The Ultimate Guide To Buying Cabo San Lucas Real Estate
Unless clear blue skies and year-round favorable weather conditions simply aren’t your thing, it’s clear to see why so many people are buying Cabo San Lucas real estate.
The majority of buyers are holiday-makers who ventured to the beautiful beaches of Los Cabos and fell in love with it over a spectacular sunset.
Additionally, there’s a category of clients who acquire real estate in Los Cabos because they understand the potential revenue return they will receive from an investment property.
Commercial property sales in Los Cabos have been on the increase due to low taxation and the fact that this is a hotly developing area. Put frankly, Los Cabos doesn’t yet have the scale of local services that one would expect to find in a like-location in the US. Business owners with service-based offerings are coming to Cabo with their expertise and skill, to be rewarded with a community of potential eager clients.
For those looking to slow their pace of life down, Los Cabos can truly be the ideal spot to buy a home for retirement. With consistently warm temperatures and low cost of in-home help and medical fees, Cabo is a popular place to call home.
One thing is for certain: buying real estate in Cabo San Lucas is an exciting and rewarding experience. Assuming you have the right acquisition strategy and team in place to assist you with your purchase.
Let’s assume your reasons for purchase are either because your family wants to permanently move to Cabo or you want a vacation home there. One of the most important things to consider before making the commitment to buy is to ensure that this area is a good fit for you and your family’s needs.
Here we discuss some of the pros and cons of the Cabo lifestyle:
With over 300,000 people inhabiting Los Cabos over a 3500 km area, one of the biggest ‘benefits’ to the Cabo lifestyle is the low traffic levels we enjoy. Should you find yourself in a traffic jam somewhere in Los Cabos, we can guarantee you it’s not due to the excessive amount of cars on the freeway. A typical ‘traffic jam’ in Cabo is no more than a 5-minute delay.
The Manana Effect
There’s something to be said for the laid-back lifestyle one enjoys in Los Cabos. Both professionals and retirees enjoy the typically relaxed style of dressing required here. The pace of life in Cabo is considerably slower, especially when compared to a city like San Francisco or Los Angeles. Residents of Los Cabos revel in reporting their love for throwing a loose shirt and shorts on as they head to a business meeting, followed by some beach time.
It seems obvious to mention that perhaps the biggest draw to buying real estate in Cabo San Lucas is its world-class beaches. Los Cabos offers a plethora of magnificent beaches to suit everyone’s needs.
Small beaches like La Playita Beach with gentle waves – perfect for the family with small children. Chileno Bay or Santa Maria Beach offers some of the best spots in Mexico to go snorkeling. Cabo Pulmo is a diver’s paradise. Cerritos Beach in Todos Santos, Zippers Beach in San Jose del Cabo and El Tule Beach in Cabo San Lucas offer amazing surfing breaks year-round.
Cabo is famous for its golf. Championship level golf courses are positioned throughout Los Cabos, offering a day of golf heaven to those who love the sport. Questro offers a Summer-time rate for locals, allowing them unlimited play-time at all 4 of their incredible courses between May and October.
A quick hop on an airplane can have you in San Diego, Phoenix or Houston in under 3 hours, making Cabo an incredibly alluring destination to buy real estate. Being able to maintain relationships with family and friends in the US is an important factor to consider. Recently announced is the inclusion of direct flights from the UK to Cabo making the world seem just a touch smaller.
Luckily, Los Cabos is such an attractive tourist destination, the majority of restaurants display menus in English and Spanish. The majority of employees involved in service and tourism are bilingual, making a transition to Cabo life more than easy.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Spanish language before making the move to Cabo we cannot stress then, how important it is that you seek reputable representation to complete a Los Cabos real estate transaction.
Whether your family is young or old, one of the biggest benefits of buying real estate in Cabo has to be easy access to affordable home help. New Moms adore recruiting an extra pair of helping hands to help them with housework. Professionals in Cabo can assist with childcare, housework, and maintenance. It’s also possible to find employees to assist with senior assisted living.
