Buying Real Estate in Mexico from the US & Canada: Do I Need a Property Manager?

Owning a new property in a foreign country, with its different customs and languages is very different from homeownership in your home country, especially at a distance.

The way we see it, our role is not limited to the property purchase transaction, it also includes guiding you from start to finish, including advice on how to best manage the differences between owning property in your home country and owning property in Mexico. We always recommend property management to new owners as a best practice for the transition to your new vacation home as absentee owners.

Why? They look after all the aspects of home management that you do not have time to do or can’t do from a distance in a different language. 

This is in addition to any staff on the property. This will make it easier and smoother and more enjoyable for you in your new home. The decision will be up to you, however, we must advise.

Here is a handful of some of the services professional property management offer to foreign absentee owners: 

  • They can be your eyes and ears here on the ground for the property.
  • They speak the same language as you so communication is clear.
  • They speak the same language as the people of the country.
  • Act as a cultural bridge for different customs and practices you will encounter as an owner.
  • Communicate with your employees, instruct them.
  • Pay your employees using correct channels according to govt law
  • Ensure tasks are performed properly and timely.
  • Service-oriented staff at check-in /check-out for yourselves and friends and family.
  • Concierge services offered as if in a hotel.
  • Pay all bills and services such as electricity and water and your yearly taxes and bank trust.
  • Pay security and other local costs for you.
  • Assist with operating permits and other state and local government requirements.
  • Present monthly account statements in English of where your money is going exactly.
  • Keep up to date with local requirements and law.
  • Guest services (for yourselves included when needs arise)
  • Airport transfers if requested.

Also available if desired is rental support. 

Our advice would be to contract with a property manager for 6 months. This way, you can get used to managing this new asset. Then, you can choose to end or extend the contract with the property manager.

5 Top Riviera Maya Real Estate Trends 2021

5 Top Riviera Maya Real Estate Trends 2021

2020 was a surprising year for real estate in Riviera Maya real estate. Many have asked me what do I see is in store for 2021?

While Covid settled in 2020, we thought our market would just dry up. Contrary to that, 2020 proved to be a very strong year for real estate in Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Puerto Aventuras, Puerto Morelos. Will we see more of the same results in 2021? Whether you’re selling, buying, or staying put, here are some 2021 real estate trends that are important to you.

These are just my views based on my experiences of 16 years here in Riviera Maya and also reading based on what is going on in the US, or strongest neighbor.

Riviera Maya Real Estate Trend #1: Slim Pickings for Home Buyers

Okay, this is probably the most difficult to believe: It’s true, the desirable properties got snatched up in Covid. Really cool properties that you always saw for sale online, have now been sold. New products are still coming in line sure, but we still see less growth of new than in previous years and higher absorption of the great location resale properties.

But don’t worry, we’ll walk you through what to expect if you enter the market.

What Slim Pickings Mean for Buyers

Low inventory means you need to be prepared. It also means you should trust what your agent is telling you about the market not just what you “see online”.

We KNOW the truth of the market status. We live here and work it full time.

The internet is a big messy advertising medium for Riviera Maya Real Estate with a high inaccuracy of price and availability. ASK us, we can verify the true status for you of any property.

  • Somethings’ gotta give. If you can’t find the property you want, be willing to trade some “nice-to-haves” for your “must-haves.”
  • Be open to other possibilities. What if the location where you’re planning to buy is too competitive? You might be surprised at the gem in a less popular neighborhood. Working with a real estate agent at LivingRivieraMaya.com who really knows the area is the best way to find a home that fits your budget and lifestyle.
  • Be clear about your finances. This is primarily a cash market. VERY few options for mortgages to foreigners. Know what you can afford in cash and the timing of when funds will be available.

Contact US, your real estate experts in Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya Real Estate Trend #2: Prices

In the US in November, home prices grew by an incredible 15% compared to 2019. We can’t say that here, yet. Price homes in the US rose to a national median of well over $300,000. This marks more than 100 straight months of year-over-year price gains. This is partly the reason for our increased velocity of Playa del Carmen real estate transactions, and other Riviera Maya real estate destinations. Investors had more available cash to float from their primary residences to invest in Riviera Maya Real Estate.

What I can foresee for 2021 is that the speed with which Riviera Maya real estate is bought and sold should continue to increase, as long as PRICES are reasonable. Why do I say this? Real estate in Playa or Tulum is still primarily a cash-based, second home market for investors. Keep your prices reasonable when selling to make it accessible for these reasons.

What Prices Mean for Buyers.

Be real with how much house you can really afford.

Don’t make stupid low offers if you really want to own that ONE. We have seen some disappointed buyers who worked hard at looking and deciding, only to go away empty-handed because they were looking to steal property because of Covid. Yes, due to Covid we did see some flexible sellers, but not stupid low prices.

For more help on buying a home in this crazy market, check out our free Home Buyers Guide. It has all the answers you need to buy a home in Mexico with confidence.

What Prices Mean for Sellers

If you have been trying to sell for a year or more, this is good news. You can expect to accomplish this goal as long as the prices are reasonable.

