Tag Archives: real estate in mexico

Housing inventory not much of an issue in northern Baja California, broker Kathy Katz says


Housing inventory not much of an issue in northern Baja California, broker Kathy Katz says

By GLENN GRANT, Special to The Daily Transcript
Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Sales have doubled each of the past three years at Baja Real Estate Group in Rosarito Beach and Ensenada, says broker/co-owner Kathy Katz. Courtesy photo

Low housing inventory is a challenge for most San Diego County real estate firms. But it’s a different story just south of the border.

“We have great inventory in northern Baja California,” said Kathy Katz, broker and co-owner with husband Max Katz at Baja Real Estate Group in Rosarito Beach and Ensenada. “There’s been a lot of developer-financed new construction the past few years, but because we got hit by the economy along with everybody else, we have new standing inventory.”

Americans by birth, the Katzes have lived and worked in northern Baja for more than 20 years. They have a second home in Chula Vista but raised their children in Rosarito Beach, where they’re active in community affairs and among other Americans who live in the coastal city.

“I was doing vacation rentals in Rosarito, then met up with a developer and started re-launching his condos,” Kathy Katz said. “I was always in sales, so I guess this was my calling.”

The firm has clients in the United States, Baja and the Mexican interior, and prides itself on educating them about property ownership along the border. A client-relations staff member was recently hired to funnel prospective buyers to agents and help them make informed decisions.

The firm’s eight agents also help clear up prospective buyers’ apprehensions and beliefs about Mexican laws regarding foreign ownership, such as the 99-year land lease.

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The 10 Best Places to Retire in Mexico


The 10 Best Places to Retire in Mexico
January 15, 2014

Below is an unbiased look at the best places in Mexico to retire – with real pros and cons – to help you make an informed decision as to which best meets your needs, interests and ambitions.

So writes “Johnny Punish” (www.JohnnyPunish.com) in edited excerpts from his article written originally as an exclusive for www.munKNEE.com (Your Key to Making Money!) and under the title The Top 10 Places to Live and Retire in Mexico and the reasons why. Note: this paragraph must be included in any re-posting to avoid copyright infringement.

The 10 Best Places to Retire in Mexico

The 10 Best Places to Retire in Mexico

Punish goes on to say:

In the process of putting together this comprehensive report I have consulted with highly experienced ex-pats who have lived and/or live in the places that I rate here so, without further wait, here’s the top 10 places to live and retire in Mexico and the reasons why:

1. Lake Chapala, Jalisco
2. Ensenada, Baja California
3. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
4. Guadalajara, Jalisco
5. Merida, Yucatan
6. Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
7. Mazatlan, Sinaloa
8. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
9. La Paz, Baja California
10. San Cristobal de las Casas Chiapas

1. Lake Chapala, Jalisco (Winner)

According to Kristina Morgan of Focus on Mexico, “Of all the places in Mexico I have been, none can quite compare with Lake Chapala. There’s something about this place that just seems…magical and, as corny as it sounds, that’s the word I hear people use to describe Lake Chapala time and again. Lake Chapala gets into your heart and becomes home. It’s like stepping back 50-70 years here regarding the simpler lifestyle, culture and values. When I’m here I feel like I can be me, like I can breathe a little more freely and be the person I want to be and this is a sentiment expressed by most everyone who has ever been here or lives here”.

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An oasis of music and wine in Baja



An oasis of music and wine in Baja
Steve Lopez
Recent Columns
October 12, 2013, 12:05 p.m.

In the hills high above Ensenada, on the road to Ojos Negros, a dust-covered, mustachioed cowboy named Don Heriberto Aguilar has found the perfect life.

A trip to Aguilar’s rancho was not on my itinerary in Mexico. I was there to research a story, which will be coming soon, on more than three decades of good deeds performed in Baja California by the owners of Benning Violins in Studio City.

