South-of-the-border real estate investments: beware

The Editor

The Real Estate Section

The San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco, CA


To the Editor:

Your recent front-page story, "South-of-the-border sales pitch" (The Chronicle, February 8) had an amazingly cavalier attitude towards investing one's monies in Mexican real estate properties. I would suggest that one be both fluent in Spanish and have a thorough understanding of the Mexican legal system, which is based upon the Spanish inquisitorial model, in which the defendant is presumed guilty until proven innocent, before making any investments "south-of-the-border." Only a few years ago, hundreds of Americans lost their entire investments in their houses located in Baja, Mexico on some very obscure (and most probably very corrupt) interpretation of Mexican property laws.

On top of all that, I would warn potential investors in Mexican real estate that the long-lasting and deeply-rooted political corruption that grew under the seventy-to-eighty year continuous reign of the ruling PRI political party until a couple of years ago has hardly be completely eliminated. Political reporters are still being murdered in Mexico for daring to report the truth about corruption in high places. Also, Uncle Sam cannot and will not bail you out of any possible legal problems or bad investments that your make in Mexico.




Yours truly,


James K. Sayre

8 February 2004