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anybody looked into mina casa?

Discussion in 'Brazil Property' started by globalinvestor, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. lagarto

    lagarto New Member

    Did I ask for money ? I clearly suggested an ideal investment opportunity with a company paying more than average dividends. All projects are individual and funding is the key to successful future projects, as I am sure you understand.
    Land prices are increasing at an alarming rate and keeps millions RS tied up until project and approvals are obtained.... profits run high but so does cashflow in the early stages and land runs at between 5 and 20 million for each project we do in this category.
    I will be in Natal between Dec 1st and 6th so maybe we could meet in a productive manner.
    Our investor will be with us and is looking to invest in your area too...of which I have little experience...i'm just a tourist in Natal although I have visited more than 50 times in the last 10 years or so...
  2. JMBroad

    JMBroad New Member

    I'm sure you'll be very pleasantly surprised with the state. As a developer here, I can assure you that here in Rio Grande do Norte no MCMV land costs anywhere near 5 to 20 million, especially not 0-3 and even the most expensive ones in the best locations wouldn't justify an initial capital outlay of anywhere near that much. 90% of what we do is MCMV and we currently have 1700 units under construction and another 350 starting construction within the next 4 months.

    Natal 1 to 6 of December - bear in mind that Carnatal is on during those dates (2nd to the 5th) and this year we are celebrating 20 years of Carnatal. As it's the largest off-season Carnival celebrations in Brasil, everything goes a bit wild and just about everything shuts down (with regards to work anyway - parties can be pretty intense).

    Enjoy your visit and enjoy Carnatal!

    P.S. I'm talking BRL not Euros or Pounds of course
  3. theadebo

    theadebo New Member

    Nice use of smoke and mirrors Kevin. As you and Jamie only met 3-4 years ago, how can your company have history going back to 1992? Wasn't Jamie (your business partner) still in school then? Or do you mean that you've been in Brasil since 1992 ergo this startup venture has history associated with your experience but in itself has none; no track record, no completed projects etc. etc?
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2010
  4. globalinvestor

    globalinvestor New Member

    does anybody have any mina casa mina vida in fortaleza?
  5. lagarto

    lagarto New Member

    I have been in Brazil as you well know since 1999 and Jamie and I met over 7 years ago. The company we bought out in our joint venture joined the group of established companies actively as an Incorporation and has history since 1992 and is now Gericada as previously stated. I know you are not actually aware of the meaning to this as your beachfront project failed after I secured 60% of the sales for you. I am truly sorry that it didn't go according to plan ( which had no involvement from me) because as you know ...your mother had asked me to sort things out for you, while you were having fun in Brazil and kite surfing..... anyway ...I don't need mirrors my friend.... by the are you getting on as a garcon in the local restaurant in cumbuco ?
  6. Stephen Naish

    Stephen Naish New Member


    Seems to have gone off message here - I am managing several MCMV projects here in Paraiba, but margins are tight, land prices and construction costs are higher here than in Ceara and Rio Grande do Norte.

    My view is that this is not an investment for small investors unless they are confident in the project managers they are working with.

    On the small deals there is not "enough meat on the bone" to feed everyone in MCMV.

    Larger deals yes, but hard to find companies to work with that will deliver.
  7. WeBuyTX

    WeBuyTX New Member

    Is anyone familiary with: MANHA EMPREENDIMENTOS IMOBILIARIOS LTDA, domiciled at Rua Seridó, n° 555, Sala 05, Petrópolis, CEP: 59020-010, Natal/RN (Brazil), registered with Tax Number CNPJ sob o nº 11.106.340/0001-18 as a Minha Casa Minha Vida (MCMV) developer in Natal?

    They claim to be a developer in Natal that claims to be building 2 MCMV projects currently and are seeking investment for a third and later apparently a fourth. The projects are:
    1) 5 Quadras, 320 units in Parnamirim city (with contractor C. Da Vinci?);
    2) Ilhas Gregas, 1120 units in Parnamirim city with contractor M & K Comercio E Construcoes;
    3) Zona Norte, 1500 units in north Natal with contractor M & K Comercio E Construcoes; and
    4) Bosque das Colinas, 400 properties south of Parnamirim city, apparently with Estrutural slated as the contractor

    Two of the projects are claimed to be partnerships with M & K COMERCIO E CONSTRUÇOES building (or to build) 1120 and 1500 apartments respectively. I am under the belief the 1120 units at Ilhas Gregas in Parnamirim city should be in the process of construction if not further along than that. The 1500 units in Zona Norte are not expected to start construction until January 2012 and that is the site for which funding is solicited.

