How to avoid real estate fraud in Mexico

Experts warn that when buying a home, as well as types of real estate transactions, there are risks of being victims of real estate fraud, so it is important to take into account some basic aspects to avoid falling into the hands of criminals.

Fernando Rodríguez Bustamante, president of the Zona Poniente Real Estate Group (GIZP), stressed that the purchase of a home is a very important and delicate operation, due to all that it involves. He said, it cannot be taken lightly, and it is important to consider a series of provisions to prevent the decision from becoming a nightmare.

“We must create awareness in the buying party to minimize the risk elements that a decision like this may have. This decision can be a dream or it can be a nightmare if you do not take it seriously and leave it in the hands of those who aren’t equipped to help the buyer, or if you are not aware of the steps to take to protect yourself,” he said.

As a first element, Rodríguez Bustamante pointed out that it is important to have the accompaniment of a real estate professional. He stressed that in this case, families must ensure that those who will support them in the operation are knowledgeable about the issue. To avoid real estate fraud, he said, it is advisable to look for advisers who are part of an association or franchise, as this will guarantee that you will have the help of a professional.

“It is important that the real estate consultant who helps them works in a franchise, or if he is independent that he is part of an association. And this is important because precisely we, the associations, have as our goal the professionalization of the union. The fact that an advisor is in an association will give you a guarantee that that person is qualified to carry out a sale and purchase and give you the correct advice on this important decision ”.

As a second point, the expert stressed that it is important to know both the legal and physical situation of the property.

In relation to the legal aspect, he said, one important element is to know the deed that protects the property. This document will allow attesting to the characteristics of the property, as well as to check that whoever is looking to sell the property is the owner.

“We have to demand these types of documents to make the decision. With the deed, the first thing we are going to verify is the name of the owner, with whom we are dealing. Regularly our relationship is exclusive with the advisor. But since we intend to acquire the home, it is necessary to meet the owner and even ask for identification. It is also necessary to verify that the address that appears in the deed coincides with the physical location of the property”.

Within the deed, he added, it is also important to verify the registration data. Bustamante explained that before making any deal, it will be important to verify that the home is correctly registered in the public registry and that it has no debts or is mortgaged.

“It is relevant that we take these types of precautions. Research in the public registry can be done by the real estate advisor, there are even many managers who can do it for you for very reasonable prices. You can even get this type of data through the Internet from the public property registry page”.

Fernando Rodríguez commented that in addition to the deed, an important document to take into account is the property ballot. In this document, he explained, data such as the square meters of the property must be verified. Specifically, it matches what comes in writing.

“The buyer doesn’t need to master the process, but the objective is to create awareness with the buyer, regardless of the good work done by the agent, this gives the buyer peace of mind that things are being done well and that we are buying a good property and that tomorrow we will not be involved in a legal process ”.

On the other hand, Dr. David Figueroa Márquez, 57th Notary Public of Mexico City and president of the American Affairs Commission of the International Union of Notaries, stressed that for a real estate transaction to be legal, it must be carried out before a notary.

“It doesn’t matter what the type of the property is, you finally have to get to a notary. In the legal system, notaries are responsible for ensuring that the security in the acquisition of property is guaranteed. For this reason, we are careful to review the documentation that is required to give assurance to the acquirers.”

Figueroa Márquez pointed out that to guarantee that it is not a real estate fraud, the first step is to verify that whoever claims to be the owner of the property has a public deed duly registered in the public property registry. This document, he said, is essential to know that the property does not have any limitation of domain or encumbrance that may affect the operation.

In that order, he said, it will be important, in addition to validating the identity of the person presumed to be the owner, to know their marital status. This, he pointed out, to define if he has the power to sell the property or the consent of the spouse will be needed.

The notary added that an important element to take into account is to know how the owner of the house acquired the property themselves.

“We have to know how they bought the property; know if they become the owner as a result of an inheritance. In that case, it will have to be reviewed because it may affect the amount of taxes payable. Remember that in any sale and purchase transaction there are always taxes to cover. But it is important to review how the owner acquired the property because that is directly associated with the amount of taxes that may be due in the sale”.

The notary stressed that it is very important to verify that the home is free of debts. For example, he said, in addition to verifying that the property is up to date in the payment such as property taxes, electricity, water, condo maintenance fees, the seller must present the letter granted by the administrator of building or subdivision, in which it validates that it is up to date in the payment of maintenance fees.

“The condominium property is not only the house where you live, it is the general context where the house or apartment is located. If the condominium owner sells the apartment and the buyer wants it and does not have the certificate of the condominium, he is assuming the debts that the seller had. Therefore, it is important to know that when a property is sold that is subject to the condominium property fees, it must have the certificate issued by the administrator ”.

The notary called on all those who seek to acquire a home to seek advice from specialists and avoid real estate fraud. In the specific case of the support of notaries, he indicated that they are open to give advice and help in the review of documents, all with the aim of guaranteeing, even before officially reaching the deed process, that the purchase can come to fruition.

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