But Tito Quiroz, a musician who started Ensenada’s Academia Benning (which he named for his longtime mentors), was determined to give me and Times photographer Michael Robinson Chavez a look at a Mexico few visitors see. If we were interested, he said, he would take us to a party at a winery in the hills.

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Mexico Real Estate Snapshot For The Baja Real Estate Group – By Max Katz

Hi I am Max Katz Broker and Owner of the Baja Real Estate Group.

I want to share with you what we are experiencing in the Rosarito, Ensenada Corridor. These first six months of 2012, sales have doubled. Homes, that are well priced, sometimes are seeing multiple offers and selling close to list price. Much of the activity we are seeing is not only due to price, but a credit to our seasoned agents. Our marketing and sales training are paying off.

As sales double so has our market reach from Canada to Mexico City. Our buyers range from retires looking for a better lifestyle to the second home buyer looking for a beach front getaway.

I am very proud of our online marketing team, they have done an outstanding job. Adding features that make it very easy for buyers to become well informed. They have given our sellers incredible marketing exposure; through open house videos posted YouTube, social media and one of their newest marketing tools the 360º Virtual tours.

Referrals also remain a big part of who we are at the Baja Real Estate Group, We want to thank our friends, family and neighbors for always thinking of us when thinking of Mexico Real Estate.

Please take the time to read our newsletters, they are always filled with great information for both Buyers and Sellers. If you are not on our mailing list. Please sign up at News@bajaREgroup.com. If you are interest in Buying or selling your home in Mexico. please contact one of our agents at Sales@bajaREgroup.com.

We will make it as easy as possible.

Once again thank you, our customer, for helping make the start of 2012 a success!

Max Katz
Baja Real Estate Group
(619) 200-7408

Bargains Beyond the Border – Get Past the Blood and Drugs: Mexico’s Lower Cost of Living Can Avert a Tearful Retirement

by Tom Kelly

Description: News reports — including a segment on 60 Minutes — have depicted the entire country of Mexico as being an absolute mess, awash in blood and guns on every street corner. Ironically, people living there have a dramatically different perspective, especially in the “fly-in” destinations that continue to hold their value.

Click to buy the e-book: Bargains Beyond The Border by Tom Kelly

Click to buy the e-book: Bargains Beyond The Border by Tom Kelly

Despite what you may have heard, read and seen, the country is not under siege. The laid-back lure of Mexico’s beaches, forests, deserts, people, and culture has been capturing visitors and second-home buyers for decades and has become an international draw no longer driven solely by Americans and Canadians. Not only is land plentiful, exotic, captivating, and beautiful but also it is typically more affordable than most of the property found in America’s getaway areas.

Much has been written about the kidnappings, roadside hijackings, crooked cops and ever the infamous bandidos in some of the regions of Mexico. Most of the violence south of the border, however, is directly related to the drug cartels and the authorities who are trying to eradicate them. There is absolutely no pattern of any innocent U.S. citizens being randomly murdered in drug violence.

In this book, we will meet other second-home buyers, investors and retirees who share positive views about living and investing south of the border. We will show you their answers to our questions about crime and occupancy in key areas of the country. We’ll also explain why Mexico will become a needed alternative especially for 59,250,000 baby boomers that have not saved enough to fund their retirement years.

You can buy the E-book for $6.95 here.


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Mexico Real Estate Opportunities: How To Move From Vacation Property to Life-Long Investment

Written by Thomas Lloyd

Many people buying Mexico real estate as a vacation property or for retirement like to see their property as an investment; while there is a very strong aspect of lifestyle investment, as well as the large savings enjoyed in comparison to owning a vacation property or retiring in the U.S. or Canada, a true investment should do more than just bring you savings; it should generate an income. With Mexico real estate, this is a relatively strait-forward step to take.

Mexico Real Estate Opportunities: How To Move From Vacation Property to Life-Long Investment

Mexico Real Estate Opportunities: How To Move From Vacation Property to Life-Long Investment

With only a slight shift of focus, and a relatively minor short term sacrifice of lifestyle, the same property you bought for vacationing or future retirement can become a first step towards lifelong income from solid real estate investments.

