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The Russians are Coming!

Monday, August 26th, 2013   10:54 am |  Category:   Retirement locations   |   Add Comment  
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Initially, great interest is shown in a particular property, which is nearly always one of high value. Usually there are several visits, as well as friendly attempts to get to know more about the seller. The unsuspecting seller agrees a purchase price, a deposit is paid and a date with the notary arranged. It is at the notary stage, when the attitudes of the purchaser suddenly change for the worst. The buyers, who previously appeared happy and content with the proposed deal, now suddenly find many problems with their intended purchase, including unforeseen planning and building issues, documentary and legal errors to which the seller is completely unaware until the moment of signing in the notary’s office. In all cases, the prospective purchasers have insisted upon a massive reduction in the agreed purchase price before they will complete the sale. In one case that has been reported to me, the final reduction was in excess of 50,000 euros before the sale was finally and reluctantly agreed. Sadly, in all the cases reported to me, the would-be purchasers were Russian.


Some may call this good business practice, as it is the responsibility of the seller to be fully aware of the facts before the completion of the sale. Personally, I see it as sharp practice at best, and fraudulent at worst. Sellers are at their weakest position at this point in the sale, and the well-prepared buyer, with less than generous intentions, knows it. Many sellers are selling their properties because they are in financial difficulties, and wish to sell their home and move back to the UK, whilst others are trying to complete the purchase of another property to which they are already financially committed. Sellers are also at a considerable disadvantage because of language issues, and the legal ‘slickness’ of the purchasers’ lawyers. I also wonder about the impartiality of notaries in such circumstances; they should have the power to intervene and review such transactions, but it appears that they do not.


It seems that all is not well on the current Russian front, and I suspect that the few accounts that have been reported to me are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’.



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