Many people travel to the Yucatán, become enchanted, and decide to buy a vacation home, a retirement home, or a new home for retirement home or a new home for relocation. Not only is this area full of wonder, surprises, activities, culture, and history, it is also a land of reasonably priced real estate, experienced artisans, and inexpensive building materials.
As more and more expatriates move to Mérida, buying and renovating homes threatens to become the most popular expatriate pastime!
If you are interested in buying on the Yucatán Peninsula, there is much to choose from. Perhaps you would like a reasonably priced beach home somewhere along the Gulf Coast or a more expensive one on the Caribbean. Maybe you would like a historic colonial home in Mérida or a hacienda in the surrounding jungle? Or you might be looking for a modern home in a golf course community like La Ceiba, just a few minutes north of Mérida on the road to Progreso. You also might just want to buy land now and plan to build on it later. Prices have been rising steadily over the last few years so if you are thinking of buying here, sooner is probably better than later.
When looking for a home, after considering your budget, the first question is where to buy? The second question is usually how much do I want to renovate? Throughout the Yucatán Peninsula, but especially in Mérida, there are magnificent old houses and haciendas in various states of disrepair, priced reasonably and begging to be restored. These buildings often have “good bones” (good basic structure) and additional architectural treasures such as beamed ceilings and tiled floors. Many of them have been neglected for years and can be restored to previously unimagined magnificence with very little money.
There are also houses already restored that will cost a little bit more, but will save you the time and costs of renovating. These houses are naturally more expensive, but buying a renovated house saves you the time and costs, both financial and psychological, of doing the renovation yourself. Many of the renovations have created some truly spectacular homes, with the traditional tile floors and high ceilings of the Mérida colonial home, at prices that are extremely reasonable compared to what similar homes would cost in the U.S., Canada, or most places in Europe. Local limestone, locally made “pasta” tile and locally harvested wood is also available here. All this combines to make it easy to create a lovely home limited much less by your pocketbook and much more by your imagination! Real estate agents and current residents are probably the best sources to recommend good local contractors. These contractors are dependable and bring along excellent painters, masons, and other artisans who are often hard to find in North America.
How to buy a property in Yucatán
Finding, buying, building, restoring, and living in a home in Yucatán is easier than you might think. However, if you are new to buying in Mexico, you will find many differences in the purchasing process from what you are used to in the US, Canada, or elsewhere. Currently, in Yucatán, there is no MLS, no real estate licensing requirements for agents, no governmental over-sight, limited institutional financing, and few large organized real estate companies or real estate professional organizations, like the NAR (National Association of Realtors) in the USA.
However, there are several realtors in Yucatán who are trying to change that. They are working on the guidelines for a voluntary association of a cooperating group of real estate agencies in Yucatán who would work together under guidelines and rules of transparency, honesty, and integrity. Although this would not be a government-supervised association, most of the members have been involved in formal associations in the US and Canada, and they would design a system of mutual oversight. As soon as they have finalized the details, we will add more information here.
If you listen to the stories about expats’ good and bad buying experiences in Yucatán, you will find that there are occasionally “scam artists” who are not what they appear to be. However, in the majority of cases, Yucatán realtors work very hard to find the perfect house for their clients. They are known to spend many hours not only showing you houses to view, but going above and beyond the call of duty and helping you with many after-sale details. Many lasting friendships are made between Yucatán realtors and their clients.
As a buyer, you have three options:
1. USE A REALTOR’S SERVICES: There are many bilingual real estate agents here who are familiar with both North American real estate practices and also the vagaries of buying and selling in Mexico. These agents have a wide range of offerings and will assist the buyer in choosing the right home as well as in negotiating the twists and turns of Mexican real estate documents. They can assist you in locating any lawyers, accountants and banks you might need for completing the process. If you are clear about your needs, they can save you many hours of wasted time by setting up appointments for you. Some will show you around at no charge; others may charge you an hourly fee which is refundable when you purchase. Generally speaking, realtors earn 6% of the selling price. Be sure to get references on the realtor (and lawyer/notary) you will be dealing with. And be sure to only pay the down payment or balance in escrow to your notario publico, not directly to your realtor. A legitimate realtor will not ask you to give him or her money directly, nor will they pressure you to buy. For real estate services, you may contact any of the firms listed at the end of this article.
2. USE A “FOR SALE BY OWNER” SERVICE WHICH BRINGS BUYERS AND SELLERS TOGETHER WITHOUT A REALTOR: There are three commission-free “For Sale By Owner” websites ( casayucatan.com.mx and yucatandirect.com ) devoted to bringing Yucatán buyers and sellers together directly, for a small website listing fee paid by the seller. This means the seller is not paying commission to a realtor, which may save you, the buyer, money. By dealing directly with the seller, the buyer has no risk of running into a dishonest realtor. Through these services, sellers can pay one low listing fee, have their property advertised online and throughout multiple media markets. These websites also provide names of lawyers, accountants, and other services the buyer may need in order to complete the transaction.
3. GO IT ALONE: If you speak Spanish and have a map and a cell phone, you can check the newspaper classifieds and drive around the areas you are interested in, looking for “SE VENDE /TRATO DIRECTO” signs (which means the seller is not using a realtor), and make the phone calls and set up the appointments yourself, directly with the sellers. Once you find a house to buy and agree on a price, you and the seller finish the transaction in the office of your notario público. This process can be time consuming and cumbersome at best.
Hear opinions and insight from actual expat residents about what makes Merida their choice of anywhere in the world to live. Discover how they went about the building and renovating process and why they chose to live here. Get a peek inside some of the city’s spectacular colonial homes for the very first time. Exquisite scenes of Merida are supplemented by an introduction to archeological sites, Progreso and the beaches, Izamal and more.
Bayside Real Estate
MX: (+52) 9994 18 4827
MX: (+52) 55 4140 1435
Homes for Sale in Yucatán
Cristina Gasque, Cel. + 52 (999) 264 3777
Bob Lissandrello, Cel. + 52 (999) 163 4050
Mexico International Real Estate
Tel. (999) 920 6856
MX / WhatsApp: 9991 29 94 03
US / Canada / WhatsApp: 830 273 3881
Legal Services (Real Estate and Immigration)
Easy Legal México
Yucatan Transitional Services
FB: Yucatan Transitional Services
Fabiola Ladrón de Guevara
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