Real Estate Scams in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is full of scams of all kinds. They are a normal part of doing business down here. They succeed because Gringos are so naive.
Let me give you an example I know about personally. A Real Estate developer (often a Gringo and his local side-kick and lawyer) buy an option to buy some scenic property. He divides it into lots, and sells the lots – promising to provide a clear title and the utilities later. The developer is so convincing the buyer trusts him, and does not look into the deal (all in Spanish, of course) too carefully.
If he sells enough lots, he may bring in the utilities (which can be an expensive business involving bribes) so he can sell more lots. Or he may buy the property and provide a clear title to the lots already sold (and those he still hopes to sell). Or he may do nothing, and just pocket the money, knowing that the courts take forever, and everything is tied up in interlocking corporations.
There are many variations on this – but they all screw the Gringo buyers. who often just give up and leave their money on the table, knowing they will never get it back.