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Buying a Property in Playa Del Carmen for beginners

Real estate Playa Del Carmen Where foreigners need to set up a fideicomisco.

Real Estate Playa Del Carmen How to Guide

So you finally are going to do it! You have dreamed about owning something in the Caribbean and have selected Playa Del Carmen as your place. First let us congratulate you on getting to this exciting point in your life. Now comes the part of selecting how to buy, what to buy, where to buy and answer why are you buying a property. This is our real estate in Playa Del Carmen guide.

How can foreigners buy real estate in Mexico?

We are not going to go into lengths about the legal procedures here but will cover some basics. At this point you already know that foreigners can buy in Mexico. The current laws require foreigners that buy within 50 kilometers from the coast or 100 kilometers from the international boarder to set up a fidecomisco.

A fidecomisco or trust is a contract between its beneficiary and a financial institution. The original constitution of Mexico did not allow foreigners to control interest in property at the borders or coast for security reasons of invading armies. Today this is no longer an issue but instead of changing the constitution, a clever way of letting foreigners buy in these restricted areas was developed.

You can buy the property just not hold the title.  You still can do whatever you want with your property because it is yours and the bank gets a fee for holding the title for you. This process is required by Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution and is just one different step to take when purchasing.

Using a notario and their purpose

After you have selected your property you will need a notario to go over the paper work and make it official. Notarios and not like notary service in other countries. Here in Mexico they are officially appointed positions with great responsibility to make sure property transfers are done correctly and legally. This is perhaps the second biggest difference to buying in Mexico.

3 Options for purchasing real estate in Playa Del Carmen

You will have three options in purchasing property, they are:

  1. Find a realtor that you feel comfortable working with and find a property and go through the process with their assistance as well as going to the notario.
  2. Hiring a lawyer to help you with legal paperwork and help you with the process in addition to going to the notario and perhaps with the assistance of a real estate agent.
  3. The third option is to do most of the work yourself (perhaps even finding the property yourself and making an agreement with the seller) and go to a notario to handle the paperwork.

Each option has its benefits and your situation and understanding of Mexican laws and procedures should guide your decision. There are many nuances to the laws here and with such an important decision you will want to make sure it is don’t correctly.

Questions to ask before buying

What do you want to buy? You have many options here in Playa Del Carmen. There are beach front condos, new house developments, older homes, town houses, and land. Most people are looking to buy condos or a new home that is further back from the beach in a new community. Here are some considerations to think about.

  • How much is the maintenance fee?
  • Ask the maintenance office what the biggest problem is in the development or condo complex. Sometimes you can get helpful insight into the goings on around your property.
  • How old is the property you are buying? Sometimes buying new has it’s advantages because it means less things can go wrong. Other times, older properties have aged and kinks have been worked out. You will also see how the area has changed and where it is now. Sometimes with new developments you do not have a clear indication on what they will look like in 5 or 10 years.
  • Is this a property that I will have to do maintenance on or hire someone? Condos or homes in private communities offer maintenance and if you are going to be in Playa for only part of the year, these services can give you less hassle from managing your property. If you are looking to buy an already existing home not in any development with management, you save fees but will have to take on all repairs yourself.
  • A note to buyers looking at unfinished buildings, do your research on the developer and the type of account your deposit will be in. You do not want your deposit to be taken and then the project delayed or worse, not finished and the developer leave town. See our article on buying presale.

Where to buy in real estate in Playa Del Carmen?

Where do you want to buy? Most people want accessibility to the beach. The good thing is, most of Playa Del Carmen is 10 minutes from the beach by car. The 307 highway is a real divide, both physically and mentally. Most people want to be between the beach and the highway. Even a block past means that walking seems too far and rents are much lower as well as rentability by tourist. This is something to take into account if you are looking to rent out your property.

If you choose a new development like Real Ibiza, Los Olivos, Bali, other similar development, you should consider transportation. Living in the center of Playa can easily be done without a car. Outside of Playa is a good option if you like a little more space and perhaps are looking to build your own home.

real estate playa del carmen

The Playacar beach in Playa Del Carmen.

