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FAQ

Is it difficult to get to Merida?

There are flights to Merida’s international airport (MID) from Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Toronto, and Miami.  The routes and schedules change regularly, so it is best to check with airlines such as United, WestJet, American, and AeroMexico.  The other options are to travel through Mexico City (MEX) and Cancun (CUN) which offer flights nearly hourly to Merida.

Is the water safe to drink?

Most of the water throughout Yucatán is billed as potable; still, most people choose to drink bottled or filtered water (Just like Los Angeles!). The simplest and least expensive option is to have bottled water delivered to your home. A more expensive initial investment, but more economical in the long term, is to have a filtration system installed. Reverse osmosis systems are the standard, and larger industrial versions are used by every major hotel in the peninsula.  Most of the restored homes on this website will have either bottled water delivered or a reverse osmosis system.

Can I build a pool on my property if it doesn't already have one?

Yes. With our balmy tropical weather, a pool, whether a full-fledged swimming pool or a cozy dipping pool, it’s a great asset to have with any home, and one you can use every day of the year. Blasting for pools with dynamite is now thankfully illegal in the historic center, but the time-tested method of picking away at the limestone to create a hole in the ground for a pool is still utilized. Often drilling equipment will be brought in as part of any remodel. However, it is wise to check with an architect or engineer about how the pool of your dreams will integrate with your specific property. You will want to locate it away from the septic tank, and to avoid the root system of any large trees. Further, a new law restricts building a pool closer than 1 meter from the property line of your neighbors. All of these issues are manageable but probably will require professional advice.

How long will it take to close on my property?

The fideicomiso process takes an average of four weeks. Getting all of the other necessary paperwork together takes anywhere from four days to four weeks. Setting up a corporation can take four weeks. From start to finish, the average time to close on a property for a foreigner is four to six weeks. Some of the oldest homes have perhaps never been sold, so gathering the necessary paperwork definitely depends on a number of factors which can’t be known from the start. But we’ve never lost a sale due to paperwork, although slight delays can occur.  Buying from a foreigner speeds the process as they’ve already completed the necessary paperwork.

What will my monthly expenses be?

Are you paring down or ramping up? It is possible to live very inexpensively in Mexico; it is also possible to live lavishly. It all depends on your lifestyle. Generally, a cleaning person will earn around 150 pesos per day; a gardener with credentials will earn around 250 pesos per day. Telephone and Internet charges are on a par with Europe and the USA; electricity is about 10% more expensive on average than Europe, the United States and Canada. Water is almost ridiculously inexpensive, as are property taxes.

How much are real estate taxes?

This is the good news. Real estate taxes are currently running at about 0.1% of the home’s value per year. As occurs elsewhere, the “value” of your home is determined according to an official government appraisal that typically is significantly lower than the true market value.

How long will it take to renovate my home?

This depends on the extent of the renovation. We have several well-respected local restorers who will be happy to show you their work. In addition, you can actually meet the homeowners and ask them directly how long things took, and what you might expect for your specific job.  The answers are as different as the homes themselves, however the permit process has gotten much more complicated in the last decade, so a month or two just for that should be considered normal.

Can I find good quality appliances and fixtures for my home here? Will I get a warranty?

Absolutely. More and more high-quality appliances with major brand names have become available in Yucatán. And in fact, many major appliances manufactured in México are made by divisions of companies based in the United States or Asia, including high-end manufacturers.

Are there any legal restrictions on what I can do to my property?

In some cases. The city of Mérida and specifically the zone known as Centro Histórico does impose legal restrictions on the homes in order to maintain the authenticity of the city. You can learn more about these restrictions by speaking to local restorers as well as inquiring with INAH (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia)  the governmental agency in charge of the country’s national treasures. However, if you build or renovate outside the city limits  a hacienda or beach home, for example  these restrictions do not apply.

Is there a legal description, means and ways or other ways of describing property location? Do we need to survey the property?

The lawyer does all of this in conjunction with the trust bank.  Some of the homes we sold had never been sold before, simply handed down through the generations within the family.  Or they had not been sold in the last 40 or 50 years, so new measurements were always required.  The fideicomiso and your “escruturas” (writings) will show the property exactly as it is, including where it is located within the designated city block.  All of this and everything else will be given to you at the closing.

What happens if the bank gets into financial trouble or burns to the ground. Are there procedures in place?

The Mexican bank only holds the title in your name, it is not an asset of the bank, it is yours as a foreign owner of Mexican property.  You are able to sell the property, rent it out, or will it to your heirs.  Scotiabank Inverlat is a Canada-based worldwide financial institution with hundreds and hundreds of branches throughout the world, they are prepared for any contingency. All banks would operate similarly.

Do you have any suggestions on how to manage the house as an English speaking absentee landlord. How do I pay bills, get vendors etc? It seems that it would be preferable to have an English speaking property manager.