As a buyer  you usually choose your vacation or retirement property based on comfort, convenience, proximity to the beach, shopping, a lake, attractions, activities and fellow expat residents. These same features are attractive to vacationers and other renters; Mexico’s large tourism industry offers many small groups of vacationers and even long term renters. As an owner of vacation/retirement property in Mexico you can consider the following possibilities:

Rent out the property to vacationers. This takes effort. One developer once pointed out that you could have the best hotel in the world, and it would sit there empty if it didn’t have a clear plan for active promotion. Property management companies can help; but you should do your homework, investigate occupancy rates in their area, and evaluate the results from the company. Personal promotion can work if you have access to a network of people with a need to rent a vacation property. Internet social networks and promotion can also be useful. Good rental agencies will use these tools as well. The real estate office through which you bought the property may also offer rental services, and if not should be able to recommend good rental agencies, or even promote the property informally to future clients visiting to make their own purchase.

Use the property only during the low season. If you have decided to take this step towards making your property a real investment, put investment at #1 in importance. This doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying the property for personal use, but it does mean that you should use plan your use of the property during the regular low season, when the property may be empty anyway. If you are truly dedicated, you may even consider changing plans if a renter turns up. One couple who successfully carried out this kind of plan stayed in moderately price hotels for their own visits rather than jeopardizing their rentals. Remember that any happy renter is a potential returning renter.

Rent out the property long term. Mexico also has a healthy market for long term rentals. While the monthly rate is usually lower, the income is consistent year round, and usually requires less effort to constantly find a new stream of renters. This idea has also proven successful in actual practice in places like Playa del Carmen.

Buy another property. Once you’ve established a steady income from your first property, invest in another, and follow the same process. If you are renting out your properties for vacationers, then owning multiple properties will also give you more options for personal use during off-seasons.

Buy through a mortgage . Acquiring Mexico property through a mortgage directly in Mexico is becoming easier and more common. Using a mortgage directly from a Mexican bank also allows you to leverage the same property you are buying, rather than a property back home. This way you don’t have to wait to generate enough cash from your first property to step into the second. This can help to speed up the process.

Cover monthly payments and expenses rental income. Real life examples have shown that is possible to generate sufficient income from a rental property in Mexico, either for vacationers or long-term, to cover all expenses, such as utilities, repairs and taxes, as well as the monthly loan payments if careful planning is done.Your first property will give you an indication of how much income can be generated and how much is available for use after other expenses. Speaking with mortgage specialist, or even some real estate brokers , will help to gain an estimate of the monthly payments. Some easy math will show you if its possible. If the numbers don’t look like the work out, try tweaking your first rental project to see if you can bring the income up to the necessary level.

Of course, these moves aren’t carried out overnight, but the final result will be that you are the owner of several high-quality vacation properties. One very important plus is that it isn’t necessary to start on a large budget; lower budget properties will generally bring a lower income, but the same concept can be applied with successfully.

Once more than two have been acquired, one can be mostly or even entirely dedicated to personal enjoyment. When retirement arrives, one property will become a retirement property, and the others will continue to provide a constant income substantially boosting financial resources. Since the cost of living is considerably lower in Mexico, especially in large expense areas like health care, using one of the properties for retirement is an ideal move; the funds will go considerably further in Mexico.

Consider changing your Mexico property into a lifelong investment.

Thomas Lloyd graduated from Purdue University Krannert School of Management with a degree in Management/Financial Option Investments, and also holds a degree in Mexico real estate. He has 15 years of experience in Mexico’s business culture, and as a Mexico agent, has guided many investors through real estate transactions, safely.


