Costa Maya Newsletter
Newsletters > DEC 2006
Maya Newsletters: of primary interest to property owners on the Costa
Maya, - Rio Indio - Placer - Uvero - Punta Herrera - Xcalak and other
points along the coast
Dec. 06, 2006**************************
* Message board topic for Costa Maya Neighbors
* Title insurance on Costa Maya Properties
* GMAC loans on houses in Mexico
* New director at FONATUR
* Electricity News
* Business on the side of the road
* Untimely death
* Changes in Mahahual
I've been hoping to send this newsletter for the last three days,
but my email service and my website has been down. This is due to
the record breaking storm in Seattle where Kim and I are from. We
had used that email and website hosting service for 8 years, so it
certainly was a surprise. It is odd to be so affected by something
such a long distance away, but for three days we felt cut off from
the world. If any of you have tried to email either Kim or I the last
few days, your emails were probably returned by the Mail Deamon. We
are however, back and running and receiving email, so please re-send
Speaking of weather, about the time I was fretting about not having
enough water to fill our cisterns, December came. With it came lots
of rain. We've had at least 15 inches in a month that averages only
1.9 and 3.5 inches of it came this morning! With busy season just
a day or two away, I have mixed feelings. In one respect I'm delighted
that we will have water, on the other had, I came here to escape days
of dreariness and rain and we have to run the generator longer when
there is no sun and sun-bather's won't be happy!
We still have lots of things to be grateful for, and with this holiday
season rapidly approaching, we still welcome the season and all it
brings. Again, I'm trying to figure out the right tree to use. Last
year I transplanted a chit palm into a pot and used that, but it was
dead and bedraggled by January 1. Now that I know that Chit palms
don't transplant well, I will have to come up with another option.
I'm eyeing some almond trees, wondering if they might work a little
better. The only pines around here are the Australian pine and they
just don't seem to be the type of tree that one would hang lights
from. I can purchase pine trees in the super market, but for the price
of $560 pesos, I want something that has not already lost half of
its leaves! Regardless of the outcome of my search for the perfect
beach-Christmas-tree, I wish all of you a great holiday season and
hope this year you will stop by and see us here at Mayan Beach Garden
if you are in the neighborhood.
You can find this issue of the newsletter and archives of past e-newsletters
on this website at Newsletter
MESSAGE BOARD FOR COSTA MAYA NEIGHBORS
Take a look at the
message boards this month. There seem to be some new listings
and lots of questions. Also, a new listing for someone looking for
other neighbors in the San Jose area (just south of Placer and north
of Rio Indio). Take a look at the latest postings and add your two
bits. A message board is only as good as the messages on them! By
the way, we have been hit by SPAMMERS and I have deleted some messages.
If you placed a legitimate posting on the site and it was deleted,
it was because it may have looked like the work of SPAMMERS. I apologize
if any of your listings have been inadvertently removed.
I've added 2 new Forum topics:
Buying and selling property 101. We get so many questions
about this and we are hardly experts. We think that you should NOT
try to buy property on your own, but go to a professional referenced
agent. Still, testimonies of those who have purchased really help.
Regardless of the price you paid for property, its not a good deal
if at the end of the day you don't have clear title or you can't do
anything with the property you purchased. So anyway, I've started
this section. Already there is a question about title insurance, which
prompted me to add a newsletter listing on that below.
Neighborhoods: Already we have a neighborhood discussion about
Sapphire beach and San Jose neighborhoods. I guess I should start
one at Placer! I know its the holiday season and you are all busy,
but take a minute and even post season's greetings to people in your
Live Forum -
TITLE INSURANCE ON YOUR PROPERTY
This month, it might be nice to take a poll and see how many of you
have title insurance on your Mexican Property. The interesting thing
about this is that in the US, it is required by banks to have title
insurance. In Mexico, since most property transactions are in cash,
title insurance is not required at time of purchase. A neighbor and
previous real estate agent who bought property here a few years ago
told me that everyone should have title insurance. In the US, it is
rare that something could happen, but it does happen. He didn't get
title insurance on his property before he purchased but plans to and
recommends that everyone does the same. We have seen an instance where
the same lot has been sold to three different individuals - so it
is good to protect yourself. I have not purchased title insurance,
only looked into it - backing away because of sticker shock. If you
are looking at purchasing property from TransCaribbean Trust, I was
informed a couple of weeks ago that they are now going to include
US title insurance with every property they sell. We purchased from
them years ago, and it wasn't offered back then (we wish it were!),
but we think this is a great addition to a company that already guaranteed
good title on the properties they sold.
