Answers To Frequently Asked Questions
About Buying Property on Cozumel Island
Are foreigners permitted to acquire property in Mexico?
Yes, foreigners may acquire property in Mexico. However,
if the property lies within a "restricted zone" such as
along borders or in coastal areas, it must be purchased
via a legal instrument called a "fidei comiso" or, bank
trust. This trust gives you, the beneficiary of the trust,
the same rights and obligations as full ownership.
How do I establish a fideicomiso?
A fidei comiso must be established and recorded by a "notario" or, notary public. Your real estate agent should be able to
recommend a notario to establish the trust as well as a bank to administer it. Notarios and banks charge competitive fees for their services and the fees depend partly upon the stated value of the property. Most real estate agents work with one notario who works with one bank but are, in fact,
able to work with those that you choose. Check out your options and get estimates on fees from a few different notarios and banks.
What information must I provide in order to establish a fidei comiso?
You'll need to provide basic information such as name,
address and phone number in the US (or other country
of origin), occupation and nationality. If married, the
same information will be required of your spouse.
You'll need to provide a copy of your passport and
tourist visa. The name, nationality, address and phone
number of any secondary beneficiary to the trust will
also be required.
How much does a fidei comiso cost to establish?
Again, costs vary from notario to notario and from bank
to bank. Your real estate agent should help you obtain written
estimates from notarios and banks regarding the fees for
the establishment and yearly maintenance of the fideicomiso.
How do I find a reliable real estate agent who will
protect my interests?
Ask lots of questions and interview several different agents
and/or brokers. Business operates at a slower pace in Mexico
so try not to be in too much of a hurry but you can insist
that your agent communicate with you regularly and keep
you posted during every step of acquiring a property.
Real estate agents will tell you that you don't need a
lawyer involved in real estate transactions. This is
technically true and your real estate agent should be
able to translate negotiations for you. However, if you
feel more comfortable that your interests, not the
interests of the seller, will be protected by hiring your
own lawyer then, by all means, do so. Remember, the real estate agent is paid by the seller, not the buyer. There are English-speaking lawyers
on the island knowledgeable in real estate transactions.
How much does an average home on Cozumel cost?
There really is no "average" home on Cozumel.
Property is priced based on what the seller and
real estate agent feel the property will sell for.
It's possible to find homes in town priced from around $75,000 US Dollars but be
prepared for repairs and renovations at this price. Though
bargains do exist, a more realistic price for a
home in town would begin around $125,000 US Dollars or more.
Beachfront homes, if you can find one for sale, start at
around $500,000 US Dollars. The best way to gauge prices
on the island is to look at many properties and then look
some more. This is the only way to truly get a feel for
the types of homes available and what is a reasonable price
to pay. Remember, your real estate agent represents the seller.
Can I obtain a listing of homes currently on the market?
A reputable agent should make a list available to you. It's
best to be specific about a price range when requesting
listings but be flexible too as you may find spending a
little bit more will get you a lot more in the long run. Also keep in mind that Cozumel is currently a seller's market. You will get more for your money by purchasing land and building your home.
What if 1 want to buy a home now but I don't plan to live in it until I retire?
There are plenty of property management companies on
Cozumel who can care for your property in your absence.
Again, ask lots of questions and interview several
companies. Find out exactly how your home will
be maintained and all the fees involved. Property
managers should be able to put your home into their
vacation rental pool if you desire. Additional fees
will be involved in the rental of your home and you should
receive a written contract which clearly states all
fees or commissions that you are expected to
pay as well as outlines how your home will be cared for.
The property manager should also provide you with detailed
monthly statements of your income and expenses along with
So where do I start?
One, don't be in a hurry. Visit the island and conduct your interviews of real estate agents and/or brokers until you
feel comfortable with one - or more. Remember, you don't
have to depend on just one agent. Most agents have their
own listings and some do not share theirs with others so
use all the available resources. Two, talk to friends and
acquaintances living on the island. Make a point to get to
know them and let them get to know you. "Locals" often know
of properties for sale which are not listed with any
realtor. Later, you can obtain a lawyer to
be involved in negotiations and in supervising the
purchase transaction. And three, be prepared to make more
than one trip to the island to find that perfect home.
Try to be prepared to make a spur of the moment trip
to the island should your agent call you with
a new listing that fits your needs and price range.
****Note: After receiving countless requests for information on buying real estate on Cozumel Island, I have provided the above information as a free service to those interested.It is based on questions which I am most frequently asked as well as my own personal experience as a foreigner buying property on Cozumel. Though the article is based upon a great deal of research, I am not a real estate agent and do not represent myself as, or claim to be, an agent or any kind of authority on real estate transactions. I hope the information presented here is of help to you in your pursuit of your island dream home. If there is anything else you'd like to read about in future articles please let me know.