Finding the Right Property, Real Estate In Mexico
The old saying, "The three rules of real estate are "location, location, location-is tried and true." To do even better, I suggest you consider "location, quality and scarcity". The foregoing will serve you well in selecting any property, but particularly so if you are operating in a foreign market like Mexico.
Consider "location" from both a "macro" and a "micro" perspective. Macro location applies to the region of the country, urban vs. suburban, within tourist zones vs. outside tourist zones, beach vs. inland, small city vs. large city. Much like selecting a college, working from general to specific will pay dividends later. Micro location pertains to specific site alternatives, down to a specific street, within a condominium complex or in an existing single family neighborhood. You may want to be in a development with other North Americans, you may want to live in a colonia that has no North Americans.
Micro analysis goes even further: be sure to check the property at night (Friday if possible) to see what noise levels are like. Understand who the neighbors are, whether that means next door or on the floor above. If you have shared walls with another unit, understanding not only noise, but repair and alteration rights is critical. Figure out the sun and shade patterns, determine the importance of a designated parking location and always check on security.
Your list of macro and micro location criteria should be very long; the longer and more extensive, the better.
Quality will add to long term value, much like location does. Quality of construction, especially relative to price, will enable you to ascertain the ability of certain properties to retain value after many years of use. Quality is not only in the cost of materials, but also in the design of a property. Characteristics, such as ceiling height, material selection and finish, electrical and plumbing, wood-marble-tile choices, views, landscaping and windows, doors and appliances will all contribute to or erode project quality.
In multi-family projects, the ratio of units to common area amenities reveals use volume. The higher the use volume, the higher maintenance requirements and associated costs will be. High quality projects may cost more at purchase, but they will last longer, retain value and perhaps even cost less (relatively speaking) to maintain and operate over time.
Poor quality will patronize you with a lower up-front price, and bite you later once you are an owner.
Scarcity is a very specific site selection criteria and it has perhaps the greatest indirect and unapparent influence on property value. Think of scarcity simply as being what makes gold and diamonds so valuable. Real estate that benefits from scarcity cannot easily be replicated.
A property in a unique location, where only one of its kind can ever be built, due to topography or land availability, will have scarcity. A project that has a unique unit mix, such as a limited number of large units only, all with views, will have scarcity. A home that is designed by a unique architect, on a fully developed street, with abutting properties of equal or higher quality, will have scarcity.
Scarcity is your friend, it takes time and research to identify and quantify, but it will never let you down in the long run.