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New Otay Border Crossing Option “Ready Lane” By: Miguel Sedano

Ready Lane


Otay Mesa, Calif. — Beginning Monday, May 2, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will open a new Ready Lane at the Otay Mesa port of entry for travelers who have a travel document enabled with Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, technology.
The Ready Lane is a lane for vehicle traffic that only accepts RFID-enabled cards. The new Ready Lane at the Otay Mesa border crossing will be open Monday through Friday from 4 a.m. until 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. In order to use this dedicated lane, all adult passengers in the vehicle over the age of 16 must present an approved travel card. The U.S. Passport Card, SENTRI card, the new Legal Permanent Resident “green card” and the new Border Crossing Card are all RFID-enabled documents.
For example, the Ready Lane can be used by a group of travelers in one vehicle who may have different kinds of RFID-enabled travel documents, such as if the driver is a member of the SENTRI trusted traveler program, and the passengers all have other kinds of RFID-enabled documents, such as a U.S. Passport Card or a new Border Crossing Card. While only vehicles with all SENTRI members can use the dedicated SENTRI lane, a group with any mixture of RFID-enabled travel cards can use the Ready Lane.
Travelers using the Ready Lane should follow these three simple steps as they approach a U.S. land port of entry with their RFID-enabled travel card:
•    Stop at the beginning of the lane and make sure each passenger has their card out.
•    When it is your turn, drive slowly through the lane and hold all cards up on the driver’s side of the vehicle.
•    Stop at the officer’s booth.

If you are thinking in moving to Mexico, don’t think more act today.  We Can Help.  Call today 858-433-0561 or email Miguel Sedano  info@rentinginmexico.com the perfect home is waiting for you.

A Comment on Property Values

Mexico Real Estate

Mexico Real Estate

By Mexico Insight

Mexico’s realty market has not escaped the world-wide downturn in property prices, which has been led in good part by the contraction of available mortgage credit and falling stock market values.  However, Mexico’s downturn has not been as deep or as severe as the one in the USA, and much less so than in places like Spain—and there are specific reasons for that.

Mexico’s property ‘boom’ was never as large as that of its US neighbor, or its former colonial master. Credit has become widely available to the middle and upper classes in Mexico—but mostly in the form of consumer credit: plastic cards and loans for new cars. Mortgages were virtually unavailable in Mexico before the 1990’s, and once they appeared mortgage interest rates have never been low. Even today, the best deals on the market demand interest rates of around 11% per annum and, when you add account aperture fees, commissions, and required minimum deposits of 15-25%, the market of potential mortgage holders diminishes further. Extremely low interest rate mortgage loans, “teaser” rates, no-fee arrangements, etc. never came to pass in Mexico.

Residential building projects aimed at foreign investors did flourish in Mexico starting in the 90’s—but never on the scale that they did in Spain. The Spanish realty market, fueled by cheap money from the Euro zone and Britain (Germans and Brits were principal buyers there), boomed and developers obliged by throwing up apartment blocks as fast as they could mix the cement, and as if tomorrow would never come. Today it’s reported that there are some 800,000 (eight hundred thousand) residential dwelling units in Spain lying empty, unsold, or weighing down on bank’s repo inventories.

Mexico has experienced property booms and busts of its own. However, it was not a contraction of credit that caused its housing busts, but macroeconomic issues related to the structure of its economy and the value of its currency. Since Mexico floated its currency in the mid 90’s, the peso has enjoyed remarkable stability. The most recent property ‘bubbles’ in Mexico have been brought about by cheap dollars funding property in Mexico (usually through remortgages on foreign property) and more often, foreigners trading down in their home country and using the surplus cash to buy land or a small home in Mexico. Moreover, these ‘bubbles’ have been localized in their nature. For example, small rural towns whose local economies would never have supported steep rises in land and property values, were ‘discovered’ by foreigners and experienced unprecedented levels of foreign property investment; and even well-known coastal areas—Puerto Vallarta is a prime example—experienced truly massive capital inflows which drove realty prices upwards.

