with no government protections. I am glad that these warnings were available for me. I am complaining about the lies and scams that are being promoted as fact by the Baja Real Estate community.

    {Remark from Laura: You are obviously dealing with the wrong people in Mexico. So as always you have one bad experience and you think the entire country is bad. Good Grief. Are you really that ignorant. Please name all the " Baja Real Estate People that have lied and scammed you. My thought is you too are going by hearsay and talking out of the side of your head.}

    Statement 3
    It is important to understand these people have a lot to gain by getting us to go there and buy.

    { Remark by Laura: Don't all real estate people have a lot to gain no matter where they sell property? Don't most people work for money??? Working for money does not make a person unethical. I resent your remarks. I work for my clients to find them the best possible investment. I invest down here myself. No one is forcing you to come here and buy? Are you that easily persuaded to do something that you do not want to do? Your remarks are offensive and I would suggest you get your facts straight.}

    Statement 4
    It would be a good deal if there was a government that provided services and agencies for consumer protection.

    {Remark by Laura: Mexico does not have a government? News to me. Have you read the law that was passed in 1992 or have you heard of Fonatur?? I think not. }

    Statement # 5 (my personal favorite!)
    If the realtor and seller don't deliver the product they say they are selling there is no board of realtors to help you.

    { Remark by Laura:Yes I believe we do have a Mexican Board of Realtors. Have you ever heard of Ampi? I belong to it. Do your homework before you spread your mis truths}

    Statement #6
    The realtors are not licensed. There are no inspections of construction done by government building inspectors on houses or condominiums.

    {Laura Remarks: You cannot be serious? Where are you getting your information? We have title services, American loans, American escow, home inspections. You need to research before you talk.}

    Statement #7
    When you see eroded concrete in the area it is because contractors were able to water it down and install it without using qualified workers. Americans are spoiled, we assume there are oversites. There are no oversites on Mexican construction.


    {Laura Remarks: You seriously do not think the Mexican people know how to build? I cannot believe what you are saying. They are craftsman. Have you ever seen a copola or bovida? That takes a tremendous amount of skill. Oversite? If I saw construction workers using eroded concrete I would probably not buy there. Just a thought}

    Statement 7
    The people who are realtors are not going to tell you this unless you know to ask about it.

    {Laura Remarks: I really resent this remark. The people who are realtors are not going to tell you? Good Grief. Are you piling all of us realtors into one group. That is intelligent. I happen to steer my clients away from anything that would cause concern. I work for them, not the developers. You need to find another agent. Also you verbage seems to have that all or nothing ring to it. Again you are sooo wrong.

    Statement 8
    In ten years the new construction of today will be riddled with major problems.

    { Laura Remarks: Oh my goodness, now you are a contractor also? Is home inspection your specialty? I challenge you to come to Mexico and tell me the homes and condos I take you to are not built well. }

    In Real Del Mar you see it in houses that are only a year or two old.

    Statement #9
    {Laura remarks: Funny Real Del Mar has been around for over 15 years and I do not see homes falling down.} Let me ask you this, How many builders do you think build in Real Del Mar? Answer: For your information all homes are custom homes built by individual builders hired by the owners. Are they ALL bad builders???? There is your all or nothing mentality coming out again.}

    Statement #10
    I would say buy a lot and build your own home, but take an American engineer to inspect the lot and do soil compression tests because they are selling lots that don't have the proper compaction to support a house , so the foundations crack and move.

    { Laura Remarks: Again if it smells like a duck and quacks like a duck it is most likely a duck! Get the right builder and you will not have to concern yourself with these issues. Ignorant people say ignorant things. Quack Quack}

    Statement 11:(I can barely stand this remark. Ugh!!)
    Don't trust the sales people, there is NO way to hold them to anything they tell you.

    {Laura Remarks: Again, "Do not trust ALL The sales people? I resent that ,again your all or nothing attitude is showing your ignorance to the facts}

    Statement 12 (this one is a hummer)
    You are walking into a lawsuit in a foreign country if you don't take a lot of time first, and use a Mexican attorney before you buy.

    { Laura Remarks; Now, if you are telling EVERYONE not to trust the country why on earth are you suggesting they get a Mexican Attorney? Maybe they should hire an attorney in The USA? They are ALL ethical, aren't they?}

    Statement 13
    There are many scams where Americans put deposits on property of $5,000. to hold it and even though they were told they could get it back, they don't.

