Saturday, October 17, 2009
In the past few weeks as Tip #1, Tip#2 and Tip#3 of her “Twelve Things you Need to Know to Do…and Then Do” series, Margaret strongly recommended you engage your own independent legal advice, she told you how important it is to buy the right title insurance, and last week she highlighted items to look out for in your sale contract.
This week she tells you that you need to be sure you know exactly what you are buying, that it is actually owned by the person claiming to be the vendor and that there are no nasty surprises. A nasty surprise might be a lien, a right of way or maybe that you just have the right to use the land but DON’T own it.
Over to Margaret…
Step #4: Check the Title Deed Your attorney will check the title chain in the registry. In some countries the registry is online, while in others it is a case of leafing through physical documents. Sometimes your attorney will need to use a notary public to check the documents. From that title check, your attorney should be able to tell you:
-The current registered owner and value of the property
-The property boundaries
-Previous sales, transactions and transfers
-Whether there are any liens or mortgages or taxes outstanding on the property
-If there are any annotations such as rights of way, etc.
Make sure that your seller is the legal property owner.
Check if your title is registered or possessory. In some countries, they can seem similar. You can live in a Rights of Possession property, record your claim to it, and you can sell it. There is a difference, however. Registered title means you own the land. Possession means you have the right to occupy the property, until someone with a better claim to it turns up. You cannot get mortgage financing on a possessory property, either.
Check the title chain. If it includes a co-operativa or confiscation, or was formerly ejido land, your attorney will have to do extra checks to make sure that the title is clear, and all transfers were done correctly.
Beachfront and border properties should be checked carefully. Most overseas countries have a section of the beach related to the high-water mark ,where you cannot legally own a property. Foreign buyers are usually not allowed to own property that borders a neighboring country, either. The distances for these zones are not standardized, but vary from country to country.In some countries, particularly in Asia, foreigners cannot legally own property outright. There can be ways round this…but ask your attorney to investigate thoroughly.”
Don’t think that your due diligence process is just boring paperwork. I always recommend that you visit before you buy. This is a central part of your due diligence. It’s also fun. This is where Pathfinder Chill Weekends come in.
A Chill Weekend is nothing more than an opportunity to enjoy a short vacation in exchange for allowing a developer the opportunity to showcase a property or development he is promoting.
No strings, no high-pressure sales tactics, no hard sell, just a chance to investigate some real estate opportunities (and check out the beach, of course!). Best of all: the developers pick up some of the tab.
Next month, our friends in Belize and Costa Rica’s Southern Zone will host Chill Weekends.
November 6th-8th: Orchid Bay, in Belize, will host a three-day escape to their tropical paradise. All you have to do is book a return flight to Belize City and the guys from Orchid Bay will pick you up from the airport and provide all of your tour-related transportation, meals, and accommodation for just $299. That price includes a tour of Mayan ruins, and a Hawaiian-style pig roast on the beach. A $10,000 discount will be available on casitas, bringing the price for these little homes down to $149,000. Lots start at $39,000. Get a full itinerary and information pack here.
November 6th-9th: Costa Rica’s Southern Zone
Dramatic landscapes, lush, green mountains, dense jungles, and one of Costa Rica’s top beaches can be found in the Southern Zone. Prices here have stayed low for one reason. It’s been difficult to get to. That’s set to change. A new international airport is on its way and the coastal highway is nearly complete. Yet, you can still buy a lot here in a quality high-end community for $40,000. Get a full itinerary and information pack here.
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