Many of these purchases were left largely unaffected by the credit crisis, because the sales were completed using monies which had been generated from the sale of assets abroad, i.e., many of the properties owned by foreigners here are not mortgaged. The peak in prices came at the point just before the market turned sour in the USA; which also marks the point when capital inflows destined for Mexican residential properties, principally derived from foreign asset sales, began to decline.

The corollary is a re-balancing process that is happening now, but what is not being seen here is the wholesale collapse of the Mexican property market—and that’s in good part because owners are not being forced to bring about stressed sales and the rental markets here remain buoyant.
The latest situation does, however, require existing owners—and prospective new owners—to take a long-term approach in regard to their residential property investments here. If you enter the market now hoping to sell for a profit in a year or two, you’re probably going to be left disappointed.

Mexican real estate continues to offer excellent value for money—especially along the coasts. In the USA, coastal property markets are effectively closed to all but the wealthy, whereas in Mexico you can still buy coastline property for under US$300,000. And further inland, in Mexico’s colonial towns and cities, prices remain very affordable and you can pick up a small home in need of some care for less than US$50,000. Prices are in flux and, as we have commented before, the price of Mexican property is a very localized matter and dependent more upon what a seller demands and what a purchaser is willing to pay, and far less upon any official data and statistics.

There is another important reason why Mexican property remains an attractive investment: the total cost of ownership remains very low. Property taxes, even with recent rises, remain significantly and materially lower in Mexico than they are in places like the USA, Canada and Western Europe. Property construction costs are low, and ongoing maintenance costs are low, too. Ed Kunze’s eBook, Build or Buy Your Home in Mexico, demonstrates in great detail how this is so, and how you can get so much more for every dollar invested in Mexican property.


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World-class plans for busy border crossing

$630 million, binational, eco-friendly expansion project is designed to lessen wait times at San Ysidro port.

By Sandra Dibble and Janine Zúñiga

World-class plans for busy border crossing

World-class plans for busy border crossing

Architects working on a major expansion and realignment of the San Ysidro Port of Entry, one of the busiest land-border crossings in the world, say they’re creating an environmentally friendly update that will quicken the flow of drivers and pedestrians.

“It’s the opportunity of a lifetime to work on a facility that is this important, not only in terms of size … but also because of all the national security issues,” said the project’s top architect, Craig Curtis of Seattle- based Miller Hull Partnership.

The General Services Administration is handling the U.S. side of the project. It plans to spend $577 million, and the Mexican government will invest $54 million.

The port of entry will stay open during all three phrases of construction, but delays could occur. The first phase is taking place, with U.S. crews building a new 1,600foot-long pedestrian bridge.

More congressional funding is needed for the entire project, which won’t be completed until at least 2016.

The number of northbound vehicle inspection lanes will increase from 24 to 34.

Southbound lanes will increase from six to as many as 12.

There will be two pedestrian crossing areas in both directions on either side of Interstate 5. Currently, there is one northbound pedestrian crossing east of I-5, and one southbound crossing that’s west of I-5.

The revamped port of entry will have more buildings for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a larger primary and secondary vehicle inspection area, and a larger northbound connection and a realigned southbound connection to Mexico’s planned El Chaparral Land Point of Entry facility.

The community has long pushed for a project that would decrease wait times at the border. Now it’s working with government officials to minimize disruptions to nearby businesses during the construction phases.

The San Ysidro Smart Border Coalition successfully campaigned for the second southbound pedestrian lane east of I-5. It’s still working to secure what it believes are fair payments to businesses displaced by the project.

Coordinators want the project’s buildings to receive a platinum rating, the highest designation for green construction offered in the U.S. They also hope to achieve “net zero energy” in all buildings, meaning that as much power is generated as it is consumed.

The United States has no netzero facilities that operate 365 days a year.

In addition, plans call for a 700,000-gallon rainwater reclamation system that would use the water for landscaping.

Architects say with a separate processing area for buses, they hope to encourage people heading north to forego their own vehicles and use public transit instead.

The Mexican side of the project involves moving southbound lanes west of the current crossing and more than doubling their number — to 19.