Market Research – Tools & Techniques
If you are reading this guide, then we can already assume that you are using a search engine like Google as your #1 research technique for buying real estate in Los Cabos. The power of the internet has enabled scores of people to take a peek inside homes and Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo and beyond.
The downside to relying only on Google is that the information presented can be extremely limited and, on occasion, inaccurate.
MLS – Cabo San Lucas
One of the best online resources for buying Cabo San Lucas real estate is the Multiple Listing Service. Los Cabos is the only area of Mexico that offers this property listing tool. The MLS offers the most comprehensive collection of local listings, but many fall short of an acquisition because it’s difficult to follow through using this tool alone.
Additionally, the MLS may not show some of the most exclusive listings then available. Hot properties often don’t make it to the MLS, as some buyers who have forged relationships with a realtor receive early purchase notification.
The Human Touch
While the internet and its tools can certainly assist you in your initial research, nothing beats the power of human connection. Rather than make your own assumptions and hoping that perhaps you can avoid paying extra fees, it’s always best practice to work with a credible realtor to help you navigate what can be a long and stressful buying process.
Finding A Realtor To Buy Real Estate In Los Cabos
There are a sufficient amount of horror stories circulating about buying property abroad to convince anyone that looking for representation before buying a property in Cabo is a great idea. Finding someone to adequately represent you needn’t be difficult if you know what to look for.
Face To Face
During a trip to Los Cabos, visit the offices of real estate agents. Unannounced drop-ins can really give you an idea of the professionalism of a company. Is their office clean? Inviting? Professional? If you wander into a real estate office to find an empty chair in the reception area, along with a chaotic desk-top, then you can expect to receive a similar fate as their client.
Direct questions should elicit direct responses. Assuming you have begun a conversation with a realtor in Cabo, ask as many questions as you can. Ask questions that perhaps you already know the answer to. Hearing correct responses can reassure you that this professional knows the basics.
Here are a few examples of questions to consider posing to your realtor:
- If I see a listing I’m interested in on someone else’s website, can you represent me in that purchase?
- Will your commission increase if I want to buy someone else’s listing?
- Tell me about the real estate closing process in Los Cabos.
Representation From Afar
Are you the sort of person who expects email responses within an hour of sending them? Are you a phone communicator? What sort of communication do you need to feel reassured and confident? It’s a good idea for you to clearly state your expectations prior to committing to working with a realtor in Los Cabos. That way, there’s no miscommunication down the line.
Buying real estate is a stressful process, whether you’re buying it at home or abroad. We cannot stress how important it is for you to understand Los Cabos real estate processes before entering into a working relationship.
Finding a real estate company in Los Cabos who understands your culture and expectations is the difference between a painful, stressful experience or an epic chapter in your life.
How To Prepare
You are the biggest determining factor in the success of your relationship with your Cabo San Lucas realtor. Only you can decide how forthcoming you will be with your finances and purchasing ability. Clear and concise understanding, excellent and open communication, and respectful boundaries are key to buying real estate in Cabo.
The biggest mistake a buyer can make is to work with multiple realtors at the same time. All too often, buyers become frustrated with their realtor of choice and make the switch to someone else. The reason for frustration can be due to poor communication of expectations in the buying process.
A buyer may by chance talk to someone who had previously purchased real estate in Cabo. This person then outlays what a fabulous experience they had with their realtor.
Suddenly, this knocks the confidence in the relationship you have with your representation. Before you know it, you’ve begun a conversation with another realtor in Cabo, while mentally firing your own realtor.
This can all be avoided if you have done your initial due diligence. If you chose your realtor and worked to create a solid foundation of communication and expectations, then you will not need to look elsewhere.
