Differences when buying Real Estate in Mexico

It was a culture shock for me at first when I moved from BC Canada as a licensed real estate agent to Playa del Carmen in 2003 to see the differences in how business is done between BC and Quintana Roo. 

Now that I have so many years of experience as an owner/broker of a real estate company in Playa del Carmen, the practices are second nature. 

However, I understand how foreigners feel when they cross the border and venture into the real estate market in Mexico.

It is our role to give you the education and information needed for you to make your own best decision when purchasing a property in Playa del Carmen or Tulum,  Mexico.

What are some of the differences between buying real estate in Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya Mexico vs buying real estate in  Canada and the USA?

First, it is important to know who you are working with and how they do business in Riviera Maya.

How experienced is the agent? Do they work with a reputable firm? References? Are they licensed to sell real estate in Riviera Maya?

Many “agents” are independent, with no real estate education or training, no experience, and no understanding of the fiduciary duty to you the customer. 

They are acting in their own interests, not yours. Be aware of this. 

The laws, the culture, and the language are different. 

Here are LIvingRivieramaya.com  we work in a Canadian model of real estate. 

I am the broker of my company and I have 5-7 buyer agents working at the agency. They meet with me and I am responsible for their actions. They work for you the buyer with your interests at heart.

In late 2014, there is a law in Quintana Roo that requires anyone selling real estate in any capacity should be licensed. 

Since early 2016 I have license number 83.

In all Quintana Roo,  there are only about 285 licensees,  where there are about 2500 “agents”.

Most “agents”  have no training,  no education,  and little experience, yet many foreigners trust them with a big investment.

For an agent to acquire a license to sell real estate, there is an educational component of the license that takes several months to complete. 

Then there is steps of the government agency to become licensed.

An agent must renew the license every year with 30 hours of continuing education!

This is one of the biggest differences in real estate in Quintana Roo and Quebec - the lack of regulatory enforcement of licensing.


Know who you are dealing with.


Next, the big difference is that there is NO central MLS where all properties are listed for all agents/ clients to search and see.

There are a million different agent websites, and it is very confusing because you can see the same property listed 5 times at 5 different prices.

Keep in mind that just because you see it online does not mean it's an accurate price or even that it is really for sale. 

We have access to all the properties and can show you any listing by anyone. 

We verify the true status of the property for you that saves you time money and energy.

There is a definite need to find and work with an experienced professional real estate agent when buying a home or a condo IN Playa del Carmen or Tulum or anywhere in Riviera Maya.

Another major difference is here in Mexico we are primarily a cash-based market.

Meaning the price you see is the price you pay in cash (wire transfer), from your own resources. No bank financing in Mexico for foreigners.

A very important consideration for owning real estate in Mexico is that the roles of notarios and lawyers are somewhat different.

Lawyers legally represent you at the purchase contract level and liaise with the notarios throughout the closing process to ensure you receive a clear title.

Notarios, by comparison, are lawyers with many years of experience. Then there are specialized courses and exams for notarios. Once all that is passed, a notario may be appointed by the governor of the state. It is a lifetime appointment.  There is one notario for 30,000 in each location.

What makes the notario so special in any real estate transaction?

Notarios are the only authority that can create a new deed,  or convey deeds between parties.

They are also the person to assess and collect and pay any capital gains tax for sellers.  The onus is on the notario to pay capital gains tax, not the owner.

If I were an investor like you reading this,  I might be daunted by this information.

Rest assured,  that when you want to own real estate in Mexico, at LivingRivieraMaya.com, we have served customers like you to ensure you have a smooth enjoyable process. You will make a safe and secure real estate investment in Riviera Maya.

Want to know more? Contact our Real Estate Specialist.

Click Here
Your team of Real Estate professionals in Riviera Maya
Your team of Real Estate professionals in Riviera Maya
Your team of Real Estate professionals in Riviera Maya
Your team of Real Estate professionals in Riviera Maya
Your team of Real Estate professionals in Riviera Maya
Your team of Real Estate professionals in Riviera Maya
Your team of Real Estate professionals in Riviera Maya
Your team of Real Estate professionals in Riviera Maya
Your team of Real Estate professionals in Riviera Maya