Tulum Real Estate – Beautiful Natural Setting Celebrated In Expo

Green Expo Tulum
Green Expo Tulum

Within the growing market on Tulum Real Estate, an important aspect is that of the close contact which residents have with the area’s beautiful natural surroundings. Whether property buyers prefer ecological lots in close contact with the natural surroundings (such as beachfront lots in the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve, or new ecological developments in the areas surrounding Tulum), luxury condos with sustainable design or lots for classy homes in urban-village style developments, Tulum MLS listings show excellent options; and in each case, one aspect of Tulum’s developing culture is an interest in preserving and enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings (including the beachfront, and the famous cenotes.)

This aspect of Tulum Real Estate culture will soon be celebrated in the 3rd Tulum Ya’ax Green Expo 2010, in ecopark Xel-Ha, one of the Mexico’s top ecotourism destinations, about 20 minutes away from Tulum. On April 8 and 9 the event will take Park Museum of Mayan Culture in Tulum. The event is the most important in the region dedicated to promoting environment-friendly practices and the use of “green” products.

The Tulum Ya’ax Green Expo 2010 will offer all participants – entrepreneurs, artists, local real estate owners, investors and tourists – new ecological tools they can use at home or business for a healthy coexistence with the environment. Also, attendees will engage with national and local experts about real solutions for green building design, permaculture, water treatment and renewable energy. Green Expo visitors can also buy products made in the region, including handicrafts, products for bath, beauty, health, and household cleaning. There will also be information presented about sustainable practices and green architecture in the Riviera Maya, Mexico and the world.

Tulum Green Expo
Tulum Green Expo

The exhibition will feature a program of lectures by recognized experts from around the country, who will share ideas with the community in Tulum. There will also be a classical music ensemble, an “organic” fashion show, traditional food from local restaurants and an area with the best holistic therapists in Tulum.

Whether real estate buyers are searching MLS listings for properties which are “green” and in close contact with nature, high-end luxury built on sustainable models, or just a comfortable place to live near the beachfront, events such as this one can be appealing to all as a part of Tulum’s developing community. This aspect of Tulum’s emerging culture is pointing toward a clean, pleasant environment for real estate buyers to live in.

Tulum Real Estate by Hector Moreno has been working in Real Estate in the areas of Tulum, Akumal, Sian Kaan for nearly 6 years. He is a certified realtor and owner/broker of Moreno Realty Associates.512-879-6546

Read More From Hector Moreno

Aerial Tour from Playa del Carmen to Tulum.

Tour Aereo de Playa del Carmen a Tulum.

———————–

By KEVIN BRASS
Published: March 23, 2007, The New York Times

Los Arboles Tulum
Los Arboles Tulum

In the dense tropical forest west of the Mayan ruins of Tulum, a Texas-based developer is creating a jungle community, hoping to attract buyers more interested in exotic birds and wild orchids than ocean views.

The project, Los Árboles Tulum (www.losarbolestulum.com), is the first large-scale attempt to build an environmentally sensitive, master-planned residential project in the inland region of the Riviera Maya, the Mexican vacation destination best known for beach resorts and the night life of Cancún.

”We saw a need for this in the market,” said Jason Schnurr, the business development director for the Tierra Group, the family-owned company that is developing Los Árboles Tulum. ”It’s not going to be all millionaires in the Riviera Maya.”

Riviera Maya’s coast, on the eastern side of the Yucatán Peninsula, is one of the fastest-growing residential markets in Mexico, primarily offering hotel-condo projects. But beachfront land is becoming scarce, and expensive.

A single hectare, or almost 2.5 acres, of developable land along the coast can easily cost $500,000. In contrast, each of the 261 two-hectare lots in Los Árboles Tulum is selling for about $55,000.

But to help preserve the jungle environment, buyers must agree to build on only 5 percent of their lots and they must provide their own electricity, most likely through solar panels or generators. Water will be pumped from wells, and sewage will be treated by a natural wetlands filtration system commonly used in the area.

While rustic jungle retreats are common in countries like Costa Rica, such developments are rare in Mexico, where most buyers are looking for either sandy beaches or colonial charm.

”I would have my concerns,” said Bruce Greenberg, a real estate consultant and appraiser who specializes in Mexico. ”Marketing a jungle project will be challenging, unless they can provide a special lifestyle to attract that particular kind of buyer.”

Los Árboles Tulum intends to woo buyers with a chance to live in one of the world’s most unusual ecosystems.

Los Arboles Tulum A Mayan Jungle Hideaway
Los Arboles Tulum A Mayan Jungle Hideaway

There is no surface water on the Yucatán Peninsula, but large rivers flow beneath the rocky surface, creating massive caves known as cenotes, which had strong spiritual significance for Mayans.

The development site is about 7.5 miles inland on the road that connects the coastal ruins of Tulum with Cobá, a largely unexcavated Mayan site that some believe once rivaled the splendor of the better-known Chichén Itzá. And it is only a few minutes’ drive to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, a 1.3-million-acre nature reserve stretching down the Caribbean coast (www.cesiak.org).