Individuals who are trustworthy and have been managing foreigners’ houses for years and years are available, or there are also several new companies which can do anything from checking in on your house once in a while to managing the home as a rental property.  We have names of any type of manager you would like to interview, most are long-time friends of ours.

Do I need to open a local bank account?

If you were going to spend over a month here at a time it might be a good idea… the only thing is that to open a bank account you would need to have a valid Temporary or Permanent Resident Visa to do so.  Most management people and companies could be paid in cash or wire transfer for their services.  One does not need a Mexican bank account to purchase a home in Mexico.

What is the water source?

Yucatan is sitting on one of the world’s biggest and best limestone aquifers.  If you have seen pictures of, or actually visited any of our stunning cenotes (underground river caves) you can get the idea of how much beautiful fresh water we’re blessed with here.  None of it is visible from the surface, and that’s partly what keeps them so pristine.  Merida and the beaches nearby have city water available, further out water is trucked in.  Also, nearly every private house in Merida has its own well tapping into that porous aquifer.

How bad can the hurricane season get there?

This is a hurricane-prone area, being flat and basically in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.  Even so, we have only had five bad hurricanes in the last fifty years.  The city of Merida experiences far fewer storms than they do on the Caribbean side, and fewer even than the beaches north of town.  All in all, there are significantly fewer hurricanes than are experienced in Florida.

Is there a big concern in regards to crime?

Merida is officially the safest city in Mexico, always neck and neck with Aguascalientes for the title of safest!  The crime of the larger cities of Mexico and the US have not made inroads here.

Are there good health care facilities?

Among the best available anywhere.  Merida is the place where everyone from the whole peninsula comes for healthcare.  We have many hospitals and most are state-of-the-art.  Most doctors have studied in Mexico City at prestigious medical schools, and many also have studied and/or worked in the US.

From what I read, foreigners cannot own the property, is that correct?

Foreigners may own property if it is located within 50 kilometers of the beaches, and 100 kilometers from the borders through a fideicomiso trust, held by a Mexican bank. The Mexican bank only holds the title in your name, it is not an asset of the bank, it is yours as a foreign owner of Mexican property.  You are able to sell the property, rent it out, or will it to your heirs.

Are you able to help us find a good lawyer/notario?

Absolutely.  We can whole-heartedly recommend several lawyers, most of whom have decades of experience with real estate transactions for foreigners.  We recommend them because they  are consummate professionals who we have worked with for over a decade and who are able to deliver results, speak excellent English, and communicate exactly what is going on each step of the way, charge fair prices, and are pillars of this community But the key word here is recommended… if you or any other client would like to use ANY other notario, including the other professionals we use on a regular basis, we welcome it.  We receive no compensation from anyone we deal with.

Are the prices pretty firm? Would it be an insult to make an offer?

We strive to put a realistic pricetag on each of the homes we represent.  You can be assured that each home price has been discussed at length before it is published on our websites. With that said, one never knows the mood of the moment, some people might be open to negotiations, others not at all. We usually do a verbal offer the first go-round to get a feel for the pricing, then make it real with a formal written Offer to Buy contract once the price is finalized. It is “just business” to make an offer and shouldn’t be taken as an insult, but as we all know emotions run high during the buying and selling of a home anywhere, and doing it in a foreign country only adds to the drama.

What is required as down payment?

The standard is that we always ask for 10% of the purchase price within 5 working days of the signed contract, this money will go to the Earnest Money Account in Colorado, USA, with the remainder to follow later just a day or two before the closing. It’s possible a seller would consider a smaller percentage of deposit, but the normal is 10%.

What's the average interest rate to finance?

This obviously fluctuates with the markets, please contact any of the financial institutions for their best rates. (We have actually only had three deals done with financing here in Merida in the last 18 years.)

I've read that Mexico has a water shortage, what is the water source in Yucatan?

Yucatan is sitting on one of the world’s biggest and best limestone aquifers. If you have seen pictures of, or actually visited any of our stunning cenotes (underground river caves) you can get the idea of how much beautiful fresh water we’re blessed with here. None of it is visible from the surface, and that’s partly what keeps them so pristine. Merida and the beaches nearby have city water available, further out water is trucked in. Also, nearly every private house in Merida has its own well tapping into that porous aquifer.

What is the electrical source?

In Merida, all homes are on the electrical grid, and at most of the beach areas as well.   Most homes are equipped for 220 volts. Solar panels, once prohibitively expensive, are becoming commonplace and quite affordable, taking advantage of our sunny days. The flat roofs are perfect for placing the panels out of sight.

Does Yucatán have public sewage?

Every property  whether a business or a private home  has its own septic system. These natural waste disposal systems are essentially giant concrete tanks buried somewhere on your property. They require little maintenance, but as the owner of the property you will want to know its location. An engineer or even a plumber can tell you where it is, if you do not get the information from the seller.

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