When is the best time to buy Real Estate in Costa Maya, Mexico? The sooner the better in this growing tourist area along the Caribbean Sea!

Real Estate in Costa Maya, Mahahual is experiencing more interest and sales than in the past eight years! The Port of Costa Maya has more cruise ships docking than ever before along with a significant increase in destination visitors and the recently added Mayan Water Park in Nuevo Mahahual is drawing more tourists to the area. There are still some great deals left from the 2008 recession however the “steals are almost gobbled up, so now is the time to buy!

What Nu Vista Real Estate can do for you:

Once you have communicated what type of property is of interest to you, we can make suggestions of specific properties and arrange to show them to you, and also make some inquiries of any for sale by owner or other non-exclusively listed properties on your behalf.

  • Your understanding and best interest is our top priority at every stage of the buying process in order to help you reach an agreement with the seller.
  • We will prepare an offer to purchase to present to the seller, and request any furniture, boat, etc., you may want included in your offer, followed by counter offers if necessary.
  • We review the property titles to all of our listings ensuring that you are buying the exact property as listed.
  • NuVista can refer you to local attorneys to handle the real estate transaction on your behalf. The formalization of a final contract and titling is done by a special type of attorney appointed for land transfers called a NotorioPublico. If you are a foreigner, an attorney will also apply for your permit from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, whether you title the property in a “Fidiecomiso” (a trust held for you by a Mexican bank) or a Mexican corporation, (which an attorney would have to set up for you). See METHODS OF TITLING, below.

Buyer Beware!

  • You should never give cash to a seller, or write a check out to a seller for a “deposit” or earnest money. All earnest money or deposits should be held in trust by a known company.
  • There’s a lot of gorgeous land, however, just because it may physically appear buildable, does not mean it has the proper zoning or type of title to allow immediate or even future construction. Even one lot being adjacent to another one with a building on it, does not mean that lot is buildable. Prior to closing, NuVista will help you obtain a legal designation for the property.
  • Closing and obtaining title to a property will always involve a written contract beyond the offer to purchase, and signing additional paperwork with a Notorio Publico.


Without a doubt, purchasing real estate anywhere in the world is no trivial matter, and Mexico is no exception. Thankfully, buying property in Mexico is also not difficult or risky if you utilize trusted resources. NuVista Real Estate has made it its mission to return clarity, transparency and integrity to the purchase and sale of real estate in the Mahahual/Costa Maya marketplace.

Once the decision has been made to purchase a property, we will assist you in preparing an Offer. This is an agreement between the Buyer, Seller and Agent, and is usually accompanied by an earnest money payment. In Mexico, earnest money payments are not customarily regarded as an escrow payment to be placed against the purchase price,  but rather are considered payments to encourage the Seller to take the property off the market. As a result, earnest money payments should never be paid directly to the Seller. Rather, earnest money payments should be deposited in a certified escrow account either through the Realtor’s escrow agent or through a certified title company and be legally designated as a partial payment against the sales price. Should the sale not proceed to closing due to an issue with the Seller, it will be much easier for the escrow agent or title company to return the deposit to the Buyer. The amount of the escrow deposit is typically 10%, however, if the owner is financing the transaction, this deposit may be increased to 20%.

The buying process in either case involves the services of an attorney and a Federally-sanctioned notary, known as a Notario. The status of a Notario in Mexico differs greatly from a notary in the U.S. In Mexico, Notarios are Federally appointed and are near the top of the legal system. It is their job to assure that the purchase and sale transaction, the “Compraventa”, conforms to all legal standards and that the chain of title is undisputed and clear of all encumbrances. In this respect, the responsibility of the Notario is very similar to the responsibility of a title insurance company. For his or her part, the attorney is responsible for gathering and reviewing all the closing documentation from the seller and delivering the documents to the Notario prior to the transfer of title under either of the above purchase methods. Both your attorney and Notario can provide you with a detailed proposal and timeline for their work before you move forward with them. Most of the attorneys and Notarios can complete their due diligence in about 90-120 days.

The anticipated closing costs should be estimated by your Notorio prior to closing and are customarily paid by the Buyer. The Seller is legally obligated to pay only capital gains taxes. Of course, the Buyer and Seller are free to negotiate these costs.

Required closing costs include:

  • a 2% transfer tax imposed by the Federal government, based on the assessed property value;
  • a 0.5% appraisal fee based on the assessed property value;
  • a 2% transfer tax collected by the Federal Notario;
  • fees to obtain proof of property tax payments, electric, water and federal zone statuses, etc;
  • a fee to conduct a title search, etc.;
  • the Notorio’s fees
  • *other miscellaneous expenses such as office expenses or travel costs are not included. All totaled, these closing costs normally amount to about 6% of the selling price.

How can I pay for a property?

  1. Cash
  2. Bank loan in your country
  3. Financing purchases via a Mexican bank is rarely available
  4. IRA funds
  5. Seller will carry a mortgage. Sellers are often willing to consider providing financing when suitable arrangements are made. Again, our Agents can assist you with making these arrangements using standardized contracts that protect the interests of both buyers and sellers.


There are two formal and well-defined methods that allow foreigners to indirectly acquire title to properties. As you might expect, there are several advantages to either method. Your lifestyle (for example, do you want to work and earn income) and your goals are best discussed with your accountant and attorney.

(1) Foreigners can form a Mexican corporation with two members constituting the Board of Directors, with or without the participation of a Mexican citizen. While there are a few restrictions on foreign ownership of certain businesses, including mining, airports and telecommunications, there are no investment restrictions on foreign-owned Mexican corporations aimed at buying and developing property in the Restricted Zone. In this case, the foreign-owned corporation can own the property in perpetuity.

There are several types of corporations, each with its own suffix. The two basic corporation types are the S.A. de C.V. and the S. de R.L. de C.V. The S.A. de C.V. is essentially a limited liability corporation of shares and the S. de R.L. de C.V. is a limited liability partnership. Choosing which type of corporation to set up is important for tax purposes abroad and in Mexico, and again you should speak with your attorney and/or your accountant on both sides of the border to understand the benefits and costs entailed with each. Setting up the right type of corporation to suit your needs will save you time and money in the long run.

(2) Alternatively, foreigners can create a bank trust, known as a Fideicomiso, to hold the purchased property in trust for fifty years. The Fideicomiso can be perpetually renewed, so ownership of the property in the trust is virtually perpetual. The Fideicomiso allows the Seller to irrevocably transfer the property to a legal bank trust and then allows the buyer complete access to that property, including its resale. There are no restrictions on the use of the property, including its rental or lease ability, as long as the use is legal. Establishing the trust will cost about $2,500, and banks typically charge an annual fee between $500 and $900 to maintain the trust.

Both of the above methods for acquiring indirect title have been time-tested, making the purchase of title insurance readily available in Mexico or abroad under either approach. The 2 major title companies used are: Stewart Title and First American Title.

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