Mexico is very different from rest of the modern world – I am not saying that Mexico isn't stylish (if you doubt this statement, visit Polanco in Mexico City, it might change your perspective!) but searching for the perfect property in Mexico as a foreigner is a difficult task.
Several essential steps are necessary to educate yourself, distinguish between areas and sift through developers, all of which will eventually enable you to find the perfect rental property for yourself (which you will most probably use a couple of times a year).

Real Estate News

1) MLS

An MLS (Multi Listing Service) is a site which lists several homes for sale. In reality, it consists of hundreds of real estate listings belonging to different agencies throughout the world. In Mexico, most people use a website called Point2Homes which is an international listing service based out of Saskatchewan, Canada.
The issue with this listing site is that it is not updated or maintained thus compromising the authenticity of the published listings. For example, the properties you are viewing may not have accurate prices posted, resulting in a “bait and switch.” You will need to trust your realtor and their ability to do due diligence. There are some local websites like virginrealtymexico.com where they only publish listings on their site that have been appropriately vetted, and preliminary due diligence has been conducted to ensure a safe and secure purchase for their clients.

“If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing.”

Edwards Deming.

2) Google Alerts

Google Alerts are automatic alerts that you can set up for specific keywords. Google sends you emails when it finds your specific keyword results. If you are searching for a particular development, you will want to set your alert with the name of the developmental property so that you receive a notification when a resale becomes available, there is a price reduction or when they run a special promotion.
You will want to target keywords such as “Condo for sale Tulum” “Rental property for sale Playa del Carmen” or specific development names like “Trinity Tulum.” Setting your Google alerts appropriately will help keep you up to date in real time with new market trends, up and coming communities, pre-released projects, and breaking news.

3) Find a Great Agent

Finding a great agent is a crucial step to finding that perfect rental property. A local agent will have their boots on the ground and be the first to know about promotions, resales, distressed properties, and new developments.
You will need to find an agent who is responsive and committed. To learn how to find the perfect agent refer to this (What should you look for in your real estate agent) blog post.

4) Do Not Hesitate

If you have a great agent and have found the perfect property that checks all your boxes, do not hesitate to pull the trigger. The market in Riviera Maya is unforgiving right now. If you are not the first in the door and fast in taking the property off the market, you will lose out on a great opportunity. There are thousands of buyers out there who are looking for the same thing that you are. This is true for both pre-sales and resale of the property. The market is moving fast, a property you see for sale today may not be there tomorrow.

5) Get in Early

The earlier you get in on a pre-sale property, the better deal you will get. Developers are incredibly motivated to sell the first 25% of the development as it helps create sales momentum.
I can tell you that you will be walking into a higher percentage of equity if you get in earlier. To give you an example; for the first development I ever launched, I priced the first four units at cost, and throughout the sales process, we increased the prices 10% after every sale.
Thus, my first four clients were rewarded handsomely. If you do your homework and choose a developer who has a clean track record, you will minimize the risk of being stuck in a failed project. The only downside to this strategy is the timeframe for which you will have to wait for your property to be delivered.
You may need to factor this into your expected returns and may have to wait a little longer to take possession of your property. However, the juice will be worth the squeeze. You can potentially rake in 10-15% equity (NET).

6) Analyze Rental History

Whether you are purchasing a pre-sale or resale property, you will want to analyze the property's rental history. You can do this by asking the owner of the resale to open their books and show the property's rental income history.
By analyzing these documents, you will be able to identify the ADR (Average Daily Rate) of the units and the annual occupancy rate. Keep in mind that many private rental property owners do not claim their entire revenue from rental income. However, they should make personal records available.
In the case of purchasing a pre-sale property, you will want to ask the developer for the rental history of their prior developments. If multiple developers are syndicating the building to a property management and vacation rentals agency, then you will want to ask that specific company to provide a rental history of the neighboring projects they operate.

7) Make Multiple Offers

To find the best deals you may want to make multiple offers. Ask for your agent’s advice in regards to a reasonable initial offer price.
You want to start low, thus allowing the seller to counter offer. However, be careful to not insult the seller. Too low an offer may be counterproductive.
You don´t want the seller to think that you are not a serious buyer, resulting in them declining the offer without a counteroffer.
Note: With each offer, you will need to attach an earnest money deposit, so be careful of finding yourself in a situation where you have multiple offers accepted and thus having to forfeit your deposit on some of them. I always suggest making one offer at a time.

8) Make Clean, Direct and Precise Offers

A clean and direct offer is an offer with limited yet precise terms and contingencies. A contingency is a future event or circumstance that cannot be predicted. In layman's terms, it means a legal reason to back out. You want to limit your contingencies to a certain extent. There is a fine line between limiting risk and submitting a problematic offer.
For example, imagine a seller receiving two offers at a similar price: One from you with multiple contingencies, allowing you to back out of the deal at any time without penalty for almost any reason, and the other offer without any contingencies. The seller is likely to choose the offer with lesser contingencies even if it is at a lower purchase price solely due to the security of the deal as opposed to being jerked around by the buyer. Keeping your offers as clean as possible will increase your chance of acceptance.

Latest Posts
Contact us
Ryan Gravel
Ryan Gravel

Ryan Gravel is an American real estate broker and developer. He began his career at a young age working for his family owned construction company.
After graduating college at the University of Central Florida with a degree in business, Ryan set out to find untapped prolific markets around the world. His search landed him in Playa del Carmen, Mexico where he founded Virgin Realty Mexico and co-founded the Saatal Development Group one of the fastest growing development companies in the Riviera Maya.
With extensive market knowledge, professionalism, etiquette, innovation and integrity Ryan is known as one of the most highly respected real estate advisors in the region.

Read more
Latest Posts