How to purchase and own real estate property in Costa Maya on the Mexican Caribbean
Many U.S. and Canadians are finding that their money goes further and that their quality of live is better, especially in light of the economic crisis. Purchasing and owning property in Mexico is not without risks, however.
I have lived in Mahahual, Costa Maya, Mexico for over three years and own property and also have a real estate company known as "Costa Maya Living" (www.costamayaliving.com) so I am able to share my knowledge with others.
I also serve as Warden for the US Consulate Office for the region of Costa Maya.
- FIND A REPUTABLE BROKER OR AGENT
In most of Mexico, there is no MLS, no real estate licensing requirements for agents, no governmental oversight. The result is that almost literally, “everyone sells real estate”. Just take a seat in any restaurant or bar and mention that you want to buy property and you’ll surely have a crowd around you momentarily. Besides locals there are also a good number of “expats” who sell real estate and can’t even return to their home countries for fear of arrest. Would you risk a good part of your life’s savings with someone like that?
Here are some good indicators of who you would want to work with.
* Do they or the company they represent have a certified escrow account in the U.S. or Canada? I’ll discuss this more in following steps below.
* If a foreigner, can they show you their valid U.S. or Canadian passports? * Can you contact ANY of their past clients?
* Ask them how many other things they do...is real estate their full-time work or is it just a hobby?
MAKE AN OFFER
In the past here, when two individuals come together to buy and sell property an agreement was written by the Buyers. Upon signing, the Buyer gives the Seller a deposit to hold as earnest money to seal the deal.
In the case of my company and others that are professional after you make an offer upon a standardized “Offer/Contract” is prepared. The offer will be presented to the Seller and they will either, decline, accept or counter the offer. Negotiating on purchase price, closing date, inclusions and other details is common. However, do not be disappointed if the Seller holds out for full price. As of this writing, this is a Sellers’ market, even in the aftermath of Hurricane Dean and the U.S. economic crisis and even the flu scare! This is because land in Costa Maya is still the least expensive oceanfront property on the Mexican Caribbean.
If your offer is accepted and everything is signed, it is time to arrange for the transfer of earnest money deposit to an escrow account (not to the Seller) and meet with your attorney.
If the offer is accepted, normally 10% of the purchase price goes into an escrow account…not with the Seller. You can see the pitfall of depositing your money with a Seller…especially if the title of the property is in question.