Buying a Property in Playa Del Carmen for beginners

Playa Del Carmen real estate

Real Estate Playa Del Carmen 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 where we hope to give you some good advice so you can make smart investments. In this article we will talk about the buying process for foreigners and real estate in Playa Del Carmen, what option you have for properties and what areas are good to buy in. We hope you find this article helpful for your process. 

Our video about real estate in Playa Del Carmen

Many of our readers ask us questions about real estate in the area, so we put together this video. We try to cover many topics and give you an overview of the market. We hope you find it helpful. 


You can also find a video about beachfront real estate in our article here

How can foreigners buy real estate in Mexico?

We are not going to go into length 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 bank 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. A good realtor will walk you through the process, so it completely understandable to you. 

Using a notaria and their purpose

After you have selected your property you will need a notaria to go over the paper work and make it official. Notarias 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. 

Most of the time the buyer selects the notaria but it is a decision of the buyer and seller. A buyer can also hirer a lawyer to go over contract details, this is helpful if the sale is a presale building. This way you have a contract with details if something is not finished on time or how it was agreed to. 

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. This is by far the way that most people buy in Playa Del Carmen.
  2. Hiring a lawyer to help you with legal paperwork and help you with the process in addition to going to the notaria and perhaps with the assistance of a real estate agent. Lawyers can be handy for presale units since there are extra things to consider in the contract, for example what to do if the developer does not finish on time. 
  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 notaria to handle the paperwork. Most people only do this is you have lived in the area for a while and understand the laws regarding property transfers and titles. This is also more of a case with houses and older condos. 

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 done correctly.

Playa Del carmen real estate
Aerial view of a new condo building in Playa Del Carmen.

Questions to ask before buying

What do you want to buy? You have many options 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 many other owners are current in payments for maintenance? Is the condo association legally set up? What are the bylaws regarding owners that do not pay fees?
  • How old is the property you are buying? Sometimes buying new has it’s advantages because it means less things can go wrong. Newer condos normally rent much better than older condos. 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 west of the highway means that walking seems too far and rents are much lower as well as rentability by tourists. 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 Del Carmen can easily be done without a car. Outside of Playa Del Carmen 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?

Tip: See our article and video about an online tool that can help you evaluate properties and how the rents are. 

Note: Most real estate in Playa Del Carmen is bought with cash. There are some financing options, but more limited than other countries. 

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 (see our guide on moving to Playa Del Carmen) 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.

Buying real estate in Playa Del Carmen as an investor

Below is a map that we made to assist readers. This map shows areas of Playa Del Carmen and what areas are better for investors looking to buy something to rent out. To use this map, click on the colored sections and read the description. 


Where do people like to stay that come to Playa Del Carmen?

We have a map where we show readers what areas are good to stay in. Many people have looked at this map while planning their vacations, so that shows it is important to consider these locations when looking to invest. These are areas we recommend to visitors and where your potential renters will want to stay. Click the color segments of the map to see a description of each area. 


Further reading about real estate in Playa Del Carmen

You might want to see our huge guide to even more detailed information on Playa Del Carmen real estate you can see our guide here. It has interactive maps and dozens of tips for where to look for types of properties. We also have some recommended real estate agents to work with that have a good reputation with our readers.

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.

It is also good to read our article about the Tulum real estate market. This market is closely connected to Playa Del Carmen’s market. We also have a video below talking about how people are diversifying between the two as an investment strategy.  



About The Author


  1. 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.

  4. I think you for the unbiased info for real estate. It is hard to tell what angle people online have and find your advice to be spot on.

    • Hello Serge

      The answer is, there is not one. As you know there is no MLS that list all the properties. Some will ask for you to sign up with your email. We don’t like that because then you are on a mailing list and it seems like the information should be easily available, but we do see the point from the real estate companies perspective. If you tell is what you are looking for, like condo in a certain range or a house, we can refer you to some good realtors that offer or specialize in what you are looking for. You can always send us an email for that.

  5. Thank you for the unbiased information you are putting out there. We plan a trip in Feb 2018 to begin looking for a condo to purchase for retirement from the US. I would love to get a couple of names of some trustworthy, experienced and hardworking realtors in the area. Thank you.

    • Hello Karen

      We will send you an email and ask some questions about what you are looking for so we can recommend the best people for you in real estate. Some agents are good for lower end properties that are further back from the beach, some people are looking for condos and some are looking for places outside of Playa. Talk to you soon.

  6. If anyone has a good real estate agent and notorios that they have used any information would be greatly appreciated. Looking to purchase condo in playa del Carmen this year.

