Scam Alert for Spanish Real Estate

  • 17 years ago
  • Uncategorized
Buying and selling a property in Spain can make you vulnerable to scams especially when selling a property in a market that has an over supply of homes for sale. Sellers can be tempted by a buyer with cash in their pockets whilst investors hungry for a bargain can be attracted to off plan property that is not all what it seems.
Mark Stucklin, MBA of the Spanish property advice website explains in his latest article in the Sunday Times online that desperate Spanish property sellers make soft targets for scams. He explains that there are swindles at the moment that take advantage of the fact that under-the-table cash payments are still a regular feature of Spanish property transactions.
 Ian Ainsworth, 37, from Bolton, but now living in Sanlucar de Barrameda, on the Costa de la Luz, has been contacted three times about a family property in Sotogrande, near Gibraltar, that he is selling.
“Once it was a Nigerian calling me on a French mobile, but recently it was someone from North Africa on an Italian mobile,” he says. “They often want to buy without viewing, which is an obvious sign of trouble, and they always ask if you are willing to accept a large amount in cash. Last time, I played along with it for a while, until they told me I had to go to Monaco at my own expense.”
So how do these property buyers get their cash? Mark Strucklin explains that those selling a property may wish to avoid tax or seemingly help buyers avoid tax by accepting deposits in hard cash. Deposits arrive in 500 Euro notes which you guessed it turn out to be counterfeit. The con revolves around the common practice of declaring to the authorities’ only part of the sale price and paying the rest in cash. Normally, this extra payment, known as “B” money, is paid in the notary’s office where the sale documents are signed – after the official has left the room.
How many people would notice that they were being paid with counterfeit 500 Euro notes? Many people have never seen one and what good would it do? By then, the deeds would already have been signed, and calling the police would not be an option – the victim would have broken the law.
Spanish property investors can also fall victim to bogus property developers offering property for sale off plan. Avoiding this sort of scam can be made simple with the launch of the International Developers Information Pack or IDIP.  For the first time ever overseas property investors will have the ability to make a truly informed decision before they invest in an off plan property. An IDIP gives the buyer a full independent report carried out by a top legal firm that will check any property developer’s credentials and references and enquire about the development itself.
Nicholas Marr CEO of overseas property portal ‘ When it comes to buying and selling overseas property greed has to be removed from the equation , spending time and money researching a property developer or saying no to the under the table cash deal closes the door to becoming a victim of a property scam’
Real Estate Agents can also help protect themselves by joining The Agents IDIP Federation where all the properties they promote have undergone full due diligence.
Learn more here
Property Developers can also reassure the public by undergoing a legal health check and becoming a member of the  Developers IDIP Federation
Learn more here

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