Location Location Location
Cabo San Lucas
Today it’s a buyers market for Cabo San Lucas real estate. Beautiful new developments are available with spectacular views of the famous Los Cabos arches. With big-name shopping brands like Walmart and Costco, Cabo San Lucas truly has it all. Spectacular beaches, world-class restaurants, bustling night-life and all the conveniences of home: all this within a 15-minute radius of any Cabo real estate purchase.
The famous Cabo Corridor deserves a mention – a sprawling 20-mile highway that curves alongside the glorious Sea of Cortez. It’s the perfect place to buy Cabo San Lucas real estate if you’re seeking a quiet place to live.
San Jose del Cabo
The real estate market in San Jose del Cabo has been on an upward trend due to it’s slightly more colonial feel. Street tacos to die for, a traditional town Plaza and those beautifully colored Mexican streets all elicit that special Mexico culture that so many want to immerse themselves in. San Jose del Cabo doesn’t have the hive of night-time activity that Cabo San Lucas is so famous far, which can be a big draw for many.
East Cape is a definite emerging market. Miles of untouched beaches, solar communities, and exclusive developments amounts to East Cape being a trending area to buy property. What East Cape lacks in convenience and services, it makes up for in never-ending natural beauty.
Only a 45-minute drive from Cabo, Todos Santos is an artists delight. Many local artisans are proud to call Todos Santos or Pescadero their home. The new toll-road stretches from San Jose del Cabo airport down to the outskirts of Cabo. This reduces transit time from the airport to Todos Santos, making this easily accessible area.
Buying a condo in Cabo San Lucas may be a retirees dream some day. 1-level floor plans, typically spacious designs and more often than not, beautiful ocean-facing views make condos an easy purchase.
There’s also something to be said for purchasing a condo and being immediately surrounded by neighbors. Seniors enjoy living in a community so they are immersed in local activities and events.
Maintenance fees are often lower than those of a house. Los Cabos condo owners enjoy friendly maid service and gardeners. Additionally, bilingual property management is a real perk of condo ownership in Cabo.
House hunting in Cabo San Lucas and surrounding areas offer maximum freedom of expression. Los Cabos has everything to offer a potential real estate buyer. With small but beautiful townhouses sloping across premium golf courses like Club Campestre, to expansive jaw-dropping ocean-front homes of Puerto Los Cabos, a buyer has all manner of acquisition opportunities to explore.
Lots Of Land
Looking for some creative expression in the Cabo real estate market? Then perhaps a land purchase is the right choice for you. As explained in the housing market, buying a lot opens you up to endless possibilities, both commercial and residential.
Even though pricing increases the closer to the beach you look, you most definitely get what you pay for. The higher the purchase price, undoubtedly the better the location, view, and amenities are.
The key to land acquisition is finding a Cabo real estate land specialist who understands emerging trends in Los Cabos.
Ocean & Golf Views – The Biggest Attractions Of Cabo Real Estate
Foreigners who want to purchase real estate in Cabo San Lucas typically come for the ocean or the golf.
There’s something to be said for waking up in the morning surrounded by the peacefulness of a golf course; the humming of the sprinklers watering sections of the course and the magical sunrise that seems to turn the greens into a flurry of fluorescence. Grab a coffee and sandals and step into the smooth sands of a Cabo beach, and find yourself in your own version of heaven.
It’s true that a premium must be paid to enjoy the ultimate Cabo lifestyle, but as we say in Mexico, it’s ‘vale la pena’ (it’s worth it)! Los Cabos is littered with champion golf courses, offering golf carts and beverage service as their most basic customer offerings. Each course has a real estate community along with premium amenities and country-club style activities.
Working with a Cabo real estate agent can be helpful if you’re searching for a Golf course property. A realtor can give you instant access to all golf-course real estate. With this information, comparisons can be drawn to deduce your personal preferences.
Many purchase luxury Cabo San Lucas real estate because it’s inside a gated community. 24-hour security, gated and lit streets, common amenities and a watchful eye all result in maximum peace of mind. Bilingual administrators are a breath of fresh air to new homeowners who aren’t familiar with local procedures and policies.