    • Hello Justin

      We can send you an email with some information if you like. We are on the road now but can send it in two days.

  7. We are visiting playa del Carmen in 3 weeks and trying to find yhe best realtor that we can. We can spend up to $200k and would like to be as close to the beach as possible. We are interested in playa del Carmen for the hospitals though I think we might like some of the quieter areas like puerto morelos, puerto aventures, and paraiso. Can you please recommend a really good realtor who is willing to spend as much time as we need during our week stay? Also, we’d like someone who is fluent in English. Thank you in advance, Penny

    • Hello Penny. Thank you so much for writing to us here. We will be glad to make a reccomend action to you. We will send you an email later today with information. We hope you have a good trip down and find something you like.

  8. Hello,
    Thank you for the great website & articles.
    I am looking for an investment condo with $200K budget. I have already been talking with 2 different realtors, but i would like to get your recommendations for realtors, lawyer, developers (i am looking at GMB & Elrod Desarrollos) and most of all property management. PM seems really expensive and could kill the investment angle. thank you.

    • Hello John

      It is important to get good property management. It is the number one thing that eats into your profits of buying a property in Playa Del Carmen. We will send you an private email with some info that might help you.

  9. I am looking to buy a place in Playa but don’t have a realtor yet. Can you recommend me someone that specializes in condos in the center of downtown? Thanks

  10. We are going to Playacar in Feb. 2018 and would like to find a realtor who can show us condos up to 300000.00. We want to move permanent around end of 2018 or beginning of 2019 depending on sale of our house here and getting our visas. Could you recommend someone who knows that we will not buy right away but is still willing to show us some properties?

    • Hello Manuela

      Let us email a couple of realtors we recommend and see who is willing to show properties then. We will send you an email with details. Thank you for asking and we hope you have a good trip down.

  11. I saw some condos on 5th just above CTM Avenue. What is going on in that area? I see a lot of places going up but I still see the area with poor areas. I am not sure if I want to invest there. What are your thoughts of the area? Can you send me an email with your thoughts? Thanks

  12. Will be in Cancun 23 Dec thru 28 Dec
    Would like to meet with reputable realtor to meet in Playa Del Carmen condo interest
    Please forward contact information of two or more
    Thank You

  13. I am looking to invest in some condos in Playa Del Carmen. I want to get three in one building and use them to rent. Can you refer me to a good realtor in the area please? I need someone that speaks English and can help me set them up. I am looking for a full service realtor since I do not have a lot of time to look around and be there. Thank you.

    • Hello Carmen

      We will send you an email to the one you provided. Thank you for contacting us and reading the website. We wish you the best in your search.

  14. We are coming in January and want to look at some condos. We would like to look at things close to 5th Avenue and in a very rentable location. Can you please email us some realtors that you think would be good to deal with. We are fluent in Spanish and English so language is not a problem. Thank you

    • Hello Jean

      We have sent you an email to you with more information. Thank you for contacting us and let us know if you need anything else. We wish you best of luck in your search.

  15. I’m not sure where to start but this article has helped me get some idea of things there. We have been one time to Playa and loved it. I am interested in buying something for a winter home. Can you send me some more information. Thanks

  16. Feliz nuevo ano! Fantastic website! I am looking for some info on recommended property management companies to maintain a vacation property (but not rent it). I don’t think I saw any specific names in any of your real estate articles (although lots of helpful info). I would be grateful if you wouldn’t mind sending me an email with any suggestions. Gracias!

    • Hello RJC

      We will have to keep our ears open for suggestions. We don’t know of good maintenance company that just does the one thing. Most condos have maintenance and most rental companies offer the service as a package. There are so many small companies that come and go and get mixed reviews here that it is hard to keep up with them. Perhaps someone that has a good maintenance company working with them will comment.

  17. Hi am looking to buy a place in Playa but don’t have a realtor yet, could you kindly advise ? I was there 2 weeks ago and talked to an agen on the 5th just to get a flavour of the properties. Now I would like seriously start looking for something.

    • Hello Luis

      It is good you asked because there are agents and then there are agents that answer the questions you did not even know to ask and also go out of their way to help you before, during and after. We will send you an email with some suggestions for you. We hope this will help you in your search.

  18. Hi, we are looking for an investment condo in downtown Playa to use a few weeks a year and rent it out the balance of the year. Could you please recommend a few realtors that are knowledgeable about the rental market and perhaps a recommendation for a few rental companies?
    Thank you,

    • Hello Mike

      We will send you an email tomorrow with details. We are working on n interesting article on what ROI rates are and what might be the better properties to look at.

