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Costa Maya Newsletter > Archived Newsletters > DEC 2006

Costa 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

***********************Newsletter: Dec. 06, 2006**************************

CONTENTS:

* 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

Hi Neighbors,

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 them.

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 Archives:

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 neighborhood!

Costa Maya 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.

ELECTRICITY NEWS

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 the issue.

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!).

UNTIMELY DEATH

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 office.

I just wish someone would get an ATM in town!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!! Until next month!

DISCLAIMER

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
Marcia
Mayan Beach Garden, Boutique hotel on the Costa Maya
www.mayanbeachgarden.com

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Updated: 26-Apr-2008

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