According to the ST report today, EcoHouse said in a February interview: "We do not 'guarantee' the return. Nobody should. Our investment provides a fixed rate of return, paid upon the completion and sale of the property. The contractual worst-case scenario due to our escrow facility is that the investor ends up with land and property in Brazil worth more than they have paid."
I DO NOT think the above statement depict clearly the worst case scenario. Imagine the below:-
1) Brazilian property crash (highly likely after a mega event like world cup 2014), you will end up losing your capital
2) Brazilian currency get devaluated rapidly (think BRIC). Likely if you witness the rapid devaluation of rupees, rupiah recently. You will end up losing your capital.
3) The housing project may be left unfinished. You end up 'stuck' with something that you CANNOT get rid of event at a huge discount Again here you lose your capital.
4) You may incur huge cost if you will to get rid of the unsold project. In this case, you still lose your capital.
So, do not be comforted by such assurances that you have legal claim on the land and property should things turn out awry.
In general, DO NOT invest in something you cannot control or monitor at least transparently.In ecohouse case, they let investors take the risk, if they end up making money, you may get your 20% return. If something go awry, the investors will be left holding the hot potatoes.