Avoiding Scams with a certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist

By Al Freeland, SRES Realtor

People are living longer and want to remain relevant, work and stay productive past the traditional 60-something retirement age. But making that a reality may require a cultural shift. It entails rethinking and redesigning things like homes, the infrastructure and the economy to support people who are living an average of 20 years longer than what those systems were designed for when they were built. When you do finally decide to retire and perhaps move to a retirement community, you must beware! An example is a recent Belize Retirement Real Estate Fraud. Scam artists often are very good at their trade. That may explain how a scammer promoting property in Belize to future retirees was able to bilk people to the tune of $100 million before getting caught.

The development was known as Sanctuary Belize, Sanctuary Bay, and The Reserve, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The advertising, including commercials on Fox News and Bloomberg News, seemed legitimate. Maps and aerial photography, an infomercial, a video sales brochure and a webinar were among the other promotional materials used to make the development seem legitimate. Sanctuary Belize also was featured on an episode of House Hunters on HGTV. According to the Wall Street Journal, the developers were promoting jungle land that they planned to transform into a luxury resort community. Prospective buyers were told that amenities, including a hospital staffed with American doctors and a championship golf course, would help to double or triple the development’s property values in two or three years. Beware. As with every investment, it’s best to do thorough research before parting with your money.

For retirement advice on downsizing, decluttering, making choices of where to go and for help with selling your current residence, you can trust a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) to guide and assist you with the process.

Al Freeland, Realtor and SRES with Edina Realty, can be reached at sonjandalanfreeland@edinarealty.com
or 952-486-1451.

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