We have been looking for property to buy in Peru since November of 2008.
On one of our visits to the beach in Mancora, we had inquired at the guest house where we were staying if there were any tennis courts available for us to play on. They had looked around the area and had found one that was located at Tenis y Playa. This was a resort location in Vichayito, a few miles south of Mancora, but closed down two years ago. The property was now used as a private residence and not open to the public. It was, however, for sale.
So, after our vacation, we investigated this property via the internet. Everything we saw was so beautiful and well put together. We weren't necessarily looking for a resort, but this was a turn-key opportunity at what seemed like a very reasonable price. We then contacted the owner and were invited to spend a weekend there. This spot was like an oasis in the desert that is the coast of Peru complete with swimming pool and fountain, tennis court and beautiful gardens. We were treated like royalty and introduced to people from all over the world. These people from Italy, Germany, Ireland, England, Canada, Australia and elsewhere had bought property and built homes close by.
After returning home, we decided to pursue this opportunity and asked a good friend to investigate the papers filed at the Public Registry for this property. We soon found out that the owner had built his resort on land that he didn't own. He was involved in legal disputes over the ownership of the land. In Peru, if you have possession of a piece of land for ten years, it is then considered yours. I think the owner built his resort hoping that no one would object and then after the ten years, it would be his. If we were to buy this property, we would inherit all of his legal problems. We decided to look elsewhere.
We returned to Peru in April of 2009 specifically to look for other properties for sale. We asked our friend, Luis to join us as we didn't think my Spanish was good enough to navigate all the inquiries. We looked at several pieces of property. Some were not as advertised and the papers didn't coincide with what we were shown. Some just weren't very desirable. Several were very beautiful spots on the beach, but sandwiched between other resorts, very expensive and not very private. Most of these properties were asking $100 per square meter. Definitely high end properties.
We did however visit a piece of property approximately 20 kilometers south of Mancora that was quite promising. This area was undeveloped except for the home of the owner. It sits up off the beach with a spectacular view. To the north (approximately 2 miles) is the fishing village of Nuro and to the south (another few miles) a desalination plant. Georg, the owner of the land, had leveled off six different building sites and was selling them for $30 a square meter. In retrospect, this property is far more suited to us. We like our privacy. We don't like to be in the middle of things. This was the property we decided to investigate.
We met with the owner of the property. He is an engineer from Germany, now living in Peru with his wife Natalie. He gave us copies of the papers for the property so that we could investigate the statis of this land. Our friend Luis sent copies of the papers to friends of his that worked in the Public Registry. They investigated the ownership papers and even sent out a surveyor to get clarification of some information not made clear in the papers. In the end, all the papers were in order, the taxes had been paid, and there would be no problem in our purchasing the property.
Now that we know we can purchase the property, we are ready to move ahead and actually make the sale happen. We are planning a trip to Mancora so that we can meet face to face with the owner, negotiate a final price, and start the legal procedings to actually purchase the land.
We met with our financial investment counselor today, and have the go ahead for financing the deal. We do have two pieces of real estate for sale that will cover all of our expenses; but when those transactions will actually take place no one knows.