How the scam works:
Purchasing real estate in a foreign country can be a tricky prospect, as real estate transaction laws can vary widely from country to country.
Purchasing real estate in a foreign country under a corporate umbrella only adds to the complexity of an already complex situation. There is a scam circulating involving the purchase of corporate-owned real estate in the South American country of Chile.
If your company has decided to purchase real estate in Chile and the seller claims that real estate can be transferred as a private deed, private contract, private agreement, corporate share swaps or any other similarly worded transfer type, be aware that this is not correct information.
All contracts for Chilean real estate must be public deeds; there is NO exception to this rule. What this means is that a Chilean Notary and Regional Registry must be used for the transaction to be legitimate.
How to avoid:
The first thing to do, if you decide to purchase real estate in Chile under a corporate umbrella, is hire a Chilean real estate attorney. There are too many unforeseeable complications in purchasing real estate in any country, and the added layer of paperwork when corporate purchases are involved only makes it that much more difficult. A Chilean real estate attorney will understand all the complex laws and regulations and will be able to guide you through the process fairly easily.
Also be aware that, regardless of the country in which you are considering purchasing real estate, making that purchase as a private citizen is much simpler than purchasing under a corporate umbrella. There are far fewer regulations that must be navigated and decoded, making the process quicker and easier. Unless you have a very compelling reason, such as a massive tax break, think twice before purchasing foreign real estate as part of a corporation.
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