Agent

Americans face uphill battle for Mexican real estate

Unsuspecting buyers may be throwing money down the drain
Published on May 5, 2004

It was fishing that led me to real estate – and I don't mean dangling a bottom-feeder offer in front of a desperate seller's nose. My genuine interest in property came from the constant wondering of "who is the lucky person to own that place," while bobbing in a boat on a wondrous mountain lake or sparkling section of ocean. Many years ago, while searching for yellowtail tuna with a group of older fishermen off the warm waters of Ensenada, Mexico, I was drawn to the tiny cottages that dotted the dry hills above the sea. What a place, I thought then. Who owned those spots? Sometimes, nobody really knew – including the folks who had houses there. For Mexican families, it often did not seem to matter. For U.S. citizens seeking an affordable option to outlandish waterfront prices – especially second-home buyers and retirees – the property ownership question became a moving target. Jack Smith, the late Los Angeles Times columnist, for years described his experience o...

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