If you go to the forum, there is a link I put up to a poll on whether
or not you have title insurance on your property. Take the poll and
even put in references to places you can purchase title insurance,
if you have experience with it.
GMAC LOANS ON HOUSES IN MEXICO
The new presidential administration in Mexico is committed to continuing
the flow of foreign investment into the country - including the promotion
of second homes and retirement residences - and United States mortgage
lenders are now taking advantage of this market.
GMAC is the first national lender to introduce a 30-year, fixed-rate
product in Mexico. The news was announced at the 2nd annual sold-out
Mexico Resort Development Conference held in San Diego CA on Dec 4-6.
GMAC now offers a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at approximately 8.75
percent; a 20-year mortgage at 8.5 percent, and a six-month adjustable-rate
mortgage tied to the LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) at approximately
8 percent. Other North American lenders - including Collateral International,
GE Money, Wachovia, M & I, Textron, IMI, Johnson Capital and CS
Mortgage - are expected to offer 30-year fixed-rate loans as well.
Countrywide may also be considering a Mexican loan package.
Interest rates on Mexican loans are higher than those in the U.S.
because there has been no competition in the secondary mortgage markets
or with Wall Street capital markets to purchase the loans as securitized
assets. Once the loans become more attractive and marketable to investors,
interest rates will drop, according to financial analysts.
The ability for Americans to tap into the equity of their existing
Mexican homes and take the cash back to the U.S. for investment is
part of the new offering. Since we have existing structures, this
is absolutely of interest to us who may already have built homes on
the Costa Maya.
NEW DIRECTOR OF FONATUR
I'm not sure what impact this will have on the future development
of the Costa Maya, but it is interesting to note that Miguel Gomez-Mont,
a developer and tourism proponent has been appointed executive director
of FONATUR, the tourism development agency of Mexico, replacing John
McCarthy. We haven't heard anything about any new Costa Maya announcements
on this front, but as usual in Mexico, when administrators change,
this means delays in things happening.
Please read to the end of this section where there is a call to action.
There is some interesting information on the electricity front. I'm
sure I don't have all of the facts, but the Property Owners Association
of the Costa Maya, which some of you may already be members of, have
sent a complaint to the governor of the state of Quintana Roo, stating
that the CFE (Electric company) is illegally denying electricity to
property and business owners in the community of Mahahual in favor
of FONATUR's big development plan for the Costa Maya. There have been
several instances where property owners have been denied electricity,
despite being willing to pay for the infrastructure to bring electricity
from existing poles. Rio Indio is one of those communities along with
Mahahual. If I understand my facts correctly, if electricity is available
and a group of people file a petition that includes the correct documents
and are willing to pay for the infrastructure, the government can't
deny them in favor of big business. If nothing happens with the letter
to the governor, watch this turn into something political--as this
is not just an issue of wealthy foreigners living on the beach. One
hopes that the governor will not ignore this and look seriously into
I have been advised that this is a good time to submit a petition
that includes more property owners. The more people that are included
the better regardless of how this other action progresses. I know
we have mentioned petitions before, but I got bad advice as to how
to proceed. In order to be included, the following information MUST
be submitted for EACH property owner (legal descriptions and names
are NOT enough):
- Name of owners as shown on your passport or FM3
- Name of corporation if owned by a corporation, or name and location
of your Fide Camiso Bank trustee
- Predial papers (your property tax statement)
- Copy of catastral (the official document that shows the square meters
of the land and the structures on the land, as well as the appraised
value of both.)
