Photo: Real Estate Market

In recent years, real estate fraud has become more and more frequent through the internet and social networks such as Facebook and even formal sales websites such as Mercado Libre. Yucatán, where investment properties are offered, and states such as Hidalgo, Puebla, Durango, San Luis Potosí, Morelos, and Estado de Mexico, are the places where this type of scam is most common.

In the case of the so-called Yucatan investment properties, which are also sold online, they are prone to fraud. Local and federal authorities have warned of the risk of acquiring one of these lands.

Most Yucatan investment properties postings follow a similar pattern. A real estate company announces the sale of these spaces as an investment opportunity and assures that the value of the land will increase in a few years.

In other words, the developer companies sell the idea that the land and the property built on it will increase in cost, due to real estate speculation and tourism projects that are underway in the Mexican Caribbean, such as the Tren Maya.

However, the Board of Directors of the Mexican Association of Real Estate Professionals (AMPI) Mérida Chapter alert potential buyers that many of these lands lack legal certainty and are not contemplated in future development plans.

In 2022, Rogerio Castro Vásquez, general director of the Institute of the National Housing Fund for Workers (Infonavit), declared to the media that the investment lots in Yucatán are potential frauds and that they are working to implement measures that help avoid workers fall into them.

Despite the warnings, the companies that are dedicated to the sale of these lands maintain their work rhythm, since the majority operate out of state.

Likewise, the Mérida Sustainable Mobility Observatory warns that many of these lands are not in optimal areas for urban development, in some there are not even conditions to install electrical, telephone, drainage, or water services in the short or medium term.

Every year, the media reports dozens of cases of people who fall victims of a scam with land purchased at low prices or in terms of monthly payments. Also, in the case of investment lots, there are testimonials from people who acquire an alleged property that they are not even allowed to see physically.

The illegal sale of land and scams related to that action is prosecuted as specific fraud. Because most of these hoaxes start with posts on social media and not before public notaries, as they should be, it’s hard to prosecute.

One of the most controversial cases of 2023 occurred between January and July. A woman identified as Norma Elizabeth “N” illegally sold 40 pieces of land in Durango, of which she was not even the owner.

The people who entrusted him with their money with the promise of acquiring one of those cheap plots of land lost their entire investment and took the Durango authorities half a year to issue an arrest warrant against Norma Elizabeth “N” for the specific crime of fraud.

In states that surround Mexico City, such as Puebla, the State of Mexico, Morelos, and Hidalgo, lots of land is sold for monthly payments.

From 2018 to date, authorities in these states have warned buyers to verify the legality of these lands so as not to fall into fraud. Going to a notary public or an expert real estate lawyer is the best option.

TYT Newsroom

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