The only slight downside to purchasing property within a gated community is that you will have building constraints. There will be rules to abide by when it comes to building materials, paint color choices etc.
Putting An Offer In
After deciding on the property you wish to buy, the next step is putting an offer in. Here are some items to note:
- Financing is possible in Mexico, but the terms are typically awful. Interest rates are high and the process of getting financing locally is cumbersome. We recommend a buyer offers a cash deal or finds their own financing from a lender in their home country.
- We always work with escrow companies.
- Explaining the process of putting an offer in
- Having the right mindset
Legalities & Due Process
Down payments in Mexico are typically higher than the US, Canada or UK. Expect to pay an initial 10% of the down payment once an offer has been accepted. Another 20-25% of the purchase price deposited shortly thereafter, followed by the remaining balance 5 days before closing. All payments go to an escrow company who hold the monies until the legalities are complete.
Various people are involved in a Cabo San Lucas real estate transaction:
- The buyer’s agent (your realtor)
- The seller’s agent (if your realtor didn’t have the property as one of his or her listings)
- A representative from an escrow company
- A notario publico (public notary) is involved once the offer is accepted.
- Closing Agent: the person that handles the closing, contacts Banks and Notary to close the transaction.
All legal real estate contracts are written in Spanish, which is the prevailing version in a Mexican court of law. A complimentary English copy of the closing agreement is offered to a non-Spanish speaker.
The Offer Process For Buying Cabo San Lucas Real Estate
Once a buyer selects the house and informs the buyer’s agent, the discussions begin regarding pricing terms and conditions. It’s at this stage where contingencies (inspections, CC&R’s, selling a primary house, etc.), and special requests from the buyer to seller are decided upon along with an expiration date for the offer (usually 3 days).
Once the buyer’s agent completes a written offer, the buyer signs it. The offer is then sent to the seller’s agent. The seller has few days to answer (days specified on the offer). The seller will decide if he or she accepts the offer, counter offers or declines altogether.
If accepted, both parties sign and begin closing with the earnest deposit and 50% closing cost sent to escrow. If the offer is countered, it will include an expiration date along with other conditions. There’s no limit to the number of counters from either party and it’s typical to expect some back and forth. Expect an average of a 4-14 day offer period.
It is fair to anticipate a longer closing time that you may expect in your home country. Because there’s the creation of a bank trust (explained beneath) involved in closing, along with the inclusion of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, due course is naturally longer than if one was buying property locally. Expect an average closing time for a piece of Cabo San Lucas real estate to be 45-60 days. However, delays can happen throughout the closing process for various reasons.
Delays on the seller’s end are commonplace. Here are a few examples of common delays:
- Fideicomiso Review Process: Sometimes the banks take too long to review documents, or giving their final okay on the paperwork.
- Sometimes the unit or house simply isn’t ready (typically in pre-construction sales).
- On occasion, either the seller or buyer cannot attend the signing. A power of attorney replaces the missing participant, resulting in the fideicomiso process starting all over again.
- Closings take longer if the date falls on or near a holiday.
A Fideicomiso is a bank trust and legal tool used allowing foreigners to buy property in Mexico. A fideicomiso costs approximately $2000 US to open and an annual fee of $500 US to maintain. A bank trust provides the legal peace of mind needed for foreigners to own their own piece of paradise.
Conclusion – It’s a Buyer’s Market
Buying your dream Cabo San Lucas real estate property is easier now than it has ever been. We encourage you to do your due diligence in preparation for the process. Decide on the type of property and location you want to purchase. Discuss with your buying partner(s) what your financial buying power is. Be open and clear with your Cabo realtor about your needs and expectations. Gain a true understanding about the Cabo real estate market and take the exciting plunge into Cabo life.
Looking for real estate representation regarding either buying or selling a Los Cabos property? Please reach out to our team of 2 Seas Los Cabos agents at:
Tel: +1 520-204-5450
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