Shopping for a Mexico vacation or retirement home is an emotional experience. It’s also time consuming and comes with a myriad of details. Some buyers, however, caught up in the excitement of buying a new home tend to overlook some items. Their home purchase turns into an expensive process. These errors generally fall into three areas:
- Paying too much
- Losing a dream home to another buyer
- Buying the wrong home
When you have a systematic plan before you shop, you’ll be sure to avoid these costly errors. Here are some tips on making the most of your home purchase:
Not working with a qualified Mexico real estate agent
In Mexico there are no licensing requirements to sell real estate (the state of Sonora is the only exception). Unfortunately, there are many people selling real estate that have no business doing such. The world is starting to change. The is a professional association that is trying to change this (A.M.P.I.). There is no education component to receive this membership so it is strictly buyer beware. There is also a certification process offered by the Mexican federal government called CONOCER. It is a standards based certification and at minimum your agent should have that. Mexico is also the land of generalists. Your agent may be a waiter by day, plumber in the evening and real estate agent on the weekend. Make SURE that the person that you are dealing with has a couple of years experience in real estate transactions and that real estate is their full time employment.
The process to own is safe but there are things that can (and do) go wrong. A true professional will protect you every step of the way.
Bidding without sufficient information
What price do you offer a seller? Is the seller’s asking price too high? Is it a deal? Without research on the market and comparable homes, you could lose thousands of dollars. Before you make that offer, be sure you have researched the market. A professional realtor, can offer an unbiased opinion on the value of a home, based on market conditions, condition of the home and neighborhood. Without knowledge of the market, your offer could be too much. Or worse, you could miss out on a great buying opportunity.
Buying a mis-matched home
What do you need and want in a home? Sounds simple. Yet, clearly identifying your needs and bringing an objective view to home shopping, leaves you in a better position. Sometimes, home buyers buy a home that is too large or too small. Perhaps they didn’t consider the drive to work, the distance to school, or the many repair jobs waiting for completion. Plan ahead. Use your needs list as a guideline for every home you view.
Before you sign any document, be sure the property you are considering is free of all encumbrances. As part of their services, a realtor can supply you with a copy of the title to ensure there are no liens, debts, undisclosed owners, leases or easements.
For $300 - $500 a professional inspector will conduct a thorough inspection of the home. This way, you’ll have an idea of the cost of future repairs. Make the final contract subject to a favourable report.
Shopping without pre-approval
It only takes a few days to get financing pre-approval. When you are shopping for a home, this gives you more power. A seller is more likely to consider an offer from a serious buyer.