Buying a Second Home

If you are now retiring, looking for a new adventure, or, if you have just finally decided not to freeze in the dark up north next winter, buying a second home here may be on the horizon for you. Whether you’ve been coming to Vallarta on vacation for years or are new to our area, there are ways to help insure your new home meets your needs.

Puerto Vallarta Conchas Chinas

First, please remember that while our area is easily accessible by numerous flights and, once you arrive, it has all the comforts of home, just in different packaging, Mexico does have its own system of property ownership quite different than where you live now. Even if you are well-versed in real estate transactions in your home country or other foreign locations, you will need help navigating the system here to insure you have proper title and a positive buying experience.

For narrowing down the properties from which you will choose your new home, the best advice is to find a real estate professional with whom you work well and stick with that person, asking him or her to assist you in finding properties, and yes, seeking his or her advice on any property you might find on your own—this is a “buyer beware” system and regardless of what you have heard about a property, or worse, what is represented on the internet, your local agent is the best person to ferret-out the underlying landmines you are surely to encounter attempting to search on your own.

Second, the majority of real estate purchases here involve the deposit of 100% of the cash payment into escrow to complete your purchase. There is a minimum of traditional bank financing with much higher interest rates than you may be accustomed, and even in preconstruction properties, most builder financing is limited to the time of the construction and requires cash payments, usually over 18-24 months. As with any second home, security in being able to continue to own the property without subjecting yourself to undue financial strain is paramount. Spending what you can comfortably is the way to go, and if that means starting with a smaller property or starting now to accumulate that cash “nest egg” for buying in the future, then so be it.

Third, think outside the box about the type of home you might purchase. Many arrive here wanting “single-family homes” only to find the price-points and designs for such are geared to the rental and vacation markets, and are not necessarily conducive for you to actually reside in for several months. Our condos (and yes, many are the size of private villas) are frequently the best option for those of you who may not be here full-time, who may be traveling in-and-out over the course of a year, or who, if staying here throughout our summer, may need some climate-control options like air-conditioning.

Sunset in Puerto Vallarta
Los Arcos in Puerto Vallarta

Fourth, as part of the buying process, your agent will be able to assist you with a successful closing. Closing a sale as a foreign purchaser here means buying your property in a specialized bank trust designed to accommodate the transaction, giving you all incidents of ownership and control over your home, plus it will pass to your loved ones easily and without drama if your years here are regrettably cut short by death. And remember, the most experienced attorneys and accountants for property transactions are those already interfacing with the Notary offices which routinely process bank trust deeds for foreigners.

Likewise, as part of the buying process, your agent can recommend a variety of persons to assist you in any way necessary as you transition to owning a place in this beautiful blue-water bay—hopefully, you’ll love this area as much as those of us who have lived here for years!

If you would like further information on this topic or help, please find the link to our agency page here.  Our agents will be happy to assist you.