    Apparently MANHA EMPREENDIMENTOS IMOBILIARIOS LTDA is a subsidiary of Obelisk International and they are seeking investment to fund the land purchase (or pay off of the land, which they seem to imply is owned or controlled) on which 1500 apartments are to be constructed for the MCMV program commencing ~ January 2012.

    Manha directed me to Manzanares International for the legal work, which immediately made me question whether Manazares was legitimate and if so, who they work for Manha or me? From various posts it appears Manzanares is an international Spanish law firm in Natal since at least 2007 with their earliest work not as satisfactory as one would hope (at least according to one poster), but who seem to have done work for others since that time and apparently satisfactorily.

    Specific input as to knowledge and experience with MANHA EMPREENDIMENTOS IMOBILIARIOS, M & K COMERCIO E CONSTRUÇOES and Manazanares International would be greatly appreciated. It has been claimed M & K has a GERIC with Caixa Bank, which is apparently also important to verify.

    All knowledgable and experienced input regarding these firms would be appreciated.
  8. WeBuyTX

    WeBuyTX New Member

    Regarding the previous post I did attempt to verify the history of the company through its CNPJ number at the Federal Registry ( but since I don't speak Portuguese and apparently needed two other types of code numbers to gain access (to wherever I was on the site), I couldn't get through. Perhaps someone familiar with that website can run the CNPJ number and learn something about the history of MANHA EMPREENDIMENTOS IMOBILIARIOS.

    Thank you to previous posters that provided that website, information about the CNPJ and GERIC. It does help one know where to start to conduct due diligence.
  9. JMBroad

    JMBroad New Member

    I agree with Rob - it is best to get an independent lawyer to do the checks on the developer. Unless you speak fluent Portuguese it'll be tough.

    Also, I'd suggest reading the Absolute Basics thread on these forums very carefully as that will also help you know what to ask for and what to talk to your lawyer about.

    Regarding Obelisk I believe there are a couple of threads on the forums discussing past projects of theirs. If you use the "search" option above you can probably get some information however I'm not sure how updated they are.

    I think the two developments they have been involved in so far in Brazil (at least in Natal) were "Laguna Beach Tabatinga" and "Estrela do Atlântico" but not sure in which capacity they were involved, what stage the developments are in at the moment or whether Obelisk is still involved with either.

    I just took a look at their website and there is no reference to either development any more so possibly they are no longer involved.
  10. WeBuyTX

    WeBuyTX New Member

    Thanks for the input Rob and JM. I always intended to use an attorney but Manzanares International was referred and immediately wanted me to sign Power of Attorney and submitted a "form" investment contract (probably for my review).

    It has taken three times to simply get an understanding of their fees, though perhaps we're on track now. I prefer to take things step by step and Manzanares was already moving me into investing, at least as it appeared to me based on the documents they wanted signed, before I even knew and approved what fees were proposed, let alone I had not reviewed and APPROVED the Due Diligence.

    I checked with a firm in Fortaleza that has been used by others I know, but their fees were going to be quite high plus included the possibility of travel expenses so that option made no sense to use.

    Basically I was and am trying to learn if anyone had done business with either Manha, M & K, or Manzanares International. I have continued internet searches and learned a little about all three firms, but would certainly prefer comments about direct actual knowledge. I think the most important verification regards Manzanares because if they are honest and competent they will conduct proper due diligence on Manha, M & K and the project. If Manzanares is not trustworthy and competent, the rest is immaterial.
  11. WeBuyTX

    WeBuyTX New Member

    JM - I notice you posted in 2009 that you used Manzanares International. Would you use them again?

    Has anyone used Manzanares International attorneys in Brazil as recent as 2009 or later, and if so, would you use them again?
  12. WeBuyTX

    WeBuyTX New Member

    Is anyone familiar with construction projects performed by M & K Comercio E Construcoes and their results around the Natal area?
  13. JMBroad

    JMBroad New Member

    Hi WeBuyTX

    I worked for an investment company who had retained Manzanares International to do the due diligence checks on developments and approve them for sale to our investors. I've never actually used them myself to oversee a purchase of mine in Brazil because when it came to my own investments I decided not to use a lawyer.