Officials said by the end of this year, workers will complete two of four bridges connected to the expansion: Three will channel southbound traffic to different parts of Tijuana, while the fourth will feed into the northbound lanes.

Mario Diaz Solis, director of special projects for Baja California, said the new southbound lanes should be open by 2013.

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Mexico’s big hope: get 5 million U.S. retirees


Mexico's big hope: get 5 million U.S. retirees

Mexico's big hope: get 5 million U.S. retirees

MEXICO CITY — Mexico is silently working on proposals aimed at drawing millions of U.S. retirees to this country, which could eventually lead to the most ambitious U.S.-Mexican project since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

President Felipe Calderón is likely to propose the first steps toward expanding U.S. retirement benefits and medical tourism to Mexico when he goes to Washington on an official visit May 19, according to well-placed officials here. If not then, he will raise the issue later this year, they say.

“It’s one of the pillars of our plans to trigger economic and social well-being in both countries,” Mexico’s ambassador to the United States Arturo Sarukhan told me. “We will be seeking to increasingly discuss this issue in coming months and years.”

Calderón brought it up during a U.S.-Canada-Mexico summit in Guadalajara in August last year, but President Barack Obama asked him to shelve the idea until he was able to pass healthcare reform, another official told me.

Now that Congress has passed healthcare reform, Calderón is preparing to charge ahead.

There are already an estimated 1 million Americans living in Mexico. And according to Mexican government estimates based on U.S. Census figures, that number is likely to soar to 5 million by 2025 as the U.S. population grows older and more Americans look for sunny, cheaper places to retire.

The U.S. Census projects that the number of U.S. retirees will soar from 40 million now to nearly 90 million by 2050. Already, 5 million American retirees live abroad, of whom 2.2 million are in the Western Hemisphere — mostly in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Brazil. Another 1.5 million live in Europe and 850,000 in Asia.

The key to luring more U.S. medical tourists and retirees to Mexico and other Latin American countries will be getting hospitals in the region to be certified by the U.S. Joint International Commission, which establishes that they meet U.S. hospitals’ standards. There are already eight Mexican hospitals certified by the JIC and several others awaiting certification.

According to Mexican government estimates, healthcare costs in Mexico are about 70 percent lower than in the United States. And from my own experience, those estimates are right: As I reported at the time, when I was hospitalized in Mexico two years ago for an emergency operation, my hospital bill was indeed about 70 percent lower than what it would have been in Miami.

So what will Calderón specifically propose to Obama? Most likely, the Mexican president will suggest starting with a low-profile agreement that would allow the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration to pay for Medicare benefits to U.S. retirees in Mexico. Under current rules, Medicare only covers healthcare services in the United States.

My opinion: Mexico and much of Latin America are bound to become growing U.S. retirement and medical tourism destinations, much like Spain has become a permanent living place for Germans, Britons and Northern Europeans.

You won’t read much about it now because neither Calderón nor Obama will emphasize it publicly while the drug-related violence in northern Mexico is making big headlines, and while the political wounds from the recent U.S. healthcare debate are still open in Washington, D.C.

But I’m increasingly convinced that, as the violence in Mexico subsides and the healthcare debate becomes a distant memory in Washington, medical benefits’ deals will become a top U.S.-Latin American priority. Just as free-trade agreements were the big thing of the 1990s, healthcare agreements will be the big deal of the coming decade.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Calderón and Obama take the first baby steps toward a U.S.-Mexico healthcare agreement by finding a way to pay for Medicare benefits for U.S. expatriates in Mexico, or getting U.S. states to allow similar payments. Then, most likely after the 2012 presidential election in both countries, the two would start negotiating a more ambitious deal.

Demography, geography and economics are pointing in that direction. With the U.S. population getting older, a record U.S. budget deficit, rising U.S. healthcare costs, and Mexico and other Latin American countries badly needing more tourism and investments, this should be a win-win for everybody.

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