looking for lots of land. what an experience!

looking for lots of land. what an experience!

What a two weeks! I’ve been out and about searching for real estate agent help as well as the actual real estate itself. How frustrating! First, the agent I made contact with who said “I’d be happy to help you”, didn’t.

I sent him six links and all the info I had managed to accumulate in an attempt to gather details about a property of interest to me. After five days, I gave him the “thanks but no thanks”.

I made first contact with him on a Wednesday. By that following Monday, I had managed to get the details I was looking for. When I made contact with him after five days, he admitted to not having done a thing saying he was “busy with other clients”.

So I moved ahead and made contact with the owner of the property myself. It was a lot in the suburbs in, what was described, as an up-and-coming residential area. It was one of many that are being built around the city I live in.

On Friday, the property owner and I met and went for a drive to the lot, which was 10 kms out of town and another 2 kms into the jungle. The moment we arrived I had the answer to all my questions (and then some).

As we headed down the highway, the woman who was selling the lot “mentioned” that she still does not have title and has been waiting for more than two years.

Yeah, I know, right? (I held my tongue and my mad face, don’t worry)

We arrived at the property road which was nothing more than an incredibly grown over path. It was not leveled, let alone cleared of vegetation, but you could see where machinery did, at one point, make an effort.

That too, was likely more than two years ago.

On the way home she confided that she had, only seven months earlier, relocated from Mexico City and worked here online reselling properties (her specialty) she said. Clearly she was without the necessary experience to buy land for herself, let alone sell to another.

The kicker for me was her outright denial that she’d been duped. She was adamant that she “owned that land” and appeared a bit out of joint when I casually warned her about selling property for which she cannot prove title (while in my head saying “what a waste of time this was!” and wishing she had told me about her lack of title during one of our many email exchanges).

The next morning I messaged her and gave her the “thanks but no thanks” (it was my theme last week) regarding the land and that was that. At least for me. She is still stuck with a cash drop into land that she can’t do a darn thing with and her attempt to re-sell land (online) that she legally has no business re-selling just made me glad to be home again with all my pesos in my pocket.

After her, I made contact with two more developers, both of whom seemed to describe themselves in similar situations.

Both are selling plots of subdivided land in a rual area (it’s actually private land) but, he told me more than once, they have not yet begun any developing (not even roads which is why, he pointed out, I could not be taken to see the property) because almost all their sales were under 60-month developer financing, therefore, there’s no rush to deliver anything before mid-2022.

So, using information he’d already sent me, I showed him his own math, which at a minimum, means that land owner was taking in about 5 million peso a month…so explain to me again why there are no roads? Regardless of whether I was correct with my attitude or not, I moved on.

I also passed on the next development, which was number three. But not all was lost. I have found one that is legit and I am working on a personal visit.

I’m sharing my land-looking-potential-buying experience with you because things in Mexico are done very differently and if, as a foreigner you don’t realize this, you are going to end up like the Mexico City woman, who is Mexican btw.

Mexicans do not discriminate when it comes to taking advantage. Everyone is fair game.

If you are looking at buying land to build on or for an investment, you need to do your homework. Land in urban areas (which is my personal interest) will almost always be Ejido land, which is land owned collectively, sometimes by as many as 100 people.

That land cannot be titled, but is instead sold on Agrarian terms, which (in short point) means you do not get a property deed and cannot go to a court for resolution in the event of a conflict.

I screen grabbed this from a local real estate law firm. Thought it was good info to share.

When you purchase these types of lots, the ads will mention that the price of the land includes writing, but again, in most cases, it is Agrarian, which means you are purchasing the right to possession instead of title.

It means you will not receive a Title Deed enforceable in a civil court and that the property will not be registered on the national property register.

Instead of a title deed, you receive Transfer of Rights (Cesion de Derechos) and a Record of Possession (Constancia de Posesion). The first document records the previous holder(s) yield of their possession of the land and the second records your current possession of the property.

You can often tell which is which by simply reading the ad which will always specify “no credit taken”, the prices are for cash-only purchases or developer-only financing because banks (even if as a foreigner you could qualify) do not lend money / mortgages for Agrarian land deals.

So then why my interest in a possible Agrarian land deal? Well, not all Agrarian land deals are bad deals and, if done correctly, are a (severe) fraction of the price of regular or urbanized lots. You can easily purchase this type of land, build a home and live happily ever after, but to do this, it is imperative that you hire a real estate agent AND a real estate lawyer who will make sure the land is able to be sold and possessed in that fashion and properly “passed on” to you and in your name.

They will also go through the contract, which will outline the Agrarian terms (rather than typical civil law terms) and explain to you what you’re signing up for. If all is well, which it can be, you will get your two documents in your name and pay annual city taxes like any other public-registered land/home owner.

The key is to do your homework and take your time in making the purchase official. Don’t be afraid to walk away. In the last two weeks, I’ve walked away from three who have all expressed the incredible land value and gains expected, blah, blah, blah. Competition is fierce out there. They all have similar sales pitches.

I wrote an article about the top things I look for in a new place to live and the advancement of a new(ish) development was one…and this was why. I say new-ISH because all four of these are at least three years old, yet three of the four are without any level of development.

People are paying for lots of land that they’ve never seen or have vaguely seen, meaning they were taken to a spot (like I was) and, with pointy finger, shown the general direction of where the roads will be and where “your” lot is located. After three years, that’s the best they can do? Yeah, how about no thanks!

For the time being, I’m enjoying a break from the real estate land search, but do intend to head out to see this next development in coming weeks. It seems very promising and a good fit for me. I actually went a step further with this one and made contact with the building company (their name was stamped onto the renders I happened across — unlike any of the other three developments) who confirmed the project is already developed. It will be development number four I will have looked at. Hopefully this time, I will get more than just a pointy finger.