1. Be Persistent, Be Patient in your Vacation Rental Search.
As I mentioned, looking for a property will be a time consuming effort. You must really want it and must be persistent. We had a few deals fall through, mostly due to the price. You will need to be prepared for several trips to find the right property.
We made an offer at a property at Lo de Marcos. This deal fell through because the agent did not seem forthcoming and was playing games around the price and the size of the lot.
Another offer in Litibu – a small, very dry and empty, village between Punta de Mita and Sayulita fell through again due to price. While the lot had great view of the Nayarit Ocean, there was no privacy, other lots where attached right next to that lot. It was extremelly dry village, without the lash jungle views available in San Francisco. As a result, there was not any shade available. This dryness was also concerning about water availability for us and our lodging guests. So our offer was reflective of these concerns and disadvantages of Litibu, which ultimately was not accepted by the seller. Ours here at www.SelvaSuites.com was our baby! 🙂
2. Find the Right Realtor with Knowledge of the Local Market in San Pancho!
It is important to have a good and honest realtor. Someone with experience, who will work with you, be interested in what you are looking for, but also be a consultant who will educate you about the local market, the purchasing process and protect your interests.
So many realtors simply want to “push” to sell a property. We did encounter a couple such realtors. The one that helped us purchase our property was excellent, very helpful, honest and hard working. She asked questions we would not have thought. She made sure we understood the process and the market. She was prepared for our meetings and had ready for us to see several properties whenever we scheduled our trips to San Pancho to look at properties.
Such a good and organized realtor will save you time and money by utilizing your precious time by showing you a lot of properties within a given time, so that you have lots of options.
Selecting a good realtor is crucial in the process of purchasing your dream real estate in Mexico.
3. Protected Trees and Environmental Impact Study – Manifestación de Impacto Ambiental (MIA).
Although this is great for the protection of the environment, it can be a bitch for your building plans! 🙂 This could be considered the equivalent of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) in the US. If you buy a jungle lot, as we did, it will have certain vegetation. You will want to preserve as much as possible for shading and to protect your lot from erosion. At the same time, there are certain trees which are highly protected and you may or may not be able to remove, if they happen to be located in the area you want to build. Which trees are protected? nobody could tell us or nobody wanted to tell us, so as not to get scared.
One of the deals’ reason of falling through was because there were trees which we thought were protected, the realtor thought it might be protected, but nobody could confirm. So we were very hesitant to make an offer without this information.
After a lot of research, we stumbled upon the community we eventually purchased. The developer of the community had already done the Study called MIA for all the lots they were selling, …. and it was available online!!!! We read it very carefully and we discovered this:
Protected Trees (no one will tell which ones, but here they are!!):
Palmas de coquito de aceite or Palm trees which produce a fruit nut (coco). This coco fruit can be processed and eaten. However, it is also the main food source of local birds and small animals in the area of San Pancho, Sayulita, Lo de Marcos and Punta de Mita. If these Palm trees are over 12 or 15 meters high, you are not allowed to cut them.
Tempizque Amenazado or the Endangered Tempizque. I do not know what that tree looks like. We did not have such a tree on our lot.
Here is the gray area; they may allow you to cut the trees if you agree to either re-plant some new trees of the same kind, on your lot and/or donate to the government for re-planting new trees maybe to a rate of 20 new trees for each tree you may want to cut.
We heard that the MIA report can be expensive and time consuming, because you are dealing with the government. We were very lucky in this area, because the developer already had the MIA done and we did not need to do it. It general, anytime you ask about the MIA, whether it has been done or what is the process, you will be given the run-around and vague responses.
4. Titled Property.
Extremelly important question: Is the property Titled (con escrituras in Spanish) or is it Ejido and if so at what stage of the Ejido?
Titled property legally belongs to a single person or corporation. It can legally be sold at seller’s/owner’s will. Ejido properties do not have clear legal ownership, instead they belong “to the people” the ejidatarios. If you want to buy an ejido property, you must do acrobatics, deal with Mexican beurocracy, pay a lot of money and go through a process which may take anywhere from 2 to 10 years. Ejido properties are extremely cheap compared to Titled properties, but they are so cheap for that reason. If you have time to invest and the patience to deal with this process, it might be worth it for you, because once you have managed to convert an Ejido property which you purchased very cheaply to Titled property, the price of the property will easily triple. For most people however, this is a very difficult process.
5. Water, Power, Drainage
Investigate and find what is the water situation. A scarce and extremely important resourse. Friends rented a vacation home in Cabo San Luca and half way through their vacation, the property run out of water. Imaging having this issue trying to rent your property. In San Pancho there is relatively more water and more rain that in Punta de Mita and Litibu. This is evident when you look at the surrounding environment and vegetation. However, even though there is more rain in San Pancho, this does not mean that the government will be able to provide you with water year round. Be prepared to build an undeground sistern and find ways of collecting the rain water to fill it up. Calculate your water consumption in order to figure out the appropriate sistern size.
Does you lot come with Electric Power services? Some developers have done the leg work to bring power to your doorstep. Some have not. We experienced two developers who were selling their lots at almost the same price per square foot, yet one had paved roads, water pipping to the property and electric boxes ready to be connected to the Electric company, while the other had done none of that. It’s easy to miss these.
If your lot is outside the main village, be prepared to have to build a septic tank. This is common thing in such areas and should not be area of concern.
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