    I live here and am fluent in Portuguese and work in the industry so I did what the locals do and didn't retain legal representation, I checked all the documentation myself together with background checks on the seller/development company I was buying from.

    Manzanares International is one of the law firms who does regular checks on our developments on behalf of investors looking to purchase from us and therefore is one of the law firms who provides us with a letter to send to our sales partners.

    When I joined the company three years ago, we would send two or three letters from lawyers to our sales partners. These letters confirm that at the date of launch all legal requirements have been met to be able to sell the development.

    For our last development (currently in pre-launch) we have 5 or 6 independent law firms who are checking the legalities and includes law firms based in several different countries and cities around the world but with representation in Natal.


  14. jumbo12

    jumbo12 New Member

    I believe I am looking at the same investment as you. I have all the same questions with regards to M K Comercio and Manha Ltd.

    I am also dealing with Manzanares Lawyers. They seem more than capable but would not answer any of my questions unless I placed them in writing first. I have been told that this is common practice. I've had another investment, however, where the law firm called me directly and were very helpful in answering questions upfront.

    Sorry I can not give any added information you are looking for about MK but let me know if you find anything. I'm in the same boat but have possibly a couple more weeks to decide.
  15. RFI

    RFI New Member

    We Buy TX can you share the status of your investigation in this? Thanks!
  16. WeBuyTX

    WeBuyTX New Member

    It's been a good 4 - 5 months since my research regarding Obelisk International's project intended for Minha Casa Minha Vida and I just received a notification that someone wanted feedback on what I learned so here's my recollection.

    One of my first concerns regarded Manzanares International as one would think you would hire your own attorney, not one recommended by the developer. Manzanares International didn't even have an attorney communicate with me to my knowledge. It was always administrative staff. Every question took at least a week to get a response. After the delay of a few unanswered questions and the "time frame" to move forward from the initial agreement had passed. I know some people will view that document as a promise, but to me it is simply a marketing document used as a psychological tool to get people to move forward, even when they haven't received information they need to make an informed decision so the passage of too much time due to their slow response was simply an annoyance and certainly no reason for me to proceed since critical information was still lacking.

    My initial hunch that Manzanares essentially works for Obelisk International was confirmed, at least in my mind, when I received the "due diligence package" which had disclaimers that the information was gathered from government websites, government employees, documents that were handed to them, and other sources. (That's not the exact words, but my recollection.) I almost laughed when I saw that "documents handed to them" were used as one would have no way whatsoever to verify that information. My initial and final conclusions about Manzanares are that they are sending out a mass produced document with spoon fed information provided by Obelisk with some facts likely verified by Manzanares.

    A moderator confirmed in a private email that he had worked for Manzanares in Natal doing due diligence for them several years ago, either as an employee or subcontractor. Essentially that gave me a level of comfort that Manzanares is legitimate and would likely raise red flags if they found problems occurring on a large scale. Even though I believe Manzanares to be legitimate, it is still my opinion that their main client is Obelisk International and its Brazilian partner, not the investor.

    I did contact an attorney in Fortaleza recommended by an international real estate publication. It boiled down to his costs would be at least $5,000 (USD) plus expenses so the fees could easily have run to $7,000 or more. When compared to the approximately $500 (USD) fee to Manzanares it seemed not worth pursuing in light of what else I had learned.

    Naturally two concerns were regarding the legitimacy of the developer (Obelisk International and its Brazilian subsidiary) and builder (M & K). Via searching the internet it appears Obelisk has been around for several years and participated in several developments the latest of which were in Turkey and Brazil. If my memory serves me correctly the development in Turkey ran into many problems due to the collapse of the financial system and buyers unable to obtain loans. I saw some complaints about that dilemma, but it was not caused by Obelisk and the conditions were out of their control. I think I recall reading something to the effect that they were helpful where they could be to help solve the problems caused by the financial crisis. I also learned they participated in building a tall building that is somewhat of a landmark in the Natal area. My conclusion was that Obelisk appears to be legitimate but it is a development company and runs into risks associated with that business, as would any developer.

