Scams to avoid when buying property in Cambodia PART 1

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Sometimes a buyer with the hard title is involved in the scam, but that is not always the case. KT/SOPHARY

Despite the huge growth in the Cambodian real estate industry, there are still many operators that are conducting real estate scams for a quick profit. Here is a list of the most common scams in the market, compiled by Realestate.com.kh.
If you ever think you might be getting scammed, immediately seek professional legal advice. 
 
The Double Title Scam:

 
Properties in Cambodia come with soft titles and hard titles. Sometimes a property may have both. This scam involves an owner selling the house to two buyers. One buyer gets the soft title and the other gets the hard title. The person with the soft title loses the house because soft titles are only recognized by the local government, while a hard title is recognized at a national level. There have also been cases of multiple titles being issued or forged, as well as instances of sellers selling the same property to multiple people. Sometimes the buyer with the hard title is involved in the scam, but that is not always the case.
 
You can avoid this scenario by making an inquiry with the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction as well as the local government office managing property registration. Get a copy of the title from the seller and check it against official records.
 
Another precaution is to check whether the neighbors have hard titles. If they do, this means that the government has already titled the area. 
 
Buying a soft title in a place where most neighbors have hard titles is not advisable.
 
Hidden Land Disputes:
 
This scam involves a property standing on a land with an ongoing dispute. Talking to neighbors usually reveals this issue but you should also conduct a title search through a commune council official or the Ministry of Land just to be on the safe side. A professional real estate agent will do this on your behalf, or a lawyer with experience in property transactions.
 
Deposit Disappearance Act:
 
This scam is done by a fake owner. A buyer is asked to pay a deposit to secure the property and the seller then disappears after receiving the money. You may opt to pass the deposit through a reliable third party or an intermediary escrow bank account until everything is settled to protect yourself from this.
 
Check out part 2 on other scams to avoid next Wednesday in the Khmer Times property section.  
 
Want to learn more about how you can make money by investing in real estate wisely? Get on Realestate.com.kh today, the best source of information for property buyers & sellers in Cambodia.  

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