Log in to any of your social networks. Open any local magazine. They both have the same thing in common: advertising related to the same topic. The sale of the so-called “investment lots.”
Their publicity is attractive, eye-catching, appealing, and highly seductive, yet also misleading. The real estate “boom” in Yucatan has caused many people to make a mistake that could have dire consequences for their pockets; that is: buying without seeing, poor legal counceling and not checking thoroughly where these properties are located.
That charming advertisement tells you that your “dream” is “located only 3, 6, 8 and 10 minutes from the beach”. They call them “country lots,” or “investment lots”, areas of “greater growth and added value in Yucatan.” They enrapture the buyer’s senses with “winning” phrases such as:
“If you are looking for peace and tranquility…”
“Plan a great future”
“Your time to invest”
“Make your money grow”
“The safest city in Mexico”
These publications promise a “super financing” of 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, and up to 72 monthly payments without interest. Beginning at”only” 1,000 pesos per month (50 USD) and the promise of being an excellent opportunity for the future. Attractive marketing and the promise of a “dream” come true. Nothing new under the sun.
The reality is painful but straightforward. These presumed developments are created based on misleading advertising. Many are located in the middle of nowhere, with no access to the lots, no essential urban services such as electricity, potable water, public transportation, or garbage collection. If much, the buyer will find white streets and electric power at the foot of the development, also known as semi-urbanized.
Land sales have grown exponentially, and many municipalities’ authorities have done nothing to regulate them. In other words, they are not municipalized and will not be for many years to come. However, due to the income it represents for the locality, these authorities privilege the division of these macro lots into thousands of parts.
What they do not realize, and possibly do not even care, is that this practice will eventually explode and what it will bring to the state of Yucatan will be, in the first instance, a huge social problem, not to mention possible litigation.
It is unfortunate how, irresponsibly, people who buy in good faith are being led to believe that they are getting the deal of a lifetime. But, again, the reality is different. They are making a severe mistake by buying from a distance and basing a significant decision that involves risking their life’s patrimony based on beautiful architectural renderings presented to them by any of the thousands of sellers. Without professional certifications, people with no experience in the real estate industry call themselves “real estate consultants,” but of course, they are not.
These are people recruited by the “dream developers” with only one purpose, selling, and these so-called developers are usually opportunity investors looking to make a profit. So, to achieve the goal, they recruit people with economic needs to reach the sales goal any way they can, even if it means duping others.
The scheme of these businesses was based on the acquisition of cheap land. Then implemented a business model that consists of selling up to 100 times its purchase value without investing a single cent in infrastructure. They only make a division plan and put the product on sale, spending on a good advertising campaign and taking advantage of the fact that this type of business, until now, has not been sufficiently regulated. It is enough that a municipal president authorizes such division to do it.
Neither the supposed “real estate consultants” nor the owners of these supposed developments tell the client in their advertising that it may take 20 years (in the best of cases) or even 40 years for the buyer to do something with what they purchased.
It is also imperative to state that not all land developers act this way. Many developers have a great track record, name, and excellent reputation since they do things the right way. They invest in the necessary infrastructure so that their developments have all the essential services and the buyer can establish its residence in the short term. They also comply with all the regulations required by the authorities to municipalize the land. Therefore, it is not feasible for these development companies to offer meager prices when they invest money in their developments.
Do you want to invest your patrimony in land? Go ahead! But be well informed, check everything twice, invest in sound legal advice, and please, do not buy without seeing what you are buying. You can lose the money you have earned with so much effort.
For Times Media Mexico / The Yucatan Times
Antonio González Chacón
Mérida Yucatan, México
Facebook – @antoniogonzalezrealtor
Antonio González Chacón is a real estate broker and developer with 30 years in the industry. He has a law degree from the University of Yucatan and a postgraduate degree from Iowa State University. He has been president of the Mexican Association of Real Estate Professionals (AMPI) in Yucatan on five occasions and a National Advisor for AMPI. In addition, he was certified in the United States as an International Property Specialist. Mr. Gonzalez leads a multi-disciplinary team of professionals, including legal counselors, taxation consultants, zoning and land use attorneys, architects, interior designers, engineers, sales and marketing specialists, construction companies, and other experts.
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