I purchased a supposed bargain ocean front property in the Cayman islands from the UK company CrownWorld through their agent Optima investment group last year. I am a new investor working in Myanmar and not very experienced with real estate - I was looking to start off with a low risk investment that would give a slow and steady return over the next few years.
I was told before sale that this was a fantastic short term investment with a great resale potential and that I had received it at a "discounted rate" from USD 248k down to USD198k. A killer deal. It included building plans and surveying as well as covering the expenses for getting building permission. Also a payment plan for 5 years. Sounded awesome.
Only problem is that I have just found out a year later that the property's book value is only USD 68k on a formal valuation that I've arranged myself, that the resale market on the island I bought on is completely dead and has been so for years - and that my property had been on the market for around USD 100k USD for 10 years with no buyer at all (Obviously this value excludes the "building plan" and payment plan).
And just a quick search online showed way better properties for less than half of what I bought mine for. I've been an utter fool.
I confronted them on it and the transition from smooth salesman to hostile aggressor was dramatic. They recorded my phonecalls, Paul Halsall swore at me on the phone and threatened to sue me for I don't know what. They say the price increase was perfectly appropriate because of the building package but according to the valuators this adds minimally to property value in the Caymans in any case.
Since then I have met a number of other people in exactly the same situation with the company - some have lost a huge chunk of their retirement money on these "wonderful investments." I've cancelled my contract and counted my losses. Rather than go through the stress of a legal battle.
All I can say is one thing: STAY AWAY FROM CROWNWORLD! And Optima Investment group too!