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Owning A Condo In Mexico

condo ownership

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#21 CasiYucateco



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Posted 11 March 2014 - 11:13 PM

wpcoe, what you might like (I dunno), is a small one or two bedroom house with a small patio area without a large back garden.  You'd be the absolute owner, could paint or repair or remodel as you wished, be more removed from neighbors (some condo or depa walls are not all that thick), have good security with your own locks, and maybe even have a dip pool or slightly larger pool in your mostly cement patio.


As a new person in town, I'm sure your landlord and his realtor friend are just fine, but ... umm... well, ask around and check into things a little more than just with one person.  Don't just rely upon one person's word or recommendations. Try to get a feel for the "Spanish prices" versus the expat-targeted prices.   You can check classifieds in the Diario and other Spanish-language websites for houses for sale "Trato Directo"  which means "direct sale without agents or agencies"    You really only need a good Notario for the purchase, to insure the papers are in order, etc, etc.


With a little luck or poking around (be patient), you could come across a tiny little "Mexican house", buy it for relatively little, invest several thousand in fixing it up, and have a good solid place for 1/2 the price on many expat-oriented websites. (My friends will love me for saying this.) :o


Just widen your circles a bit. Usually, a friend of a friend is a good contact, but there are those cases where... umm... your enthusiasm may overtake your judgement due to the relationship.  (I have no idea who your landlord or his real estate agent friend is....  They might be good friends of mine!) :D

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#22 adler



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Posted 12 March 2014 - 01:08 AM


adler, thanks.  That's interesting.  With a departamento, since common areas aren't owned by co-owners, would they then relinquish all control over them?  Could whoever/whatever owns them decide one day to remove the swimming pool, for example?



It might happen and that's why the text on the escritura (real state ownership title) is fundamental then your right as wide or narrow the terms written in the legal title.


In this hypothetical situation, maybe they have absolute power over the common use areas, maybe there is no clause about the point, maybe they grant you access to the pool facilities. If a friendly settlement can't be reached must be necessary to file a lawsuit based on your escritura rights. To which extent? They either keep the pool or pay you for the damages caused by making your pool right nugatory.


I agree with CasiYucateco, check also the Spanish prices … even with Notarios they raise their prices too.

Bear in mind you must use a Notario to elaborate an escritura and with some types of very formal contracts (like setting up a company). For example, you don't need a Notario to make a mexican will, there is another perfectly legal way to do it, off course they do not to mention it. Wrapping it up, in some cases, you could use a Notario or a Lawyer (they aren’t synonyms). (If there is any Notarios in here, sorry guys I don't mean to be harsh I'm talking of what I've seen ) 


Are you aware of the property ownership restrictions to the foreigners? If not, I suggest you review the forum or the community might properly fill you in.

#23 wpcoe


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Posted 12 March 2014 - 04:36 PM

Points well taken.  I really do favor a small colonial house with a smallish back yard, and have only really seen just that one condo advertised which caught my eye.


A LOT of learning will take place starting in about a week when my feet hit the pavement in Merida.


I had wondered about inflated prices, particular on English-language web sites that are obviously targeted for gringos. e.g. I found one place that's only 1.5 blocks from the Zocalo and the web page breathlessly advertised the price as US$90k with "REDUCED" *flashing* after it.  Then found another less glitzy web site with the same place and the adjacent house advertised as MXN1,000,000 and MXN1,100,000, or about US$75k-85k, and I have a hunch that even that is negotiable.


Ah, lots of fun in store for me!   :)

#24 CasiYucateco



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Posted 12 March 2014 - 04:46 PM

Buyers change what they want and may tell one website, all of them, or none of them.  Prices on websites are just guidelines.


As an aside, due to all the expat purchases in many areas of Centro, the local sellers have got it through their heads that any old ruin (and I mean ruin) is worth a minimum of $100,000 US. It's just become sorta conventional wisdom.


Yes, much better prices can be found, but don't just assume because a crazy-sounding price is asked, it is because you're a foreigner.  It could be "the going price" in their minds.


Gossip is THE major national pastime so "word on the street" is hard to out-run, but there are various combinations of sellers and situations.  You can find interesting deals, but you have to be closer to the locals than the expats, in most cases. Distressed sellers can be found.


Also, just amble around town, looking for SE VENDE and a phone number newly painted on a house.  Those sellers often just paint the words and number, then forget about it until someone calls.  (And Yes, real estate "agents" hound them to list their houses, but not all locals are trusting of expats and websites).  Trato Directo are the magic words in some cases where they don't think a pile of rocks is worth a million dollars. 

