I’m sometimes asked how one gets started with viewing/touring properties in a foreign country. It really is (or can be) similar to finding property in the US:
- Go to a real estate aggregation site, preferably a reputable one (e.g. Century 21, RE/MAX)
- Search for properties matching your criteria
- Submit an inquiry for one property that sort of matches your criteria
- A real estate agent will contact you, find out more about what you’re looking for, and compile a list of potential matches
Let the realtor do the work in this situation. They have valuable knowledge about the neighborhoods, gotchas about the property (e.g. When was the plumbing/electricity last redone? Can the property be rented out?) and so forth. They also may have access to legal teams which can help you navigate the process of purchasing real estate as a foreigner.
The Sotheby’s Experience
The first collection of properties for viewing were assembled by an agent from Sotheby’s we’ll call MP. Overall the experience was extremely pleasant. MP was friendly, communicative, and professional.
Sotheby’s is focused on luxury properties and MP’s lower limit in terms of price was $5,000,000 MXN, which would be just within my budget.
Candidate: Av. Coyoacan 1009
- Location: Colonia del Valle
- Price: $5,000,000-700,000,000 MXP
The first property we toured was a new development in Colonia del Valle. A fair bit south from the busier areas of Roma/Condesa, it’s relatively quiet and would be a nice neighborhood to live on a long-term basis.
The units were nice, to be expected with a new construction. And the building had a great rooftop terrace (one common section, plus dedicated sections for certain units). However the inside of the units felt a little cramped, with not much natural light. Since I’m biased towards open space/natural light I decided against it.
Candidate: Chiapas 186
- Location: Condesa/Roma
- Price: $5,500,000 – $6,500,000 MXP
I really liked this property. Well-located in Condesa/Roma, in a building with old guts but recently renovated in a very modern/chic style. The ground floor has a posh restaurant which, while potentially adding to noise issues in the evening, added an element of class and flair to the building.
The specific unit I was interested in was a top-level studio apartment with a large terrace. It satisfied my requirement for open space and natural light, but the lack of a view (mostly obscured by the large mall across the street) influenced me to look elsewhere.
The Century 21 Experience
Not finding quite what I was looking for with Sotheby’s, I opened up the Century 21 Mexico website and did some searching there. I was put in touch with a realtor we’ll call MD who was excited to show me some candidates.
Candidate: Puebla 218
- Location: Roma
- Price: $4,800,000 MXP
This was a very attractive option, largely for the space and location. A very roomy split-level unit in the heart of Roma Norte. Lots of great restaurants nearby, and close to the major thoroughfare of Paseo de la Reforma.
Decided against this unit in the end because, like others, it lacked a nice view and felt somewhat cramped even with the large square footage. I had decided by this point that the unit I would take definitely needed some kind of expansive view that could be seen from within the unit.
The Winner: Rio Amazonas 46
- Location: Reforma
- Price: $4,200,000 MXP
The expansive view was supplied by the next property, Rio Amazonas 46. On the 9th floor of a building somewhat tucked away a couple of blocks from the Paseo it checked many of my boxes:
- Well within budget
- Gorgeous view of the Reforma skyline
- 24-hour manned security
- Elevator (even I get tired sometimes, and having one rents better)
- Within walking distance of plenty of shops/restaurants
- Easily accessible via public transport, and taxis are nearby
The unit also came furnished, although this didn’t matter much to me since I had extensive renovations planned for the unit to make it more modern and tailor it to working/traveling tech workers and professionals.
With the property choice settled, I informed MD and got to work on acquiring financing. The fun part is over.