    { Again give me some names. You are an idiot.(please forgive me) but come on... are you serious? I am sorry I have to call a duck a duck. Just give me the names of the companies that do not give you your deposit back. But of course like you have stated previously, your problem is,YOU cannot find a good honest realtor because they are ALL corrupt??? If you could just find one good honest realtor they would tell you that the checks are made out to American title Insurance companies. If you are stupid enough to write a check out to anything but an escrow company you deserve to get conned. You are not doing your homework again.!!So are you saying that the American Title insurance companies do not give the AMERICANS their checks back??? They are crooked too? You just cannot trust anyone nowadays can you? EVERYONE is corrupt, right?} So now what? You are running out of excuses and arguments}

    Statement 14
    The whole process is riddled with risk from the beginning to the end. This is true in Rosarito, Tijuana, Loreto, all Baja. I believe it is true in all Mexico. Ask about how the realtors, builders, etc. are regulated, and what your rights are, and who will help you if you have a problem. If you don't ask about this first, you will be in major trouble later.{

    {Remarks by Laura: Again you are saying the WHOLE process is riddled with risks. Please tell me there has to be one teeny weeny process that does not have a risk in Mexico. All I want is one. Lets see what I can come up with? I do not think this is risky... Like making a check out to Land America or Stewart Title? Is that risky. Oh how about this one? Getting an American Loan??? Very risky indeed. What about doing a title search??? Oh not that would be too much work for you wouldn't it?}

    {Laura Remarks: You know I would suggest to live in a plastic bubble where you do not have to make decisions. After all where can you be safe in this all or nothing world? But be careful your plastic bubble may burst.}

  • Ke
      29th of Jul, 2007
    0 Votes

    The most important thing, listen to the United States State Department's advice on their web page. See for yourself. They warn: Take your time, use a good Mexican Attorney, they understand the laws there. The reason they post the warning about this is they can't do anything to help you if you buy real estate or timeshares in Mexico and when you realize you have problems they can NOT help you. There are no agencies like the board of realtors to help you. You are screwed. These people who say it is good need you to believe it is good so when they want to sell they can. They don't have to disclose any problems with the property like they do in the United States. You are on your own.

  • Ke
      29th of Jul, 2007
    0 Votes

    The realtor who wrote a rebuttal only told half truths, which is what they do. The realtors are not required to hold licenses in order to sell and the organization she is a member in has no power, and the inspections are the walk throughs, not building inspections. Again, lies spoken as truths, in order to make profit. Heed the U.S. state department warnings, they don't have a vested interest in screwing you. She does. Her other arguments are not worth my limited time, but if she is afraid of using an independently recommended Mexican attorney, she is hiding something. I visited San Marino in Baja recently, and was told they do not use escrow accounts. They wanted me to deposit $5,000.00 in a Wells Fargo account and the deposit slip would be my receipt. I have never heard a legitimate developer do this. Anyway, remember to think about what the author has to gain from getting you to believe their arguments.

  • Ke
      29th of Jul, 2007
    0 Votes

    Laura, getting an American Loan, really, what do you think has caused all the people to go into forecloser. I agree, buying houses in the U.S. is very risky, look at what is happening. But, how in the world does that make it mean it is safe in Mexico? It is like saying, sun exposer can cause cancer, but look at cigarettes, you can get cancer from them too. Does that mean I should not use sun screen. Laura would argue that if both are bad you might as well risk you life anyway. She is only trying to make a quick buck.

  • He
      29th of Jul, 2007
    0 Votes

    I live in Real Del Mar, and there is an Almalfi house that is falling down, and others with great structural damage. Laura does not know what she is talking about. Our attorney took an engineer/architect there and found many serious problems. I don't know why she does not say just hire the right people to oversee the process. A good attorney is the first step. If he feels you need someone to do a further inspection to guarantee structural integrity then do that. Why does Laura want to be the only one advising her clients? Why is she afraid of good legal advice? I know many Americans get it in the U.S. What is wrong with it in Mexico? Also, the type of inspection she says we have are only walk through. It is not where a building permit process has been followed, and inspectors oversee the stages of construction. These are not required in Mexico, they just are not a service the government provides. Since they don't it is important to get it yourself. I would not trust anyone who is afraid of you getting legal advise from someone who understands Mexican law. An attorney who is only certified to practice law in the U.S. does not have the understanding of the provincial law, or the ability to handle problems. Laura's comments regarding this show her lack of knowledge, and her fear of being found out. The State of Arizona also has information on the Internet about how to go about real estate transactions in Mexico, and they too advise using good legal council first. So, I guess Laura knows more than the U.S. State Department and the Arizona has learned from the citizens who have gone to them for help after having problems. They can't help them after the fact, so they warn them to get legal advice FIRST. Laura won't be there to help you either, but if you don't buy from her she can't laugh all the way to the bank.

  • Ke
      29th of Jul, 2007
    0 Votes

    I looked up AMPI:

    AMPI is a national association comprised of real estate professionals that have, since 1956, gathered under laws and codes of ethics and conduct to create a reliable, trustworthy and efficient real estate environment.

    AMPI consists of separate autonomous sections all throughout the Republic of Mexico, as well as more than 4000 associates and affiliates. Each section is independent and has its own Board of Directors, only surpassed by a national Board of Directors comprised of twenty associates from all over the Republic.

