As the title says: "Beware". There are a number of scams regarding land for sale here in Cartagena that I'd like to share with you. The items mentioned in this post are only of concern to those of you who are considering buying a patch of land and building on it. If you fit into this category then please read carefully.

PROBLEM NUMBER 1 - Escritura de Posesion
If you are looking at a piece of coastal real estate, more than lightly you will be purchasing directly from one of the locals. While not every black fisherman is dishonest (I live with these people and have several wonderful friends) there are ALL poor would would love to make some money to live on and as a result often resort to unorthadox ways of doing it. In Cartagena, as I believe is true in the rest of Colombia also, if you have documented proof that you have lived on a piece of land for 20 years or more you then have legal possession rights to that land, but this does not mean that you have owners rights (propriedad) to that land. Therefore, if you purchase land from a local with a escritura de posesion you will not be the lawful OWNER of the land. You will have to go through the process of legalising your purchase afterwards. Whilst this will greatly increase the value of your purchase, it takes approximately 14 months and costs 10% of the value of your land (legal fees) plus a host of other fees. I will go over this in detail in a later post.

This is something that you should ALWAYS be very careful about. The minuta has even less value that the escritura de posesion, which is at least written up by a public notary. The minuta is just a simple piece of paper saying that Mr or Mrs so-and-so has possession of a given piece of land. You will have great problems verifying this and it is possible that the "owner" has already sold this piece of land to one or more other purchasers - believe me this has happened on many occasions so beware.

PROBLEM NUMBER 3 - Maritime Law
In summary, there is a law that states that no property can be built on coastal land that is closer than 50 or 60 meters (I can't remember the exact distance) from the highest tide. Looking at many of the properties in this area would never believe that such a law exists, but it does and word has it that this law will soon be enforced. Recently a condo complex was stopped in Santa Marta beause it didn't respect this law.

So, there you have it, while building you vacation home can be a wonderful and rewarding experience, please be careful when making a purchase. Always use a reputable lawer to carry out what they call a "studio" on the real estate you


Absolutley nothing to do with real estate or vacation rentals, but I just wanted to share an experience with you.
The other evening it was liberation day here in Colombia, this means party, rumba and a great time to be had in almost every city and town across the nation. Well, after a wonderfull afternoon spent at a friends beach cabin drinking wine, eating far too much food and enjoying a conversation that covered everything from investments to Micheal Jackson my wife and I set off for the walled city here in Cartagena. What we saw along the route was something we never expected to see in a thousand years!!
I'm not sure if any of our readers are familiar with Cartagena, Colombia. Well, the airport's runway ends right at the ocean's coast line, the only division between the runway and the beach is the road from Cartagena to Baranquilla. Well, as fate would have it that evening, an Isreali jet (Colombia purchased five of them) for some reason wasn't able to take-off and blew it's way through the boundery fence, across the road and burst into flames on the beach!!
We arrived about 10 minutes after the accident, foam and god knows what else all over the place, heaps of colombian police and military already there trying to organise an almost unorganizable situation. Luck had it (for us at least) that we were using our motor scooter that evening and we were able, not without difficulty, to pass the wreckage and finally get to our destination: the old walled city of Cartagena.
We watched a fantastic firework display from one of the old balconies of the recently opened Hard Rock Cafe whilst eating a huge plate of wonderful nachos. What an evening. I never did her what happened to the pilot, but the cockpit looked ok.


    Nicholas Webb is one of the partners of Balin Ltda a Colombian company dealing in "direct" real estate investments. Balin currently owns real estate (properties and land) in Bogotá and Cartagena. We love it here and wouldn't change, but foreigners do need to tread lightly before throwing money around buying land or property. We hope to offer a little help.


    August 2009
    July 2009
    June 2009


    Cartagena Real Estate
    Holiday Homes
    Rental Property
    Vacation Homes