It took us over a year, but we finally closed on a piece of land here in Puerto Morelos!

Future home of Casa TBD
Future home of Casa TBD

It might not look like much now, but we have big ideas!

The lot is just over 300 square meters, and it’s just two blocks from the beach, and a 5 minute walk to the town square. It’s a great location, and, as you can see, has an awesome palm tree!

Property Hunters

Early in 2019, we started looking around at different lots here in town. We found a few, but none of them had their paperwork in order. We’ve been cautioned, that you really don’t want to buy anything unless all the paperwork is in order.

As we continued to search, and ask around, we talked to a Canadian guy who’s been here forever, and he said he knew of a friend who might have a lot for sale. A few introductions later, a few back and forth emails, and we had found a lot we loved, and we agreed on a price. The owner assured me he was the proper owner, and all the papers were in order.

From there, we contacted a lawyer to assist us in the process. As he started his work, he found out that when the owner bought the lot almost 20 years ago, it wasn’t officially filed and registered properly. Doh! So, he had to dig back into old papers, contact the state, contact the notary from 20 years ago, figure out what happened, and get it all registered properly.

That process took over a year! Crazy.

Bessie, our Basset Hound
Bessie – waiting

Back then, property transactions were recorded in a “big book” – no computers – which made things extra difficult.

But, after a year, the lot was finally properly registered and recorded in the owner’s name. Now it could actually be sold to us. It didn’t help that in the middle of all that, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, so many government offices were either closed, or operating at a reduced capacity.

From there, it only took about a month before we had our closing date.

Closing Time

Closing was a bit anti-climatic, actually. We met our lawyer at the notary’s office, signed a handful of things, and that was it. As it’s just a lot, there wasn’t even the classic “handing over the keys” moment. No worries, it’s all ours now!

Closing during a pandemic
Closing during a pandemic

A few financial tidbits

  • We used an escrow company, which gave us some piece of mind when transferring large sums of money.
  • The sale price was negotiated in US Dollars, which is common for this area.
  • We transferred USD to the escrow company, so we didn’t have any currency-conversion costs.
  • The guy we bought it from lives in Canada, we’re from the US, and the property is in Mexico. But, that was all a non-issue.
  • We do have a fideicomiso, which is essentially a trust. The cost for the bank to “manage” that is about $500/year. I’ll try to do another post soon with more details on fideicomisos.
  • Our closing costs were about 7% of the property price.
  • Lawyer fees were additional
  • Property taxes for 2020 for the lot were $2324 pesos (about $105 USD)
  • For paying our lawyer and closing costs, I used TransferWise. (see our previous post regarding TransferWise).

Overall, it was a fairly easy process – just lengthy due to the paperwork mix-ups from 20 years ago. We were very glad we had a lawyer – he handled all the paperwork, and made things very easy for us.

Us at our new lot!

Next up – lets build a casa!

And now starts our next adventure: building a house! We’ll have many more posts on this – stay tuned!