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Advice before you buy a property in Cozumel


Be sure that the house you desire can be built on that property you have your eyes on. It doesn't matter where it is located there are construction regulations for city planning called "Plan Director de Desarrollo Urbano". One ordinance of this group of regulations, called "coeficiente de ocupacion del suelo" or "COS" indicates the amount of square meters you can build on that property. The most generous part of this ordinance indicates you can occupy only 70% of the property. This means that if the property you are interested has a surface of 200 square meters, you will only be able to build up to a 140 square meter house (1506 sq. ft.). The other 30% should be left as uncovered area (car port, garden, patio, etc.). Another ordinance indicates a 50% or even 40% occupancy depending on the zone where the property is located. So, if you are planning to build a big house, make sure the property is large enough in size to build your home.


Another important ordinance is the one that controls the density of construction called "Coeficiente de utilizacion del suelo" or "CUS". This determines the amount of total square meters you are allowed to build on that property. Again, depending on the location of the property, you are indicated to build up to 2, 1.5, 1.3 or 1.2 times the size of your property. Let's say again that you are interested in that nice 200 square meter property, and the "CUS" in that area indicates you can only build up to 2 times the surface of that property. This means your house could not exceed a total of 400 square meters (4305 sq. ft.). Now, do not get confused: "COS" is the surface of the property to be used or occupied. "CUS" is the total of square meters you can build on that property. You can always build a two or three level house but if you are thinking about a nice, large one level Mexican ranch style home, that is another story..


Be aware that what you have for granted in your homeland, might become a big problem in Mexico. Please be sure that the property that you intend to buy has the possibility of being connected to the electric power line. It is not enough just to take a glance at the wires hanging on top of the property. They might not have enough voltage to service your home, and maybe less after all the air conditioning, washer-dryer and appliances you will install. Or, on the contrary, the lines you see hanging there might be only high voltage lines.... then be prepared to buy an electric transformer to lower the voltage for your home. This could mean as much as another $5,000 or $6,000 investment. And who knows, the lines could be hanging so near your property that when you build that nice second level, your main balcony is only 2 inches away from that high-tension line. I bet your sales agent told you the electric company would change the wires next month...(ever heard of "Mexican time"?) Many streets on the island are practically new and were never considered in the sewer and water program many years ago. Do you have the possibility to connect to the water and sewer line and how is this proven to you? Please be sure the nearest line is not one or two blocks away. .. or else be prepared for additional, costly expenses of having to dig a 300 to 400 ft. trench with jackhammers, install piping and connect to the city line. The point is, make sure you have asked the right questions and researched the answer completely.


An environmental law named "Programa de Ordenamiento Ecologico Territorial" shortly called the "POET" was approved on May 21st, 2002. This law establishes environmental restrictions on several protected areas of the island, specifically the Center, South, and East part of it and all beach areas. So, if someone says you can build a CONDOMIUM on the East side of the Island BE AWARE! If you are planning to buy an oceanfront or a jungle lot, first consult what type of restrictions you need to meet before building. An environmental study prepared by a Biologist or an Environmental Consultant is always required in the restricted areas. Remember: The project must be approved first by the Environmental Department in order to get the permit from the Local Building Department. The POET protects endangered vegetation species such as mangroves, certain palm trees and several jungle bushes. It also protects the natural water bed from contamination as well as an indiscriminate cutting of the jungle. When a developer tries to sell you acres of jungle land telling you that you can develop huge gardens or golf courses like the existing in Puerto Aventuras, BE AWARE! . It would seem much wiser to pay $400 pesos for consultation with an expert in the field, than to withdraw $80 thousand dollars for useless property.

Buying Property on the East Coast of the Island - If you are looking for isolated property and you have been offered a good deal for those beautiful beachfront lots on the East Side of the Island of Cozumel, be aware that all our East Coast is an environmentally high-protected area. PLEASE: Don't fall in the hands of scammers that say you can build condominiums and large beach homes there. According to the POET, which is the density, surface occupation and height restrictive ordinance, along all the East Coast you can build only one "ecological cabin" per hectare with the following restrictions:


  • Materials: 70% of the raw materials used on construction must be of natural resources (local or imported) such as wood, clay, stone, in its natural state.

  • Electricity: Alternative energy sources such as wind or solar systems for electricity must be proposed and submitted to the Environmental Department.

  • Water: Rainwater must be collected and stored to serve the installations in the ecological cabin. Wells for water sources cannot be drilled, as the ground water table is part of the city reservoir.

  • Sewer: Wastewater treatment plants must be installed. No septic tanks allowed.

So, if you wish to buy property and build, always be aware before you buy. Ask questions, and only until you have checked and certified the given information is true, will you safely be able to enjoy your investment.


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