Accommodation in Mexico: scams you should look out for

Hi,

Committing to renting or buying accommodation when you’re new to or have not moved to Mexico just yet is always a stressful endeavour. Would you like to help us in putting together a handbook of what to look out for when house hunting in Mexico?

What are the most common scams in Mexico?

What are the red flags to look out for when scanning through adverts?

Is there a list of registered or accredited landlords or real estate agencies in Mexico?

What authorities should be sought should one come across an accommodation scam?

Please share your experience,

Bhavna

This may sound like I'm a little paranoid, and this goes for anywhere, not just Mexico. But if the landlord is asking for cash, I almost want proof that they are the actual property owner and not just a former tenant who still has keys to a now vacant appartment trying to con you out of your money (first month's rent amount plus any other deposit fees etc...). If the way you find out about the accommodation or anything about the "landlord" seems sketchy, it may be a red flag!

good advice; buyer (or renter) beware!

Please know that there is no licensure for Realtors, home managers, or rental agencies!  The legal system needs to be avoided due to corruption and years of delays and graft.  Choose an agent based on firm credible recommendations.  Get face to face references.  Do nothing without signed receipts, and spend a little money on a reputable legal review before you sign.  Never ever turn over a cash or checking account to any agent. Pay only based on invoices or facturas!

Excellent advice,,, to be applied worldwide.

I, fortunately, have not had major problems, but then we did a lot of research and got references.

What I can say is that you should expect that the owner will try to make the property sound like a palace. We saw several places that were clearly nothing like a palace. Some were not even sound properties. We ultimately did use a real estate agent who was actually a British expat.

As others have said, make sure you have everything spelled out in a contract. What is covered by you and what is covered by them?  If you do not have someone to guide you I would suggest contacting the council, or embassy of your country for a lawyer referral. Most notaries are also lawyers. The owner will check your references and while they are doing that you can check theirs. Get receipts for everything. Notarized has a lot more punch.

Do not fall for the stranger bystander who tends to just volunteer their opinion or assurances. I have encountered those a couple of times. If you are obviously not a native they "translate" for you. After I made it crystal clear that I spoke Spanish they backed off. They didn't actually speak English fluently.  They tend to pop up when you are paying a taxi, were hit by another car, or thinking of buying something. This apparently works with tourists. Paying higher prices works with tourists also.  Do yourself a favor and learn Spanish.

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