Mr. Schnurr said 40 lots had been sold, even though the project was still in its early stages. Sixty percent of the buyers were from the United States, he said, and 40 percent were from Europe.

STEPHEN VERNSTROM, 60, of Maple Grove, Minn., and his wife, Mona, were among the early buyers. They want to build a second home and eventually to retire here.

”We were searching for a larger parcel where people weren’t stacked on top of each other,” said Mr. Vernstrom, who runs a rock climbing school in Minnesota and often leads eco-tours in Mexico. ”When you’re on the coast, it’s a whole different lifestyle.”

Obtaining title to land on the coast is a notoriously difficult enterprise in many parts of Mexico. Large tracts are often controlled by an ejido, a collective of local citizens. ”I see a lot of green on the map, but none of it is for sale,” Mr. Schnurr said.

For Los Árboles, the Tierra Group was able to obtain three properties totaling 481 hectares, including a ranch once used to harvest gum from the zapote trees that still cover the land. But for now, Los Árboles Tulum is little more than a half-built narrow road cut through the jungle. Construction has been stalled while the project awaits its final permits from the local government.

The state of Quintana Roo was widely criticized for the rapid development of the Miami Beach-style strip of hotels in Cancún, so all the building projects in the area are undergoing increased environmental review. And under pressure from environmentalists, the state has set new restrictions on high-rises and high-density developments on the coast.

”They’re using Cancún as a basis for development, and they’re not going to let the same thing happen here,” said Randy Bowser, a local botanist active in environmental issues.

Buy into Los Arboles Tulum Mayan Jungle Hideway with Five Acre Lots
Buy into Los Arboles Tulum Mayan Jungle Hideway with Five Acre Lots

With several rare species of plants and wildlife in the jungle, Los Árboles Tulum has attracted extra scrutiny from government inspectors, as well as local Mayan hunters who fear that the project will drive out wild turkeys and boar.

”What we’ve found is the Mexican government really wants to do right,” said Matthew Schnurr, Jason’s brother and director of operations, as he showed a visitor around the property.

The Schnurrs, whose father, Greg, is the founder and chief executive of the company, know firsthand that developing in Mexico can be tricky. Their first project in the area a development called Paraíso Tan-kah, with 105 residential lots on the coast north of Tulum, was almost completely sold out when the local government decided to do an environmental and zoning review of the area, delaying the project for several months.

The family expects Los Árboles Tulum to benefit from growing interest in the Tulum area. While high-end resorts are the norm to the north, the village of Tulum still has a kind of bohemian charm, with backpacker camps and nude beaches.

”There has been a frenzy in Tulum recently of people buying and selling,” said Shawn Bandick, a real estate agent at One Stop Real Estate on the Riviera Maya. He believes there is a market for the type of rustic experience that will be offered by Los Árboles Tulum.

”They will attract a clientele who have had enough of urban living,” Mr. Bandick said.

A PLACE IN MEXICO
Greater Security for Buyers From Abroad

Los Arboles Tulum Ecological Subdivision
Los Arboles Tulum Ecological Subdivision

EXPERTS say that the process of buying property in Mexico has changed substantially in recent years. For instance, title insurance and the wide availability of mortgages have added a new level of security to transactions and encouraged an increase in the number of foreign buyers.

Still, buying in Mexico remains a complicated and sometimes frustrating process for the uninitiated.

Stewart Title, which began offering title insurance in Mexico in 1993, has had its Mexico business triple in the past three years, said Mitch Creekmore, a senior vice president at Stewart International and co-author with Tom Kelly of ”Cashing In on a Second Home in Mexico.” ”You have to do your own due diligence,” Mr. Creekmore said.

Longtime participants in the real estate business cite these common obstacles:

There are restrictions on foreign ownership of land within 50 kilometers, or 31 miles, of the coast and 100 kilometers of the border.

In most cases, any residential buyer who is not a Mexican citizen must place the property in a Mexican bank trust, or fideicomiso, which is controlled by the buyer and easily renewed after 50 years.

The national real estate association, Asociación Mexicana de Profesionales Inmobiliarios, recently signed an agreement with the National Association of Realtors in the United States that allows its members to use the Realtor designation. But there still is little oversight.

”You have to have a reputable broker, period,” said J. P. Money, who runs http://www.mls4rivieramaya.com, a property listing service. ”Ask for references, and ask people who have bought from them before.”

Although the practice is technically illegal, it is not unusual for a seller to record a much lower purchase price to avoid taxes and then an unsuspecting buyer, trying to resell the property, is called upon to pay tax on the recorded increase in value.

”Buyers need to be sure the full price is recorded on the deed,” said Linda Neil, founder of the Settlement Company, a transaction consultancy based in La Paz, Mexico.

Some buyers are shocked to find that closing costs can be as much as 10 percent of a property’s value. Fees for condominium associations and maintenance also may add to a transaction’s overall expense.

Tracking a property’s title can be difficult. Large tracts often are controlled by ejidos — collectives of landowners — and in some cases sellers do not have full title to the land.

”Probably the biggest land mine is distinguishing the difference between private property and ejido land,” Ms. Neil said. ”If title insurance won’t cover the title, that’s a big red flag.” KEVIN BRASS

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