To get the best offer for your home, list it with us, an experienced real estate agency that really knows your local market.

Having said that, be sure to work hard with any offer that comes in so you don’t lose an opportunity.

Some buyers may try to gut punch you with a low number. Work it, don’t ignore it.

We have seen some really low offers turn into really serious negotiations that close and I believe this will continue to be the case for 2021.

Source: Global Property Guide

Riviera Maya Real Estate Trend #3: Mortgage Interest Rates In the US Are Still Super Low

Bottom line? This means you can take out a line of credit on your existing home there and buy a home in Playa del Carmen or Tulum or Puerto Aventuras.

We see more people wanting out of the cold and into the warmth; more people can move their dreams forward, rather than wait; many people are tired of being confined and want the warmth and openness of Mexico.

The average mortgage interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 2.31% in November 2020—the lowest it’s been since Freddie Mac started reporting nearly 30 years ago!

And now economist geeks think interest rates will continue to hover around 3% in 2021, which is still pretty low.

This represents a good chance to cash out there and buy a home in Playa del Carmen or Tulum or Puerto Aventuras or anywhere in Riviera Maya.

What Lower Rates Mean for Buyers

Sure, interest rates are low right now—which can help you get into Riviera Maya Real estate market. Just be careful to calculate how much you can afford and let us know truthfully.

What Lower Rates Mean for Sellers

If interest rates stay low, buyers will be more motivated to buy your home sooner than later. But if interest rates do start to increase later in the year, just plan for your house to be on the market a little longer.

Riviera Maya Real Estate Estate Trend #4: Online Real Estate Services Are Growing

No doubt you’ve heard of real estate services like Zillow that allow you to browse or list homes for sale online with the click of a button. But did you know that online services are now offering to buy and sell your house for you?

We Offer Services as “Virtual” Agent

It’s a great way to view a property or get to know an area. Book an appointment with one of my trusted experts to get started. We dedicate the time and energy to you to show you real-time what a property can look like, distance to the beach, distance to town, restaurant facades, whatever you want to see.

In 2020 at LivingRivieraMaya.com we saw an increase in online closes by 45% over previous years. Some people had never even been to the town they purchased in and not physically seen the home prior to closing.

I see this as a continued trend in 2021, especially for those Canadians who are must quarantine for 14 days when returning from travels.

Online Closings

In related news, digital technology is also making it easier to handle document-based tasks virtually. For example, many home transactions are using electronic signature apps and remote online notarization to streamline the process.7 In other words, there’s a chance you can buy or sell a house this year without getting out of your car or ever-changing out of your bathrobe and slippers.

Real Estate Trend #5: Confidence

Equity probably won’t decrease through 2021.

With most housing markets at low risk for a downturn, Freddie Mac (US) believes home prices will continue to rise in 2021—but at a slower pace of nearly 3%.

Real Estate in Riviera Maya usually follows tourism and tourism is buoyed by the US economy and the economy in the US is a lot driven by real estate equity.

Does this mean a strong velocity of sales in Riviera Maya real estate for 2021? If we just base our predictions on all the above, yes. However, there are always mitigating external factors that we cannot predict.

A real estate market crash looks unlikely.

With all the uncertainty behind everything that happened in 2020 and with home price growth possibly slowing down in 2021, you might be wondering if the housing market could collapse. Well, it’s impossible to know for sure, but economists suggest a housing crash is unlikely. Again this = CONFIDENCE.

After all, the super-low mortgage rates are motivating investors to bring some cash from the US or Canada and enter the Playa del Carmen real estate market, which increases demand. Many investors and buyers are looking to move full time to Playa del Carmen or Tulum.

But there’s still a very low supply of home listings. This is keeping home-buying competitive and allowing home price growth to soar.

Take Control of the Trends With a Top-Notch Real Estate Agent

Whether you’re selling or buying, you can take advantage of the current trends by partnering with a professional real estate agent at LivingRivieraMaya.com

Find your real estate agent today!

Buying Real Estate in Mexico : Escrow Explained

 

If you are in the process of buying a property in Mexico, you might want to consider settling the deal using an «Escrow» service. Indeed, the advantages are numerous.

finnaces-escrow-explained-mexico-real-estate

But what is an « Escrow » service and why is it interesting?

Definition of Escrow: It is a financial instrument held by a third party on behalf of the other two parties in a transaction. The funds are held by the escrow service until it receives the appropriate written or oral instructions from both buyer and seller,  or until obligations have been fulfilled by all parties involved in the transaction.

Basically, it means that the buyer and the seller agree on a third party (usually an attorney or an escrow company) to manage an account (escrow account) into which the transaction money will be transferred.

Escrow money is always linked to the terms of the purchase contract and funds are only released based on an “instruction letter”.  That document contains the terms and conditions to follow before the money can be delivered to the seller.

Why is it interesting?

It is a very safe method of payment.  It provides security to the buyer and the seller.

The buyer is ensured that the funds will be delivered to the seller if and only if the latter fulfills all the contractual obligations and terms in the “instruction letter”. If anything wrong happens, the escrow service will keep the money in the escrow account and will return it to the buyer.