- Contact information
I know the holidays are coming up and nothing will be done here before
the first of the year, so this is an FYI to start looking for your
documents so that at the first of the year we can start compiling
the information. If someone would like to coordinate this effort for
the community, I would really like help putting together all the information
for each property owner. I will send an email out at the first of
the year that reiterates this petition with a timeline of when we
want the information. Please make of point of joining the petition.
When we do get ready to start collecting the information, the best
thing to do would be to send this information digitally (scan the
documents), by fax or Fed Ex.
As an FYI -- the infrastructure will be required to be underground.
This is great news for our property values as underground structures
are not as likely to be affected by weather. The downside is this
it is at least 4 times more expensive than above ground poles.
BUSINESS ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD
One cannot drive down the highway in Mexico without seeing a male
relieving himself. Many times I've bemoaned the fact that as a female,
I can't do this without looking for a very thick bush to hide behind.
Well boys, get ready to find that bush because it is illegal (at least
in Quintana Roo) to relieve oneself on the side of the road.
During dinner the other day, we were interrupted by the foreman on
one of the construction sights. Wanting to buy some beer, he took
4 of the workers into Mahahual. Apparently they had quite a bit of
beer, because they didn't make it past the airport turnoff when on
their way back here they had to stop. All four of them lined up to
go to do their duty, only to have the police drive by, arrest and
haul them off to jail until they could pay the fine - a hefty 500
pesos a person and the driver's truck was confiscated. Our dinner
interruption was cause for great conversation at the Mayan Beach Garden
restaurant dinner table and the four were immediately released after
paying the fine (I just hope they pay me back!).
Many of you were friends or acquaintances with Dr. Greg Zeman visiting
with him in his home which was located about 4 km. north of Uvero
Beach Club. Last Saturday, he had a fatal accident on the Mahahual
highway at km. 46. He was one of the first to build a permanent structure
in the area norht of Uvero, known as Cazona. Dr. Greg is from Chicago
but has been a full time resident in the Costa Maya for a couple of
years, living in his home with his care taker and painting beautiful
little paintings of the environment we live in. We will miss him dearly
at Christmas Dinner this year. Services will occur after the first
of the year.
NEW DEVELOPMENT IN THE COSTA MAYA
If you haven't been to the Costa Maya in a while, you will be surprised
at all the changes. In addition to all the new little shops going
in, there are some other noticeable changes. As you enter into Mahahual,
there is a new palapa covered market about 100 meters North of Tequila
beach. So far, it is still under construction, but looks like it will
be finished shortly after the first of the year. Its a great looking
structure and will be a great addition to the area.
The other noticeable change is the removal of the shacks that were
just north of the new lighthouse. They were quite an eyesore when
you came into town. Now that they are gone, you get an incredible
view of the cruise ship dock as you come into town. The space has
been cleared for a palapa covered sales office where Mayan Paradise
Properties (mentioned in a previous month's newsletter) will set up
shop selling beach-front condos that will soon be under construction
in the area between the lighthouse and the pier -- talk about a view!
Another great change is that TransCaribbean will be renovating the
two story beach-front white building that is next to Cat's Meow and
opening up an office. If you have purchased from TransCaribbean in
the past, make sure you stop by and see their new digs, which I think
will be finished the first of the year. I'm happy to see that building
get fixed up, and knowing them, it will be quite a nice and AIR-CONDITIONED
I just wish someone would get an ATM in town!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!! Until next month!
The editor of this newsletter (me) makes no claims that the information
here is completely true. I am not a news reporter, Spanish is not
my native language and this is not my primary business, but rather
a service to the neighborhood. If you find something untrue PLEASE
let me know and I will print a disclaimer. I try to verify the information
but even the newspaper prints up rumors, so I can only report what
I read and hear. THANKS!!!!!
Until Next month...
Regards from your Costa Maya Neighbor
Mayan Beach Garden, Boutique hotel on the Costa Maya