Monday, August 26, 2013

Updated Guide to The International Appraiser’s Most Popular Posts

The two posts still drawing in the most readers, the post about the failed New South China Mall and the post about the mass marketing of Costa Rican teak farms to international investors, are two years old now.

The New South China Mall seems to be a source of endless fascination for journalists all over the world, having opened as the world’s largest mall in 2005 and going bankrupt soon afterward. I posted about my visit to the mall and my assessment of the reasons for the mall’s failure in May 2011. (

I published “Costa Rican Teak Farms for Gringo Investors” ( in August 2011, and received more e-mails about this post than any other one, discovering that thousands of American, Canadian and British Investors had already invested in such teak farms or were considering investing. My post focused on the misinformation and deceptive marketing used to sell such farms and the perils of real estate and/or development done to satisfy investor demand rather than consumer demand.

The third most read post is one of the first posts from 2010, “Appraisal in Costa Rica” (, which examined the feasibility of a tourist medical hospital project in a remote coastal area without paved roads.

The fourth most read post, about La Riviera Maya (, was a farcical post on the modern ruins left by speculative real estate developers in this area of ancient Mayan ruins.

The fifth most read post has been the recent post on Ronan McMahon, International Living, and Real Estate Trend Alerts ( I subscribed to both publications and found the investment advice (as opposed to travel, relocation, or retirement advice) offered by this publisher to be of questionable value, particularly the continued promotion of raw land parcels in failing subdivisions. Most of the recommended investments or brokers appeared to have already been repeatedly advertised in International Living.

I apologize to readers for rehashing old posts because of a lack of new international work in the last few weeks. I have recently bid on appraising an affordable housing project in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and a tourist development in Scotland, so I hope to have something interesting to report soon.