FAQ's About Living in Mexico & Purchasing Baja Real Estate

If you're planning to retire in Mexico or searching for the ultimate vacation home, you may have questions regarding the Monte Bello and Rancho Cerro developments, the utilities in Baja and requirements for buying real estate in Mexico. The FAQ's to the right cover everything, from the water situation to financing your home, to help you prepare for your eventual move to the paradise of Baja.

The Monte Bello and Rancho Cerro Developments & properties in Baja

Q 1. As developers, what are your goals?

Q 2. What is the water situation in Los Barriles?

Q 3. How do Monte Bello and Rancho Cerro get their water? Is it safe to drink?

Q 4. What does a water tap cost and what do you get for the fee?

Q 5. Why did it take so long to finish the roads into Monte Bello and Rancho Cerro?

Q 6. Do you have Homeowners' Associations, and if so, how do they work?

Q 7. Why are your CC&Rs so tough?

Q 8. How will you maintain the green space?

Q 9. What about unsightly power poles?

Q 10. What does CFE charge for electrical service and how long does it take to get it?

Q 11. When will the power and water be completed in Monte Bello and Rancho Cerro?

Q 12. How much are property taxes?

Q 13. What about garbage removal?

Q 14. Why are your lots so large?

Q 15. Is there a rule prohibiting a person from buying more than 2,000 square meters? It seems that most lots are offered at 2,000m2 or less.

Q 16. Why do the setbacks on the lots differ on some lots?

Q 17. What's with the 40% rule? Is this yours or the government's regulation?

Q 18. How far are Monte Bello and Rancho Cerro from the beach?

Q 19. Is the fishing good?

Q 20. Did you know that a cardon cactus can live for two years or more without a drink of water? How come?

Q 21. Can the cardon be moved successfully?

Q 22. Why is on-street parking restricted in Monte Bello and Rancho Cerro?

Q 23. Are there quality contractors in town? Are they reliable?

Q 24. What does it cost to build a house?

Q 25. How long does it take to complete a 2,000 square foot home?

Q 26. Are there engineers and architects available to design my home?

Q 27. How can I communicate with my friends and family when I'm in Monte Bello and Rancho Cerro?

Financing Your Own Mexican Property

Q 28. What does a fideicomiso (bank trust) cost and how long does it take before I own the property?

Q 29. Can you "shop" for a fideicomiso to get the best price?

Q 30. Is financing available for buying my lot?

Q 31. Will I need an FM3 to get a bank account or build my home?

Q 32. What is title insurance and what is an approximate cost?

Q 33. Is title insurance available for my property?

Q 34. How much will homeowner's insurance cost for my home and who sells it?

Q 35. Do you work with a particular real estate agent in Los Barriles?


A 1. We have many goals, but the four most important to us are:

  • Being sensitive to and protecting the environment as we go about our business of making a community in which people can enjoy living.

  • Providing a natural habitat with lovely views that cannot be compromised; that act as a private, quiet backdrop for beautiful dwellings.

  • Offering potential purchasers a variety of options when selecting a building site. We will have lots surrounded by green space, lots capable of carrying a two or one-story home, and both flat lots and hilly lots featuring dense native plants and views.