    M & K was a crucial piece of the business as documents indicated special Brazilian governmental permission / qualification was required to build Minha Casa Minha Vida properties. Obelisk sent a link to what appeared to be a Natal newspaper's column mentioning M & K and Manzanares' documentation stated M & K had the special governmental approval. I would have liked to learn a little more about M & K; however what I did learn seemed to indicate they were legitimate.

    As fate would have it, when speaking with others about an investment in Brazil I became aware I knew two parties that had a U.S. family member who had married a Brazilian national so I could get some firsthand information from someone other than a salesman. I learned that squatters have more rights in Brazil than they would in other countries. In one case the Brazilian/American couple's family had owned rural property where development had made it more useful and someone else actually build a shoddy building on their property. Apparently they had to go to court (costing $$) to get the intruders off their property and they said they have to pay for the materials of the building that was put illegally on their land. In summary they keep their land but have to pay legal bills and for materials (only) of the building they don't want and was never authorized. They'll also have to pay to tear down the building or provide the labor to tear it down themselves.

    This story made me realize that a wily Brazilian may quickly put up a structure on land if they know it has or will likely become valuable since they have some rights - even though they truly have no legal claim. (I understand a legal claim is easy to make simply by having someone provide a deed for the land as the buyer could say he didn't know the seller wasn't the true owner, giving him some basis for his ownership claim.)

    Another very big flag was raised when I learned via the internet that a large development in Natal had caused quite a stir when 200 to 300 Europeans (read foreigners) had lost their money because an illegitimate child of the deceased owner was apparently able to present a claim that was upheld in court.

    At this point I was comfortable, but not ecstatic, with Obelisk International, M & K Construction and Manzanares International. My great concern was and still is regarding M & K and/or Obelisk holding indisputable or insured title on the land where the development is to be built. To me, this became the critical element as without indisputable and uncontested ownership of the land, the development was at risk.

    From this point I told Obelisk personnel I would invest under one of the two following criteria: 1) title insurance were obtained on the land or 2) my investment would be guaranteed by M & K, Obelisk's Brazilian development company, and Obelisk International against claims made against the land. (I was willing to accept development risk, building risk and marketing risk as outlined in their disclosures. I was NOT willing to accept title risk.)

    I was told that it was not common to use title insurance in Brazil and Obelisk thought it would be difficult and costly to obtain. At no time did anyone from Obelisk even respond to the guarantee against land claims, so evidently that was something they were never willing to consider. I did a little research of my own and found an attorney at Fidelity Title that had published articles about international title insurance, specifically in Brazil if I recall correctly. I found his contact information and sent him an email. In a few days I learned the entire land purchase could receive title insurance at a cost of $25,000 (USD). This did depend on Manzanares International provided specific items to Fidelity Title, but presuming the listed items were provided insurance was routinely available.

    I forwarded the email from Fidelity Title to Obelisk and they said what I had learned was interesting and that they may consider title insurance in the future but that they were on a deadline and must proceed with funding. They told me they expected other parties to fund the balance within the week so we simply parted ways.

    I believe Obelisk sent out new information in 2012 stating they were considering or holding a showing for investors in Natal, where they would physically show investors the project. I didn't reply as I didn't have available funds.

    I believe it would be best to go to Brazil to see the property, but in all cases I would not invest UNLESS title insurance on the property was purchased.

    I seem to recall the moderator was not personally concerned with title insurance, but he is also fluent in Portuguese, is located in that exact same city, and is an expert at performing due diligence regarding property ownership so he can learn firsthand whether the land purchase is safe or not. Since most everyone else will not have those qualifications or access it makes sense to invest ONLY if title insurance were purchased covering the land.

    Again, I did not invest, but I would NOT invest without title insurance. I hope that helps.
  17. RFI

    RFI New Member

    Transparency is key

    WeBuy TX
    Thanks for the effort and openness. Much appreciated!
    Yes I believe an own independent lawyer an personal final on site due diligence is crusial in cases like this. Then it is all down to a risk return assessement.
  18. Norbert

    Norbert Senior Member <br /><img src="http://img.propertyc

    MCMV Minha Casa Minha Vida nightmare

    Do read the Commentary on on MCMV ......

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
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