April 25, 2023

5 Steps Before Buying a Property in the Riviera Maya

Let's say you've just made the decision to put money into a Mexican property.

In particular, you are well aware of the benefits to your budget and improved quality of life that the Riviera Maya can offer.

But first, it should be made clear that, contrary to popular belief, Cancun and Riviera Maya are two distinct places.


Cancun is not located on the Riviera Maya. It is a sizable metropolis with a nearly one million-person residential population. The tourist district, which is located outside of the main city center on a tiny island encircling a natural lagoon and connected to it by a bridge, is heavily packed with hotels and entertainment establishments.

The Riviera Maya, on the other hand, is a coastal region that includes Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Aventuras, and Tulum. It has a beach coastline of over 133 kilometers/88 miles.

Playa del Carmen, the largest city, has a population of 250,000 people. Tulum, with a population of just under 100,000 people, is the second largest town.

Do you know the steps you need to take before purchasing property in the Riviera Maya now that you know what it is?

We are not interested in discussing the actions that every real estate website recommends: create a financial plan; select a mortgage lender; hire a real estate agent; begin the house search process; and submit an offer.

We think that as an investor, you already know these things.


We wish to outline for you the five crucial steps you must take before purchasing a property in the Riviera Maya.


There is a vast range of Riviera Maya real estate properties available, including cozy and affordable condos, luxurious villas, and everything in between.


But Playa del Carmen and Tulum have certain distinctions from one another that come into play in the choice of the location where to invest your money.


Playa del Carmen, which has a population of approximately 250,000, has a much more urban atmosphere than Tulum. There are many activities, malls, bustling downtown streets, a variety of restaurants, shops, and hotels in Playa del Carmen.


This location is easily accessible on foot if you live in or close to the city center. You can live without owning or renting a car. This matters in today's world of high gas prices and inflation. Additionally, walkability is important to minimize hassles with taxis for people who only want to stay for a few weeks or a few months.


Tulum, on the other hand, has a more upscale yet laid-back vibe.

Tulum has maintained much of its jungle nature because of its higher prices and exclusivity, and has recently grown to be a well-liked eco-tourism location. In fact, the boutique hotel industry is thriving since there aren't many all-inclusive resorts right in Tulum.



Choosing between a property that is still under construction and one that is currently on the resale market is important when buying a real estate as an investment.

The term "pre-sale" describes the sale of a residential unit before it is finished.

The first thing that strikes you when you stroll around Playa del Carmen or visit the Tulum beaches are the myriad new residential building construction sites.

On the other hand, it is essential that the real estate selection be adjusted to the growing number of new visitors and residents that has been the Riviera Maya's hallmark in recent years, particularly those from outside Mexico.

Construction of buildings with beautiful architecture is ongoing everywhere.

This indicates that you have numerous chances to purchase a property through a pre-sale.

But what are the actual advantages of investing in a pre-sale project investment?

  • You make the smallest payment in relation to the market value. It is the discount you receive when buying unfinished real estate.
  • As soon as your acquisition is completed, you immediately receive a capital gain. We are discussing capital gains here rather than appreciation.

If you are an investor, it is critical to understand the distinction between capital gain and appreciation using a stock exchange market analogy.

The profit you make when you sell your security is known as capital gain, whereas appreciation is the increase in the value of your stocks that you have not yet sold.

The same thing happens with a pre-sale purchase. You are acquiring something with a higher market value, which is the price at which the property will be put on sale. And the difference between your purchase price and the market value is the profit you receive right away.

Real estate is a cyclical investment, and pre-sale properties are an excellent choice for investors. Your real estate is built while property values rise, allowing you to profit even before the building's doors open. 

  • You have the choice of what unit to buy. First come, first served.
  • Unlike resales, there is no need to worry about maintenance or fixing up your unit.
  • Resale properties do not appreciate in value as much as pre-sale units, owing to the fact that people prefer new over used.


This is the crucial first step in shortlisting any property. Before delving into the individual units, consider the property's location. Ascertain that it is in a good location now and in the future. Keep an eye out for any future infrastructure, shopping centers, or schools that may be constructed near the development. Consider the following: Is there any chance that the value of this development will rise in the future? If yes, continue to the next step of your investment journey.

The Riviera Maya real estate market, in particular, is set to grow even more in the coming years, thanks to two major projects.  

  • The Tren Maya, a 1,525km-long railway project that will interconnect the major cities and tourist regions of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico.
  • The Tulum international airport, which will be completed by the end of 2023. Visitors to Tulum must now drive from Cancun International Airport. Due to gridlock traffic, this trip can take up to three hours during peak season. 



Determining whether you are getting the best possible price for the property you want.

You should not only know the cost price, but also conduct a competitor analysis of other locations.

Take note of the entry price and consider whether future price increases are feasible.

If your competitors are only selling residential land and you have a ready-made project, you have a competitive advantage over them.

Examine the design of the development to see if it has any distinguishing features.

For example, if an architecture firm completes a project that is documented and verifiable. And this has real eco-sustainability benefits.

Make no mistakes here, and always double-check the site plan!



Prioritize the units based on what you require before evaluating their individual merits. For example, if you're looking for three-bedroom apartments, limit your search to that category and evaluate each unit thoroughly. Go level by level or direction by direction. Only then can you narrow down your top three or five choices.


Choosing which property to buy is not easy.   It simply requires effort and diligence in taking the necessary steps to make an informed decision. These five essential steps should assist you in selecting the best property in the Riviera Maya.

We are available to provide expert advice and guidance to all property buyers and investors in the Riviera Maya!