Blog los arboles tulum, mexico purchase of the building lot



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BLOG - LOS ARBOLES TULUM, MEXICO PURCHASE OF THE BUILDING LOT

My wife and I are in the process of building a house in Tulum, Mexico. This is the first, in I hope, a series of articles describing the experience.

Los Arboles, like most residential developments, have lots available from the developer and lots being re-sold by previous buyers. We worked with an agent who represented several of those re-sale lots. After walking them, we decided to purchase one from the developer. Even though one of the re-sale lots available was asking $15,000 less than the developer, we did a “Ben Franklin” comparison of the choices.

Our spread sheet listed items such as:

how may cars will drive by each day

what is the proximity of the community pool (a minus in our case since we were planning a pool of our own)

possible added legal costs of a re-sale lot, any unpaid association fees on a re-sale lot

what is the distance to the front gate of the development

any added costs to build on one lot versus another, etc.

Everyone’s list will of course be different. I find using an Excel spreadsheet gives me more confidence when I am “shooting from the hip” is these types of decisions. In reality though, most people, including myself, just make an emotional decision. If the spreadsheet supports what you decide, great. If it doesn’t, just delete it.

After walking a few of the available lots in Los Arboles, the developer’s sales agent informed us of the discounted purchase price. We made an offer of about 15% less. In addition, since my wife is in the business of selling real estate in Tulum, we asked for the “broker’s” discount. In this case, the developer agreed and reduced the price further.

As you know, the use of a notary is mandatory in the Yucatan. However, many buyers also work with an attorney when purchasing. The fees to purchase in the Yucatan usually run about 7% of the purchase price. Using an attorney and or notary who are already experienced in the development you are purchasing in can save you 1,000 to 3,000 dollars.

After wiring the money to the developer’ account in the U.S., we paid the attorney to begin the process of adding the purchase to our existing bank trust or “fedeicomiso”. We previously purchased a condo in Mexico and the costs to add another property to it can be recouped in about 3 years, versus creating a new fedeicomiso.

In order to begin the title and deed work, the attorney requested the following from us:

Source of the purchase price of the lot (there is a new “law of transparency” in the Yucatan)

Photocopies of our Mexican and U.S. I.D.s

Copies of utility bills in our names (much of Mexico relies on utility bills to confirm your address, but we lived in Georgia, and they required the same to get a parking sticker)

A general buyer information sheet stating the buyer’s names, addresses and how we wanted the title to be held

$6,761 wired to their bank in the U.S.

The wired attorney fee was comprised of the following:

Fees to add a property to an existing Fideicomiso $ 1,760.00

Acceptance of the contract + VAT $ 435.00

One Permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs $ 1,125.00

Annual trust Fees increases + VAT $ 200.00

Acquisition Tax of Recorded Tax Value 2% $ 1,488.00

Appraisal's Fees $ 250.00

Certificate of Freedom from Liens $ 60.00

Certificate of No Pre-Existing Tax Liability seller

Certificate of Municipality Contribution seller

Water Certificate seller

Cadaster Property's ID seller

Public Registry Fees $ 350.00

Fee per page of Public Deed to be filed $ 200.00

Rights of Public Deed $ 100.00

New Owner-Change of owner municipality Form $ 50.00

Preventive Acquisition Notice (Public Registry) $ 140.00

Administrative fees $ 150.00

TOTAL TAX AND EXPENSES $ 4,548.00

TOTAL NOTARIOS FEES $ 1,175.00

Value Added Tax - VAT $ 188.00

INTER LEX MEXICO/Title Search/Legal Rep $ 850.00

TOTAL CLOSING COSTS /USD $ 6,761.00

Foreign buyers in Mexico often use a power of attorney for the actual purchase. It saves the time and expense of travel.

While waiting for the attorney and architect to do their work, I purchased a Home Depot machete and did a little clearing. The following pictures give an idea of how several short days of trimming allows one to see the lay of the lot. A caution here though, a permit is required for lot clearing as is identification of endangered trees. Locally, the only one is a species of Palm which I was fairly certain that I had none. To be on the safe side, I only cut down enough to see the best driveway location.



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Since our architect lived in three hours away, I wanted to give him an idea of the lot’s topography. The following is my crude attempt, recording elevations in meters. Yes, the use of a trained surveyor would have been superior but my builder contacts knew of none. Perhaps they prefer I simply give them the project from start to finish. By the way, the Yucatan has some excellent builders and workers. However, there are also hundreds of “self styled” experts in all phases of building construction. Yet, when you ask someone for say, a recommended plumber, they shake their heads no. I selected the driveway location to minimize the cost of grading hills and filling depressions.




The developer of Los Arboles drafted a comprehensive construction document. It may be found at www.losarbolestulum.com. See the build tab at the top of their home page. I forwarded a copy to my architect. The following are some items from it.

CONSTRUCTION RULES

2 SETS OF PLANS OF THE FOLLOWING ARE TO BE SUBMITTED:

FLOOR PLANS TO BE AT A SCALE OF 1:50 AND TO INCLUDE DETAILS OF:

THE FOUNDATION SYSTEM

WATER STORAGE

RAIN WATER COLLECTION

SEWAGE

WATER AND ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS



TYPICAL BUILDING SECTIONS AND ELEVATIONS TO SHOW:

METHODS OF CONSTRUCTION

LEVELS

TYPE OF SELECTED BUILDING MATERIALS



MAXIMUM HEIGHT IS 12 METERS

300 SQUARE METERS PER LEVEL FOR ROOFED CONSTRUCTION

THE THIRD LEVEL IS TO BE 50% OF THE SURFACE AREA OF THE

BUILDING


My wife and I provided the following notes to our architect. In the next installment of this article, it will be interesting to see if he even read what we sent him.

