Dreaming of purchasing that perfect beachfront house in Mexico? Tired of traveling to resorts and all the hassle of setting up your travel plans. Why visit when you can own your own beachfront property. Well, you will need to know what you are doing a little better, before you start looking. The following government restrictions, environmental concerns such as erosion and many other factors all need to be taken into consideration when buying property in Mexico:
1. Erosion Detection
Erosion is specifically problematic when it comes to beachfront properties. The ideal property is not going to simply fall down and slip away into the sea in a couple of years. Properties that have a higher elevation stand a better chance of withstanding erosion for longer. If you are looking at properties that are windward or at the receiving end of a storm channel, a minimum elevation of 7 feet is recommended. Erosion is the enemy of property development. You only need to look at what remains of the beach in Cancun’s hotel zone to understand how devastating erosion can be.
2. Vital Sand
You want to ensure that the sandy beaches bordering the property are sustainable well into the future. The following factors are important to take into consideration to ensure beachfront vitality for years to come:
– A swash zone where waves break consistently during normal weather conditions.
– A beach face which is the flat area that provides ideal seating or sunbathing landscape.
– A wrack line is the highest mark that water can reach during storms and bad weather.
– A berm is where you can detect a rise in elevation. Ideally, green vegetation should be growing at this point where it borders the wrack line. Keep in mind that plants cannot grow where salty sea water is being dumped.
Each of these factors are important when choosing a property. If you choose to compromise on just one of these to negotiate a lower purchasing price, you do so at your own peril.
3. Avoid Pristine Beaches
Although a clean, white, sandy beach may seem attractive, this should be avoided at all costs to ensure the future of your property. The wind is responsible for the pristine beachfront and if it can remove trash, it can remove anything. Find beaches that are littered with natural and other trash – you can easily take care of a regular clean-up yourself. However, if you choose a windward property, you will find yourself fighting a losing battle. Wind erosion can be extremely damaging to properties and unfortunately, much of the Mexican Caribbean is prone to it.
4. Rocky Shores
Rocky beaches are not strictly considered to be beaches but rather coastline. Check the beach for exposed rocks as this may be a sign of erosion. Also check the immediate seafloor to ensure that it isn’t rocky. A beachfront that is sandy but where the seafloor is rocky probably means that the developer brought beach sand in to cover the rocky shore. The sand will wash away and expose the rocks below before long.
5. Protection from Offshore Reefs
An offshore reef is a huge bonus when it comes to beachfront properties. Not only will it help protect against erosion, it will actually encourage accretion. Accretion is the polar opposite of erosion and is the process of additional sand being deposited resulting in a wider, sandier beach. The more the beach grows, the greater the appreciation in value of your property will be.
However, you will need to do some additional research into the specific reef system. Some reefs do more harm than good like the one in Costa Maya which is the second largest system in the world.
6. Identify Reef Troubles
First and foremost, a dying reef is to be avoided as it will cause more trouble in the long run. For example, the reef system at Cozumel which was once thriving has largely died. Reefs that are exposed or lie just below the surface of the water may cause the ocean to become stagnant on certain days (but will help the battle against erosion. Deep water reefs on the other hand will not have much effect on erosion.
7. The Wetland Jackpot
A property that includes the above-mentioned factors as well as a wetland behind it is probably the best deal you can get. Wetlands or mangrove swamps are protected by the Mexican government. This is because these natural features are critical in providing nutrients that support reef systems. The wetland will provide the same nutrients to the water system below your property increasing the property value.
Due to the fact that wetlands are protected, it will restrict further development behind your property. This will ensure future privacy which is an important factor in beachfront property investment. A good example of over-development is in Playa del Carmen where the streets behind the beach grew from just 3 to 60 in no time leaving the original property owners with little to no privacy.
Pop-in at your potential neighbors and find out what the neighborhood is like – birds of a feather are better suited to one another. Also check if there are any future development in the pipeline. If you are building a quiet seaside home, the last thing you need is for a party resort to open up right next door.
Pay attention to vacant lots as this is where future development will take place. If you are investing hundreds of thousands in a property with 50m of beachfront, be wary of smaller lots bordering the property. Once smaller houses have been built on these lots, they will detract from your property value as was the case in Puerto Morelos and to a smaller extent in Playa del Carmen and Playacar.
9. The Back-lot Trap
Ensure that there is plenty of room between the border of the beach road and the waterline to house your lot. If not, your lot could be pushed back as new developments arise leaving you with a back-lot property even though you probably paid beachfront prices.
Federal zoning laws require that property boundary needs to be 20m from the high-tide line. Also consider the public beach area and government restrictions on building that might combine to result in a back-lot property.
10. Closing Time
It is highly recommended to make use of a government attorney and reliable notary when it comes to dealing with the transfer and issues related to the title of the property. It is also advisable to have your own private attorney who does not have any interest in or other clients with the same development or developer.
Make sure that everything is translated in writing and that the translation is government certified that it is a true translation of the original documents. Be aware of signing just any document. A developer may have you unknowingly sign over the power of attorney or elect them as your proxy. This gives them the power to close without you. The only person who should every have power of attorney is your own trusted attorney who has your best interests in mind. Be smart and do not sign anything you do not fully understand and without letting your attorney read it first.
Check the lot number, closing figures and other numbers carefully at closing. Be sure that you have a Cadastrel number. This is the municipal inscription number and without it you are basically buying the dirt on the lot and not the title or ownership to the land. Make sure that meets-and-bounds parcels still conform with the previous title. Ask questions even if only the smallest doubt exists in your mind.
11. The Beachfront Lifestyle
The ideal beachfront home will be within walking distance of a store and restaurant. In general, you don’t want to be more than 1-hour drive from a store where you can pop-in for bread, milk and other basic necessities. Due to the fact that beachfront properties are in such high demand in Mexico, stores and other amenities are often located far away.
An international airport that is less than an hour away is a bonus. The property price should reflect the proximity of the nearest airport. Lots that are located in the middle of nowhere should cost much less.
It is also crucial to be aware of the infrastructure. Many beachfront properties cannot accommodate basic comforts such as running water and electricity. It may take years before a rural beachfront property gets access to electricity.
The Wake-Up Call
The reality is that most beachfront properties in Mexico are not going to meet every single one of the above criteria. However, if you can find a property that scores around 80%, then you have a winner. The village of Sisal, located near Mexico’s safest city (Mérida), is a rare find and matches around 90% of the above criteria.
The lower cost-of-living and the dramatically lower real estate prices makes Mexico an incredibly attractive option for purchasing a beachfront property.
Look into Yucatan Beach Property …
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