For the seller, the use of an escrow service is the guarantee that the buyer has the money to purchase the property. The funds are held in the escrow agreement prior to the conditions being met and upon fulfilling them, the seller will receive the funds.

If you are interested in using such service, ask your real-estate agent for references. As a professional in the business, he/she has all the useful resources in his/her personal network and will provide you with very useful information.

Once you find the escrow company you want to do business with, the 2 documents you will need are:

– The property title (a legal description of the property that will be transferred).

– An identification which can be a passport or a driver´s license.

The company will then draft an escrow agreement, which will be executed by the buyer and the seller. And that escrow agreement is the official document through which the service of the escrow company will be hired.

We hope this Escrow explained article was helpful !  Please call us with any questions you may have.  Judi Shaw | 1 604 628 7247 Direct | +521 984 116 3251 Mexico Cell

Living Riviera Maya Real Estate: Why buy with me?

Photo of Judi Shaw Realtor

Are you a Canadian or a foreigner and you are thinking about buying a property in Mexico, more specifically in the Riviera Maya or around Playa del Carmen…?

You would like to use the services of a real estate agent but don’t know which company to trust or where to start…

You want to have all the information possible and all the services related to an overseas transaction at hand in order to make a trouble free investment. It’s totally understandable and you shouldn’t settle for less.

Look no further, Judi Shaw and her team at Living Riviera Maya Real Estate is the answer! She’s an experienced real estate agent based in Playa del Carmen,  Riviera Maya. They will certainly be a major asset in every aspect of the buying process.

In order to learn more about her, we have asked Judi a few questions (that you may also have)… Her answers will definitely consolidate your decision to deal with her.

1) You are Canadian, Sauder School of Business UBC,licensed in Real estate,…how can do business in Mexico and really help me find the property of my dreams?

Well, first of all, you have the guarantee that I have a degree in business, I have a previous license in real estate in BC with all the training and education and licensing involved.

Not all real estate agents in Mexico have such background. I know how to do my job professionally with the higher standards. Secondly, it means that I understand Canadian (North American) needs and wants better than anyone. Thirdly, I have been living and working here for more than 13 years, I know the market and I keep my knowledge up to date…and NOW I am one of the very few truly licensed to practice real estate in the state of Quintana Roo. According to the new law in 2014, anyone selling renting or administering properties  has to be licensed and only about 20 of the 2000 or so agents are currently licensed. I received my license on Feb 20 2016.

2) What kind of experience do you have in Mexico, is it really worth something?

I was recruited in 2003 from Whistler, BC to the Riviera Maya to take part in the largest launch of pre-construction luxury real estate in the Riviera Maya Mexico, called Rosewood Mayakoba. To date, it is still viewed as a turning point in real estate here in the Riviera Maya. I have experienced, first hand, the boom of Playa del Carmen as a major international destination and real estate market. I have seen its development, I know every aspect of it.  All of my contacts are assets for you.

That was 13 years ago and since that time, I have never stopped being part all major real estate development.

3) How do Mexican competitors see you? And Mexican property developers?

But I am Mexican! I was naturalized as a Mexican in early 2016.   I am well respected by my peers and other professionals involved in the real estate business. I speak Spanish more or less fluently which is a great asset when it comes to negotiation, people don’t see me as a foreigner anymore. No bad surprises due to misunderstanding! In addition, I have a deep knowledge of the Mexican real estate legislation, I can’t be fooled!

4) Do you work alone? Do you have enough time to take care of all your clients?

I have a fantastic team, very dedicated to our clients. We take pride in being there for our clients at every stage of the buying process. My team has very high standards and we offer a very high-quality service. We listen, we understand and…we care about all our clients!

In addition to that, I have built an extensive network of contacts in the industry, including legal support, tax advice, mortgage consulting, immigration assistance, rental and property management connections, and more…

5) What kind of protection do I have if I decide to use your services?

I am affiliated with various professional associations:

  • Member of NAR (National association of Realtors)
  • Member of Luxury Home Marketing Institute
  • Resort and second home property specialist with NAR
  • Transnational referral certificate (TRC)
    Licensed real estate professional in Quintana Roo with SEDUVI, the governing body.

6) Is your expertise only in condos transaction? What if I am interested in investing in a lot or a hotel?

Good question! I have an extensive experience in all different kinds of transactions. Condos, houses, villas, commercial properties such as hotels and investment properties, lots and land to build your dream home. We have access to all properties and more importantly, we know how to handle each type of transaction!

7) What if at some point, I want to sell my property?

I can certainly take care of that. My role is to find the best buyer for all the properties in my portfolio and the best property for each of my client. My website enjoys the first place on google, organically. We list and market homes condos hotels and lots with great success due to our proprietary marketing methods

8) You are obviously well established in Playa del Carmen and know the real estate market there very well, now, what if I am interested in another place?

My company covers all these areas: Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Playacar, Puerto Aventuras, Playa Paradise, Playa Paraiso, Puerto Aventuras, Akumal, Tulum, Yucatan, Cozumel, or Bacalar…

We can certainly help you find your dream home in your dream spot!

I live here love it and own here. Let me show you the same.