Are you looking for an investment?

Why do you want to buy? Are you looking to rent out the property? Are you going to live there? Is it an investment property? Looking to spend your children’s inheritance?

If you are looking to rent it out, consider finding a good management company and calculate the cost of maintenance, management oversight, furniture, insurance, and how often you expect the property to be rented out. Also consider who you are going to rent to. Most people will advise you that renting to tourist is easier since people come for a short while, pay and leave. Rental contracts are also hard to enforce and protecting yourself with a large deposit helps protect you from a headache later. With proper insight and research you should be able to make a good decision. Many people rent out properties and demand is certainly high, this is evident by high real estate prices.

If you are simply looking to live year round or most of the time and perhaps in the future sell, you must look at the market and what areas are on the rise in price. We will be writing several articles on neighborhoods of Playa Del Carmen and what is going on in them. It might be able to give you a current look and help those looking at Playa Del Carmen to make an educated decision on where to buy as an investment.

Further reading about real estate in Playa Del Carmen

You might want to see our huge guide to even more detailed information on real estate in Playa Del Carmen here. It has interactive maps and dozens of tips for where to look for types of properties.

We hope you have fun looking around at the variety of property here in Playa Del Carmen. If you have any questions about real estate in Playa Del Carmen feel free to comment below or send us an email. We don’t sell real estate we just give opinions based on what we see here.

real estate playa del carmen

Aerial view of the Gallery Building.

7 Comments on Buying a Property in Playa Del Carmen for beginners

  1. Enrique J. Burton // March 29, 2016 at 1:50 PM // Reply

    Hey! If any of you are considering moving to Playa del Carmen, a friend of me (he’s in bad health condition and must return to his home town close to Mexico City) is selling his house 220 sqmt, 400 mts to the beach in a quiet local area of the city. Very nice one story house, fresh, big garden with high trees, all urban services. Two bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, living room, kitchen, one comercial space separated from the main house. We can send you pics. Price: 75k usd

  2. Hello,

    Can you recommend reputable realtors, notarios or attorneys to work with? Can you recommend the best website for property searches? There are a lot of sources out there, I’m just not sure which are legitimate. A little about me: am 40 yrs old, live in Los Angeles and looking for a condo property to rent out and use as my retirement home in the future. Great website! Thank you.

    • Thank you Stacie. We will email you shortly some options of realtors for you to contact. We wish you the best in your hunt for a condo and future adventure place to retire to.

  3. My friend and I are looking to buy a property in Playa del Carmen. With the recent rise of the dollar value, how does it affect the real estate market in Playa del Carmen? does the real estate property value go up as the dollar goes up or it goes down with the peso? There’s also recent rise in violence and drug activities in the area. Does it affect the real estate market at all?

    • Hello Jay

      Most real estate in the downtown is priced in USD so the rates do not fluctuate as much. Many of the developers take advantage of this and are always going to be on the winning side of things. It is mainly Mexican buyers who have an uphill struggle with investing in higher end properties. One thing that does offset this is the rent. Since most properties in the downtown can rent to tourist, as the price of the property goes up in dollars, so does the amount you make in pesos. Of course this only helps if you are in Mexico and using the money here.
      There is a small bargaining with developers and owners because of the value of the dollar vs the pesos but not nearly the percent that it has changed.
      There has been some recent violence in the area. Usually these things happen out of sight and for those that know the area, not something of a major concern. Back in 2010 there was a similar situation. However it can be in your favor if you happen to tell the agent or owner that you are concerned about investing in the area due to recent news. This combined with the lower peso, a small bargaining chip.
      If more and more people mention to real estate agents and developers their concern about violence, it will be a topic in board rooms. Some of the large developers have already talked with government officials about controlling the situation because of the possible damage to the market. There is a lot of money in developing the area and it is the bread and butter of the Peninsula.

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