TheMoveChannel.com's Property Inspector: Taking a closer look at global real estate each month.
This month, TheMoveChannel.com's Property Inspector investigates property scams. Scams have evolved in recent years thanks to the internet. As tourists are tricked into renting houses that aren't on the market and unfinished resorts fail to deliver on fraudulent promises, how can you spot the unlucky developers from the dodgy dealers?
TheMoveChannel.com's Property Inspector interrogates Neil Heaney, CEO of investment recovery specialists Judicare Group, about how buyers lose money overseas.
Does the internet mean that people are more open to scammers abroad?
"The internet has a big part to play. Many investors don't visit the property - it's just a numbers game for them. Most clients in the UK would never countenance buying a property in the UK without doing research in advance."
With the number of projects left unfinished because of the economic climate, is hard to tell the difference between an unlucky development and a dodgy developer?
"The difference centres on the intention of the developer at the time of purchase. Certainly the criminal ones involve the developers at the time not owning the land or not having sufficient funding in place when taking deposits, but with an intention from the beginning to defraud the client out of their money."
Is there a particular country that's more susceptible to scams?
"Regrettably, no. We currently have cases in about 15 different territories. It's wherever clients have been looking to invest that these fraudsters can occur. There's no particular jurisdiction."
What can people do to avoid being taken in by a scam?
"Part of the problem with people who find themselves in these situations is that they didn't seek independent legal advice and relied upon the lawyers given to them by the selling agent. The lawyers are not acting in the client's best interests."
"The most important thing is that people need to step back and do what they do in the UK and make sure that everything is in order. Then, the next day, if everything appears in order, they should go ahead and purchase."
Listen to the full investigation here:
Notes to Editors
Founded in 1999, TheMoveChannel.com is the leading independent website for international property, with than 400,000 listings in over 100 countries around the world, marketed on behalf of agents, developers and private owners.
The website address is http://www.TheMoveChannel.com and the office address is 45 Lafone Street, Shad Thames, London, SE1 2LX.
Contact Dan Johnson on 0207 952 7650 for further information.