  • Ensuring privacy and convenience.
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A 2. Los Barriles water is legendary! History tells of large ships that used to pull into harbor to fill up their barrels with fresh, abundant water; hence the name Los Barriles, The Barrels.
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A 3. Water lines from the municipal well service all of Monte Bello and Rancho Cerro. The water comes from rains and springs in the high Sierra de La Laguna Mountains to the west of Los Barriles and is filtered through the granite rocks, sandy arroyos and the municipal system before it is pumped into your home. This water tastes clean and pure.
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A 4. The most current fee is $1,300usd. For this fee you receive a contract with the local municipal water company and a connection from the main line to the edge of your property. This includes a water meter and a spigot. You are then responsible to pay a monthly fee determined by your water usage.
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A 5. We built the roads using a front-end loader instead of the usual bulldozer method. This eliminated the 'side castings' of dirt being pushed over the edges of the roads and also allowed us to fill in dips by scooping the dirt and putting it back into the road. It makes for cleaner, smoother roads. It costs more and took longer, but we felt it was worth it. All roads in Monte Bello and Rancho Cerro are now complete.
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A 6. Yes, we do have an Association, and you automatically become a member when you purchase a lot in Monte Bello or Rancho Cerro. If you would like to read our bylaws, please click here.
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A 7. We're creating a very special environment for you and your family in which to build your home and live in Mexico. The covenants and restrictions are for everyone's protection - you, your neighbor's and the surrounding landscape. We understand that your property investment is important to you and that makes it important to us.
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A 8. Each property owner automatically becomes a member of the Monte Bello or Rancho Cerro Homeowner's Association and is required to pay a monthly assessment that will become part of the budget directed toward green space and general maintenance of the common areas. The development will be professionally maintained, providing common area plant maintenance, road repairs and security for all lot owners.
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A 9. All of our power lines are underground and are hurricane protected. Again, it's more costly, but worth the extra expense.
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A 10. A service contract with the power company currently costs $50usd. Once you sign a contract with CFE, you have the correct connection devices and have built the power monument that houses the meter (ask your contractor about these). The power company will come to make the connection usually within one week of the request.
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A 11. All utilities at both Monte Bello and Rancho Cerro have been completed..
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A 12. Last year, the annual property taxes tripled. Today, a typical 2,000 sq. ft. house on a 1/2 acre lot pays $132usd per year.
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A 13. Garbage and trash removal is provided by the town. The Monte Bello and Rancho Cerro Homeowner's Associations may wish to select a common collection point that is convenient for both the property owners and the free town pick-up service.
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A 14. We have tried to make most of the lots close to 2,000 square meters because one of our goals is to develop a low-density community. 1/2 acre lots give everyone good elbow room and plenty of privacy.
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A 15. There's no law prohibiting you from buying more than 2,000m2, and many people purchase larger tracts of land. It just means that in the fideicomiso process, you have to apply to an additional office of the government, and they'll ask you to invest a certain amount of money into your lot and improvements.
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A 16. These setbacks minimize the possibility of blocking your neighbor's views and also leave sensitive environmental areas untouched.
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A 17. Recently, Semanart, the Mexican environmental protection agency, enacted a law that says you, as a property owner, cannot clear more than 40% of the vegetation off your lot, and when you do clear this amount, you are required to transplant each of the plant species out of harm's way. Your driveway, parking areas and building footprint are included in this 40% regulation. We, as developers, have a responsibility to obey the laws of this country and do all we can to promote their concepts to the property owners in Monte Bello and Rancho Cerro and to our community of Los Barriles.
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A 18. Monte Bello and Rancho Cerro look out over one of the best sandy beaches in the East Cape. Windsurfing, kiteboarding, kayaking, swimming and fishing are some of the reasons why we live here. Jacques Cousteau called the Sea of Cortez the most prolific and biologically diverse body of water on the planet. It's about a 10-minute walk to all of these amenities.
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A 19. Yes, the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez create favorable fishing conditions most of the year. Generally, the peak season for marlin is mid-October through December. Dorado (mahi-mahi), yellow fin tuna and wahoo, to name a few, run most of the year.
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A 20. Our lovely peninsula of Baja is home to a wide range of plant life that is unique, and many species that live here cannot be found anywhere else on earth. It's a rich environment that has sustained plant life for centuries.

El Cardon is the Spanish name for the world's largest species of cacti, sometimes growing to 70' in height, and it can weigh up to 40 tons; 90% of this weight is stored water. This is why the cardon can last in a drought for many years and can even live for more than 300 years. Come see the 'big ones' in Monte Bello and Rancho Cerro today.
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A 21. Yes, most cacti are relatively easy to transplant. You'll be required to transplant the cardon and other cacti and plant species from the 40% footprint of your cleared areas as these are protected by Mexican law. You can create a nursery away from the impacted building site area and move them again when finished to create a natural looking landscape.
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A 22. The agreement we, as developers, made with the road, water and power companies was this: we're required to dedicate 13 meters (42-1/2') of roadway BUT, so we didn't have to clear all those beautiful trees, cacti and rocks out of the roadway, they agreed to a 10' wide island down the middle of the roads. In exchange, we agreed that no cars will be allowed to park in the one-way access roads. You should provide for adequate space to park on your own property.
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A 23. There are many local contractors available for building your casa. Most of them are experienced, reliable and invested in our community. We can supply you with a list upon request.
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A 24. Building costs range from $100/square foot to $150/ square foot, depending upon your finish preferences. You can pay in either U.S. dollars or pesos, but no U.S. checks.
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A 25. Again, it depends upon the extent of detail, but on the average, one year or longer.
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A 26. There are many fine professionals available to assist you in designing your home in Monte Bello and Rancho Cerro. Design and construction management services are also available for those lot owners who can't be present during the building process. We can give you a comprehensive list.
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A 27. There is technology in Los Barriles that will enable your Homeowner's Association to establish a satellite system or connect with Telmex for telephone and Internet services.
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A 28. The fees connected with property ownership typically cost $5,000usd, and the process may take 6-8 weeks from start to finish.
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A 29. Yes, you may choose the bank that will hold your trust, but many notaries prefer one bank to another because they do frequent business with them. The banks vary slightly on their annual fees to administrate your trust. The trust agreement will state their terms and whether there is a cost of living increase after so many years.
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A 30. There are several agencies loaning for construction, but the purchase of the property is up to you.
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A 31. You will need to have a FM3 to open a bank account but only your fideicomiso papers to build a house. It takes a minimum of three days to file and receive an FM3 and you will need a valid passport, Mexican visa and bank statements from a U.S. bank.
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A 32. Title insurance is an agreement of indemnity, which protects the property rights transmitted to a new property owner, and as a consequence, indemnifies against damage or loss arising from a defect in title to real property. An average cost would be $1,750usd.
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A 33. Yes, title insurance is available for your property. We can help you make the contact.
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A 34. For a home valued at $200,000usd, the annual cost could run between $125 and $175usd per year depending upon the coverage you choose. There are any numbers of private Mexican companies who can give you a quote on your completed casa, and there is one agency located in Los Barriles.
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A 35. No. Feel free to contact any of the local realtors in Los Barriles or contact us directly.

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