What’s the hippest place in the Caribbean? Right now, it’s hard to argue with Tulum, the bohemian beach town on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. It’s chic, it’s cool and it’s got a remarkable supply of real estate. So if you’re thinking of fulfilling your Caribbean beach fantasy, Tulum is a very good bet. To learn more about what it’s like to buy a home and How to Move to Tulum, Caribbean Journal talked to Raminta Lilaite , partner at one of Mexico’s top real estate companies, Riviera Maya Property Consultants.
Why should I move to Tulum?
Tulum offers a relaxed, more balanced, stress-free lifestyle with a great weather year round. It has become a major draw for retirees, expats and those looking for a second home in a laid-back, tropical place that also offers great return on investment. Some of the major draws of Tulum are:
– Tulum is a calm town, great for your peace of mind. Major activities include going to the beach, shopping a fresh food markets, water sports, swimming in cenotes…
– At this time, Internet is great, so you can easily work online or keep in touch with people back home.
– Very affordable services, such as maid or gardener, save you lots of time that you can use for beach or other activities.
– Tulum offers a wonderful opportunity to invest in real estate, therefore it’s a great idea to buy or build your own house instead of renting one, because real estate values continue to rise, with this being a boom period.
And can I live there? What are the residency laws, etc.?
You can live here if you have Mexican residency, or own property or business. However, tourist visa is issued for 180 days, and that is more than enough to live in Tulum part-time. If you invest more than $60,000 USD in Mexico you can require investor’s visa and stay in the country as long as you want. A Temporary resident visa is issued for up to 4 years, and is meant for those who wish to spend more than 180 days in Mexico per year – it’s perfect if you own a second home in Mexico. You would need to show monthly income of at least $1,553 per person and at least $520 per month per dependent. You can also get temporary resident’s visa by showing a bank statement with a balance of about $25,880. There is also a way to get your temporary status by proving you own property in Mexico that has the value of $207,046 or more. When temporary residence card expires, you have to either leave the country or apply for permanent residency. If you decide you are moving to Mexico permanently, you can apply for permanent residency after 5 years. The process will be similar as applying for temporary status, and you will have to show that you can support yourself in Mexico.
What are the advantages of living permanently vs. part time?
If you live in Tulum permanently, you can have a bank account and credit, and when you accumulate 10 years, you can apply for Mexican passport that allows you to buy property and land as a local without restrictions issued to foreigners, such as Fideocomiso (bank trust), and to do business in Mexico. You will also have all the benefits that come with being a Mexican citizen.
How much does the average home cost?
Condo apartments start from $100,000 and go up to $450,000. Houses start from $200,000 and go up to over a million dollars.
How much does a beachfront condo cost?
Tulum doesn’t have beachfront condos due to its unique nature and the protection of the beach and underground rivers. Mangrove that grows on the beach is like a natural filter and cannot be destroyed if we want to preserve the stunning beaches of Tulum. You can buy exclusive beach land to build your home, but there are only very few options available and that’s why it’s very special. Tulum offers beautiful jungle land with the roads that will be extended to the beach (the beach will be reached in a few minutes when these roads are finished), and land with natural sweet water pools or cenotes. Tulum has so much more to offer than just the beach: it’s surrounded by lagoons and beautiful nature it is always just five minutes away from beautiful sugary sand beach.
How much does it cost to build a home?
The cost of building a home depends on the project and desired finishes. It ranges approximately from $700 to $1,000 per 1 sqm with permissions and licenses included. It it is strongly advisable to invest in solar panels that will save you lots of money in the long run, and a very good quality sewage-water system is a must.
What are the real estate taxes like?
The real estate taxes depend on the value of the property, but they are very low compared to the United States or Canada. For a 2 bedroom apartment, the taxes would be around $200 USD per year depending on the value of the apartment.
What are income taxes like?
Income tax is around 30 percent.
Can I work in Tulum?
As a booming and growing town, Tulum offers various opportunities, especially in tourism industry. To work in Tulum you need to have your own company or you have to be able to do something that locals cannot do, meaning a Mexican corporation has to invite you to work.
What’s healthcare like?
If you work, you will have national insurance or you can have private care that depends on the plan, but can be as little as $700 USD per year. For small medical problems, you can just visit a local doctor for a few dollars. There is Tulum Hospiten, a local hospital, where a doctor’s visit would cost around 600 mxp (about $32 USD). Mexico offers really affordable and good quality medical care.
Can I bring my car? What’s the duty?
Yes you can, and the price depends on your original country and the type of the car.