  19. This info is a big help. Maybe you could also post a list of good realtors in Playa to deal with. I am looking to buy a condo near Mamitas or 28th Street. Thanks.

    • We are looking to have an article on realtors to help out our readers. For now we will send you an email with some recommendations for you. Thanks for reading the website.

  20. Please send info on real estate in Playa. Thinking about purchasing a home there as a family retreat. Thank you!

    • Hello Blanca. We will send you an email with some information. Thank you for reading our site and we wish you the best in your search.

    • Hello Matthew

      We will send you an email to you with some recommended realtors and we will ask if you need anything else. Thank you for reading the site.

  21. Your website information is great. Thank you for taking the time to put it together for all of us to read.

    I am looking to visit Playa del Carmen later this sprint for vacation and to look at property. If you could send me referrals for an agent to show me properties, that would be wonderful !!

  22. Looking for info on realtors to help me and my sister buy a property in playa del Carmen. Thank you

  23. Hello, I am interested in buying a condo in Downtown PDC to be able to rent it out and use as needed. I would like to get the best realtor you can recommend, along with any lawyers, and Notarios. Please contact me with any information and thank you for the article.

    • Hello Ricardo

      We will send you some info to your email. Be sure to check the spam filter. Thanks for reading the website.

  24. Would love to have a listing of properties available in Puerto Adventuras. Stay there on vacation annually. Stopped at visitors center last Fall….gave my contact info to Agent on duty but received nothing! I’ll be back in two weeks.

  25. I am in the process to purchase a property in playaCar, i negotiated directly with the owner and they won’t be no realtors involved. Before moving further, Can you recommend reputable notarios or attorneys to work with?

    • Hello Allan
      Most notarias are reputable since they are all appoited by the government ad held accoutable to anything they sign. One small tip is to pick the notaria yourself. They are nutural parties but can work better for the person that hires them. Most choose one that is bilingual. From a personal usage we can reccommed #35 on 20th Avenue and Calle 32. We have used this notaria twice and he is bilingual. We wish you the best of luck with your purchase.

  26. I am looking to purchase a condo in the area one or 2 bed at a reasonable price. I would like to compare both new developments and existing units available for sale. Will be traveling there in a few months to hopefully check some out! Any help you can offer is appreciated

    • Hello

      Do you know the names of where you want buy? Our article on suggested agents might be helpful to you if you want to contact them. They have been very good in helping readers find things and answer questions. You can also send us an email if you have specific questions that you don’t want to post here.

  27. I own an apartment in Playa , and the Property Management cost is killing me. The only way to make this profitable is finding a general maintenance of the place and provide cleaning and sheet washing services. Is there an offering for these specific services , and not the expensive vacation rental management package?

    • Hello Andres

      We are sorry to hear you are not making a lot off your property in Playa. Not all buildings get the same ROI in Playa. Good management is hard to get. There are various services that provide different levels of need for rentals. We don’t have a reference for exactly what you need. Hopefully someone that offers this will respond here. Talking to fellow condo owners and getting one person to work for several condos will usually get you better service and price. Most independent service people charge higher cost if there is only one condo at intermittent dates needed.

  28. Hello I have been reading all your information on real estate and Playa del Carmen. I am looking to invest in a possibel condo project and want to buy land for it. I would like to get your thoughts on: 1. Good realtors about land. 2. Areas that I might look at. 3. and any mistakes or things people have done well before when starting a big project. Thank you in advance.

  29. I am looking to purchase in the Five Playa Del Carmen and I read the restriction for the first 8 years and the 5-8% return. It sounds too good to be true but need advice to purchase and get best return

  30. Hello, am looking to invest in the area and want to know what the best person to deal with is. There seems to be a lot of agents but that does not mean they are good. Thanks

  31. I’m having a very difficult time getting my 1 bedroom condo in Centro on the 3rd property management company and they can’t seem to get it rented. Can you recommend a property manager that can actually do what they say they can do?

    • Hello Clark

      We are sorry to hear you are having trouble renting your unit. We do not have any recommended property management companies on our site because we have not worked any one in particular. We do however recommend several good realtors that work with their clients giving full service and recommending people to work with. We have a select few on our website that have worked well with readers. A good agent will be an investor as well with personal experience in dealing with management companies. We would be interested in hearing who you have worked with and what you did not like about them. Perhaps in an private email. We like to hear feedback from readers on services so it can help up know what services people like and don’t like. We wish you the best in finding a management company you like and if you do find one that is doing a good job, please tell us.

  32. Hello and thank you for this information. I have seen a lot of websites with real estate but some seem so spamy and overly glossy. There are a lot of helpful details here.