JUNGLE HOUSE PLAN IDEAS:

MAIN HOUSE – 2300 SQUARE FEET + - 2 BEDROOM SUITES ON THE SECOND FLOOR, 1 WITH A LARGE WALK IN CLOSET, DRESSING AREA AND MAKE UP AREA WITH NATURAL LIGHT?

THE LAND IS “OFF THE GRID” SO AIR CONDITIONING IS A LARGE DRAIN ON THE BATTERIES AT NIGHT

TREES WILL SHELTER EARLY MORNING AND LATE AFTERNOON SUN

NATURAL CONVECTION OF THE HEAT IN MID DAY SHOULD BE CONSIDERED. SOLAR POWER CAN RUN FANS AND AIR CONDITIONING DURING THE DAY

INCLUDE A SHAFT FOR A FUTURE ELEVATOR, FROM THE GROUND FLOOR TO THE ROOF, 3 METERS BY 3 METERS – BEST IF IT HAS ACCESS TO THE DRIVEWAY AND ALL FLOORS– USE IT FOR STORAGE CURRENTLY WITH TEMPORARY FLOORS

WE WILL BE DOING THE PLUMBING – PLEASE MAKE BATHROOMS AND KITCHEN VERTICAL AND ABUTTING EACH OTHER AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. THE PLUMBING DRAINS WILL ALL GO TO A COMPOSTING TANK WITH THE LIQUIDS THEN GOING TO VEGETATION IN THE GARDEN. THE DEVELOPMENT IS ALL “ECO FRIENDLY”

BELOW THE FIRST FLOOR WILL BE A ROOM 10 METERS BY 5 METERS, OR MORE, TO HOUSE THE BATTERIES, GENERATOR, SOLAR CONTROLLER, INVERTER AND TOOLS – ASSUME THE LAND WILL HAVE A SLOPE TO ALLOW ACCESS FROM THE OUTSIDE ONLY

TO RUN THE PLUMBING WASTE LINES, VERTICAL CHASES NEED TO BE IN THE PLAN TO HIDE THE PIPES AND ALLOW FUTURE SERVICE TO THEM. THE BEST PLACE FOR THE WASTE LINES TO EXIT THE HOUSE IS ABOVE THE BASEMENT GENERATOR/BATTERY/ TOOL ROOM

THERE WILL BE NO NEIGHBORS, SO PRIVACY IS NOT IMPORTANT

SHOWERS SHOULD BE PARTIALLY OPEN TO THE OUTSIDE TO REDUCE MOISTURE IN THE HOUSE

A ROOFTOP, WITH ELEVATOR ACCESS, HAVING A GRILL AREA, COVERED PERGOLA, SMALL KITCHEN, LIVING, LARGE DINING TABLE, TV AREA

ABOVE THE THIRD FLOOR ROOF WILL BE 20 SOLAR PANELS. CONSIDER ANGLING THE ROOF TO HELP POSITION THE SOLAR PANELS. HIDE THE WATER TANK AND SATELLITE INTERNET TOWER IF POSSIBLE

A 20 METER BY 2.75 METER LAP POOL LOCATED AT LEAST 7 METERS FROM ANY HOUSE. LANDSCAPING AND TERRACING

PREFER FLOORS TO BE STAINED CONCRETE. DO WE NEED TO BUILD ON PIERS TO RAISE FIRST FLOOR TO AVOID DISCOLORATION OF THE FLOOR?

SEE JOANNE’S PINTEREST LINKS SHE SENT WITH LOOKS OF WHITE, WOOD, GREY INTERIOR, BLACK STONES, ANTIQUE WOOD DOORS AS TABLES

A GUEST HOUSE WILL NOT BE BUILT NOW BUT PLEASE DESIGN ONE TO BE BUILT – 2 FLOORS, 2 BEDROOMS AND 2.5 BATHS, ABOUT 1500 SQUARE FEET – TO BE 15 METERS FROM THE MAIN HOUSE. MAYBE LOCATE IT AT ONE END OF THE LAP POOL

A GARAGE FOR 2 CARS TO BE BUILT IN THE FUTURE AND THE DOORS SHOULD NOT BE SEEN WHILE DRIVING UP TO THE HOUSE. SHOULD THE GARAGE BE BUILT WITH A PITCHED ROOF TO ALLOW STORAGE ABOVE THE CARS?

TO REDUCE CONSTRUCTION COSTS, PLEASE USE LARGE BUT STANDARD WINDOW AND DOOR SIZES. SCREENS ON ALL WINDOWS. COMMERCIAL GLASS PANELS FRAMED ON SITE MAY REDUCE COSTS. I APPRECIATE SQUARE BUILDINGS TO ALSO REDUCE COSTS WHILE MAXIMIZING SQUARE FOOTAGE.



FOR OUR OLD AGE, AN AREA ON THE FIRST FLOOR NEEDS TO BE CONVERTED INTO A MASTER BEDROOM SUITE IN THE FUTURE – MAYBE USE IT AS AN OFFICE FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS. MAYBE DESIGN THE FUTURE MASTER BATH NEXT TO THE HALF BATH ON THE FIRST FLOOR TO MAKE FUTURE PLUMBING EASY

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