    In otherwords, it is not an authorized government licensing agency. It has no ability to suspend a license of an agent, or developer, because they are not required to have licenses. I wrote to them and complained about a developer, and I never heard from them. I used the contact us area on their web site. The Internet is great all you have to do is Google AMPI and see, it is a professional organization that enables the realtors and developers to network. It is in no way a consumer protection advocacy group. It is like complaining to the teacher's association about a problem with a teacher. You need the school district to complain to, a government agency, the department of education, not the organization formed by teachers to promote their professional status. There is a very big difference. The teachers associations do not license teachers, the states in which they teach set the requirements and monitor violations of laws. To claim AMPI is anything lke a licensing agency that oversees realtor laws is a pathetic attempt by an uneducated person. Sorry Laura, you should have taken some time to think about your rebuttal. Your ignorance is abundant.

  • Ke
      30th of Jul, 2007
    0 Votes

    Here are documented FACTS.

    I want to alert others that it is very important to listen to the advise of agencies in the United States about how to buy real estate in Mexico. I did not, and now I have a lawsuit.

    Here is a link to a pdf file published by the State of Arizona real estate department. It explains the differences in buying real estate in Mexico and the U.S. especially Arizona:

    http://www.re.state.az.us/PUBLIC_INFO/Documents/Consumer_Guide_MEX.pdf

    You will understand why it is important to use an attorney, not just a real estate agent.

    I say this, because I went to Coldwell Banker in Baja, and decided not to use the attorney. I wanted to save money. I thought I could research on my own on the Internet. Short version of the story, I now have an attorney, and a lawsuit to recover my deposit and damages. Though I was told my $5,000.00 deposit would be returned when I put down my down payment, Coldwell Banker cashed the check. They said that the developer told them to use it for commissions. I had a receipt for the deposit, but nothing in the contract about it. They also did not have my down payment put in an escrow account. I thought Coldwell Banker could be trusted because it was an American company. Again, learn from my mistakes, and follow the guidelines.

    This is from the United States State Dept. website, http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_970.html#real_estate

    REAL ESTATE AND TIME-SHARES: U.S. citizens should be aware of the risks inherent in purchasing real estate in Mexico, and should exercise extreme caution before entering into any form of commitment to invest in property there. Investors should hire competent Mexican legal counsel when contemplating any real estate investment. Mexican laws and practices regarding real estate differ substantially from those in the United States. Foreigners who purchase property in Mexico may find that property disputes with Mexican citizens may not be treated evenhandedly by Mexican criminal justice authorities and in the courts. Time-share companies cannot be sued in U.S. courts unless they have an office or other business presence in the U.S. Consumers should contact a Mexican attorney, the Mexican consumer protection agency PROFECO, or other consumer information agency for information on companies that operate outside of the U.S.

  • Ke
      1st of Aug, 2007
    0 Votes

    This information is the best I have seen on the Internet about Mexican or Baja real estate transactions. Thanks!

  • Ke
      3rd of Aug, 2007
    0 Votes

    I am glad I saw the government warnings posted here. Thank you. My real estate agent, at Baja Relocation, never mentioned it, and I did not see it in the Gringo Gazette.

  • Ke
      7th of Aug, 2007
    0 Votes

    This really makes me sick. I researched about buying a home in Mexico, and there were all kinds of sites put up by sales groups, like Baja Relocation that make it sound like heaven across the border. Now I see what I should have known. I should have looked for complaints about Mexico, Baja, etc. to get to see what problems others have already had. I have a property that has all kinds of issues and I can't sell it. The real estate agent says there is nothing I can do about the seller not telling about the structural problems. And I smell raw sewage that is dumped in the ocean regularly. The agents should be left to rot in Mexican jails.

  • Ke
      8th of Aug, 2007
    0 Votes

    It is about time that the truth about land sales in Mexico get on the Internet.

  • Ke
      8th of Aug, 2007
    0 Votes

    I am so angry about all the money it cost me to get out of my so called "investment" in Baja. When I bought, it was very expensive, the closing costs were just over $17,000. on my $295,000. purchase. Then there were the trust fees. Now I have sold, the taxes ate up more than I made, because you have to subtract the sales commissions, and other fees, and the capital gains taxes. I lost money.

  • Ke
      9th of Aug, 2007
    0 Votes

    I noticed the real estate agents who wrote comments about this remind people that bad things happen in the U.S. too. That is true. When my sister bought a house in Nevada she had some problems. She filed a complaint with the board of realtors and it got resolved in her favor. A friend was building a house and the county building inspector had to check each phase. After the ground was prepared and before the concrete was poured for the foundation the inspector had to approve the preparation. There was some plastic layer that was to go between the rocks and the concrete. Well, the inspector caught that the layer was thinner than it was supposed to be. The contractor had to put the proper layer in before the foundation was allowed to be poured. I believe building inspections like these are very important. One building inspector did not approve the nailing pattern. The told the builder that if the house was damaged by wind and the insurance inspectors found the county had approved the house without the proper nailing pattern then the county would be liable for the damages, so he would not approve it and allow the next step until it had as many nails per inch as the code required. So, not having building code and inspections leaves home buyers open to all kinds of potential problems. Sure the U.S. is not perfect, but there are reasons for the codes and inspections, and I would venture that in an area where there are no enforcements it is a lot worse than here. I guess Laura thinks living life to the fullest means assuming all kinds of risks. I am enjoying a very full life, and I sleep better in a protected society.

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