Buying a home in Mexico shares many similarities and a few differences with the process you may be familiar with in the United States or Canada. For example, most real estate in Mexico is bought and sold in cash transactions versus taking out a mortgage, and home inspections are also quite rare. Here we will explain why home inspections in Mexico are not the norm, and help shed some light on a topic that can be confusing to first-time buyers from overseas.
To start with, it’s important to point out that construction methods in Mexico are very different from what you will find in other parts of the world – especially in areas along the coast that are popular with expats. This is due in large part to the climate, which demands that buildings are constructed using concrete block instead of the standard wood frames we are used to in many other parts of North America.
What to Consider When Looking at a Property in Mexico
The concrete block construction used in many parts of Mexico (including the Riviera Maya) is both simple to build and very sturdy. Since they are built of concrete, homes in Mexico can pretty much handle whatever a hurricane throws at them, and since there is no rotting wood to worry about, you don’t have to worry about termites eating away at your walls! Keep in mind that non-structural wood, including curtain holders, balcony railings and cabinets can also attract bugs, so if a property has many wood features, be sure to ask about the type of wood. For example, tropical hardwoods offer greater termite resistance than softer wood.
It’s also important to note that most homes are sold as-is, so there are very few home inspections in Mexico real estate. One reason for this is that most home repairs are very inexpensive, especially compared to what most buyers are used to elsewhere in the world! For example, I just asked a contractor to give us a quote to move a concrete block wall back three to four feet. The wall is about 48 inches wide and the project includes moving a toilet, the drain, the plumbing, hammering out the floor, removing the block and installing new block… Incredibly, the quote was only 8,000 pesos, which is about $400 USD!
Finally, if there are any points in the home that are of concern to prospective buyers, the property should be priced accordingly to account for any defects, or you can also reflect any concerns with a reduced offer to purchase. Of course, your realtor should be able to help negotiate the very best price, offer advice on which properties to avoid and be on hand to guide you through every step of the process!
Do you have additional questions about home inspections in Mexico? Post them in the comments section below!