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Land Scams: How to keep yourself apart
Whenever any buyer invests in land he has different questions in mind: whether I will my title cleared? Is this land disputed? Am I being a part of any fraudulent activity? and others...
There have been London Land Scams, Kent Land Scams and Sussex Land Scams in the past but land scams are no more common than other types of real estate fraud. Where there is money to be made fleecing the greedy, the ignorant, or the just plain lazy, con men are sure to follow.
This isn't what is commonly meant by land fraud. Here are some real examples:
- Selling worthless land, in other words land without development potential, and claiming it has great value, the classic being land underwater but also land on the sides of cliff faces, under bridge abutments, and in the medians of highways.
- Promising land buyers development amenities like golf courses, community centers, and tennis courts that will never be built.
- Promising land buyers subdivision improvements like sewers, street lights, sidewalks, even roads knowing none will ever be built.
- Making false representations to buyers about the value of their land, especially claiming that lots bought today will skyrocket in value.
- Vague descriptions on deeds which allow the land promoter to sell the same land to multiple buyers at the same time.
- Illegal or unapproved subdivisions, especially where land has not been properly platted and permits granted.
- Selling land where clear title cannot be transferred, for example, selling land you don't own and masquerading as the real owner through the use of forged documents and fake IDs.
- Reserving mineral, water, and other land rights without disclosing this important fact to buyers at the time of sale.
- Using high pressure and unscrupulous tactics to sell land, especially misrepresenting a buyer's legal rights to cancel an agreed upon sale.
- Selling land of marginal value for excessive prices, especially through the use of easy credit terms ( down, a month).
- Selling land where defects such as environmental contamination are known but not disclosed or failing to tell buyers material facts which would ultimately diminish the sale price of the land.
About the Author: The author is a Land Expert based in the UK.