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#25 wpcoe


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Posted 12 March 2014 - 05:29 PM

On my "walks" through neighboorhoods via Google Earth Street View, I have noticed LOTS of "se viende" on the fronts of houses.  I'm not extremely fussy (I keep trying to convince my friends...) but basically want a clean, safe neighborhood where things are comfortably walkable.  I've not owned (nor even driven) a car in the 13 years I've lived in Thailand, and kinda like that lifestyle quirk.


I cannot say enough how much I appreciate all the advice that's been given on the forum.  I feel much better equipped to start looking around.  I know enough to know that I don't know enough.  Like in the roof thread, I started that knowing that there's always a reason why things are done the way they've been done for decades (centuries?) but want to learn those reasons so I can avoid costly, embarrassing and/or lethal mistakes.  I've done my share of tilting at windmills in my life, and as I've eased into retirement have focused on reducing stress, and one way is to not fight everything I don't understand, but I still have a nagging need to understand.  Kind of my own personal Catch 22 there.   :D

#26 fiege1224



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Posted 05 July 2017 - 09:19 PM

In a couple situations I'm aware of, the caretaker of the small condo buildings was not of sufficient social class to challenge any of the condo owners. I don't know what sort of legal action the rest of the condo owners could take to force payment of fees, but the legal system is one people generally avoid as a rule.


Regarding some Chuburna condos where I spent many enjoyable visits, the caretaker is a poor man who works hard to clean and maintain the common areas. He stays in a small one room  cement 'house' at the back of the property during the week when few people were around. On the weekends, he went to his other small cement room in town, where his family lived.  If he had ever attempted to tell a condo owner what they could or couldn't do.... well, he wouldn't do that because he really needed this work.


In one case I know of, east of Progreso/Chicxulub, there was a dispute over condo ownership. The person holding the ownership papers, but who tried to cheat the occupant out of a pile of money, did not pay the condo fees for several years, while the occupant (who installed heavy protectores and iron door with a huge lock - refusing to vacate) did pay the dues. It looked like a heavy duty prison cell beside other normal condo units.


This went on for over 5 years until the reputed owner finally paid damages the occupant insisted upon, lawyers were paid, legal cases dropped, and the occupant vacated the premises. (It is a long complicated story, but let's just say the person holding the papers had been very deceptive.)


In other words, throughout that 5+ year ownership dispute, neither the condo board (such as it existed), nor the caretaker (a poor family in an on-grounds two-room cement hut) could do anything about the heavy protectores which were installed and the heavy iron door which was intended to insure the occupant remained the occupant despite someone else holding the actual Escritura. Nor could anyone else interfere in the situation legally, which was much more serious than simply skipping a year's worth of dues. Nor would the police do anything until the legal cases were resolved and even then might not.


Having been a witness (and a shoulder to cry on) for that whole episode, at least in that case, the condo board or "management" was unable to do anything at all.


Personally, I just wouldn't get involved in a condo situation unless I was fully ready to accept the fact that I had zero control about what was going on in the rest of the units. Just accept that you have your own space and don't have any expectations about all the rest. If that works out, then you can be pleasantly surprised by well-kept grounds and quiet neighbors if they happen, rather than bitterly disappointed that you can't control the things you don't like which keep happening.

Heck, a single family house with a neighbor who burns their trash is bad enough. You can't even fix problems in those cases. Accept loud music, voices, smells, smoke, etc.... or maybe live out in the country. This sounds much worse than it is, but plenty have complained about all those.



What can you tell me about the Chuburna condos? You seem to like them when a lot of people don't. I am looking into buying one of them now. Thanks

#27 lippincottfarm



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Posted 17 July 2017 - 03:35 PM

I also am going to add in:  if you are looking at a condo situation, check to see where your propane tank or air conditioning unit is located.  I am aware of one building which started out as apartments, but has since changed to condos.  All of the propane tanks for each unit are located on the roof of one of the condo units (not in a common area).  Of the condos for sale, that condo (the one with all of the propane tanks for each separate condo unit) was sold with no language allowing the other propane tanks to remain on its roof. The caretaker was talking about this and said that if the owner of that condo unit decided she/he no longer wanted those propane tanks on her roof, she could have them removed.  Thus, the other units would be sh** out of luck with each one having to pay her rent for their individual propane tanks or would have to move them to the roof of each individual condo unit.   

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