  33. Please let me know where is this property located in Playa del Carmen. Is it 75000 canadian dollars and how old is the property.
    With thanks Mumtaz.

    • Hello

      The cheaper properties in Playa Del Carmen are found in planned communities called fracionamientos. These are newly built houses that are row homes or town houses. They tend to be small and compact. Most are meant for people to live there and are not the best to rent out for an investment. The best way to see them is a trip here and driving around. Each development has a sales office. No realtors really will show you these since most sales are done on the premises.

  34. Can you recommend a good notaria for setting up a fidesimiento (spelling) that has low fees and is honest and ethical. I speak Spanish and englishs

    • We have never heard anything bad about any of them and in general they are good. Notaria 35 gets a lot of business and likes for people buying in Playa. He speaks both English and Spanish.

  35. Doe one pay the seller directly? I mean what prevents them collecting the payment of say 300,000 USD and never see them again? What is the safe way to exchange payment for purchase when payment is wired internationally?

    • Most sales go through realtors and the payment is put into an account that is only transferred only after the notaria has made sure the paperwork with correct and signed. Any sale between a buyer and seller direct should be handled with care since there are things that are different in Mexico.

  36. I used to look at all the new condos and dream about living in Playa on day. Now I do. I am happy I made the plunge and am learning new things each day and finding my rhythm.

  37. Hi there! We want to buy a condo in playa, can you recommend a few agents? Can we get property recommendations & details, and probably do virtual tours with the agents? Thank you!

  38. Hello,

    First of all, thank you very much for a very informative article. We are thinking of buying a property in Playa del Carmen, close to the beach. I reached out to a local Remax office but I would really appreciate if you can recommend a honest realtor, noratio and an attorney. Thanks in advance!

  39. I am so glad to hear about the new gourmet Chedraui supermarket. That will be a nice addition and less hassel of going to 30th Ave.

  40. Hello, I am trying to understand the resale market in Playa. We just visited to look at resale units & we were shown mostly presales. I understand the bias toward new/presale units, including by realtors on this site, but I don’t get how one sells down the road.
    It is difficult to determine if a listing is still active or who the listing agent is (could be more than 1?). There seems little interest in showing another agents listing.
    As I dug into the resale listing ads I found that most were between 1 and 2 years old.
    I know a certain number of people are always wanting to sell. Do sellers use methods other than standard listing? Word of mouth through HOA’s?
    My fear is that this is a developer sales driven market, like timeshares, and that yes, you are stuck once you buy in. Despite my frustration at the lack of transparency, we are still interested, any insight anyone can give would be most appreciated.
    Thank You

    • Hello Edward

      Since many people are looking for an investment property, or something they can rent and then use part of the year or eventually move into at the time of retirement, newer condos work best. This is mainly because the newer look and features appeal to people on vacations. Condos built 10 years ago are different than those built now. For people that want to live in their condo, buying an older unit can get you more sq. meters.

      As far as agents not wanting to show other exclusive listings, well they do have a 3% less commission on those if they split it with the listing agent. For this reason it is good to have a good real estate agent that is working for you and it is clear that you are interested on possibly some older condos.

      As far as listings being old, there is a mishmash of websites. Some are not so good agents only copy and pasting listings to make it look like they have more to offer. Some of these are already sold, but still listing places online. Some people that own a condo, are not in too much of a rush to sell, so they list the property high and it sits for a while. Property taxes in Mexico are low, so there is not much pressure to sell fast to save from paying lots of taxes each year. Another reason is that any units are rented out and the owner can wait for a higher offer for the unit. Some people use word of mouth or even Facebook to sell their unit. This can be harder for buyers though because there can be some issues with the title or something that a realtor weeds out those listings so you don’t waste time.

      Most people don’t buy and plan on selling in a short time for a profit. The value comes in two forms. One is the roi for renting it out or the value of having a place you enjoy living in. Most properties hold value, but don’t skyrocket in value.

      It sounds like you are just thinking about getting into the market here in Playa. If you have any other questions, feel free to post in comments on one of our many articles about real estate. We also have an article about recommended real estate agents to work with on our website if you want to work with someone good that can guide you through the process well.

  41. Really helpful information about getting started with the buying process. We have been thinking of moving to Playa for sometime now and are ready to take the jumps since my husband took early retirement.

  42. This is very helpful advice! We are looking to buy our first condo in PDC this summer. We hope to get a two bedroom for under 300K. Our favorite area is Coco Beach part of Playa. Do you have a list of condos for sale in that area we can look over?

    • Hello Brian

      We do not sell real estate at our website but do refer people to recommended realtors that can offer good service to our readers. We will send you a message with the contact information.

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