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House Hunting in . . . Los Cabos, Mexico | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Francisco Peña for The New York Times



This hacienda-style house, known as Villa Miguel, is in the gated Cabo del Sol golf community on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. The 180,000-acre resort was built along a two-mile stretch of the Sea of Cortez coastline, just minutes from downtown Cabo San Lucas. It includes several subdivisions with custom houses and condominiums facing the ocean or the fairway.

Villa Miguel, which has four bedrooms and four and a half baths over 3,800 square feet, offers both gulf and golf. Built in 2001 in the Buena Vista subdivision, the concrete two-story house has a terra-cotta tile roof and a two-car garage, and faces the beach as well as part of the eighth fairway. The home is being sold fully furnished and “totally turnkey,” said Andrew Stephenson, a sales executive at Engel & Völkers Snell Real Estate, which is listing the property.

The villa served as a vacation home for Kathy Christopherson and her husband, Michael, and after his death in 2007 was primarily rented out. “I didn’t want it to sit empty,” said Ms. Christopherson, a retired business owner from Lilydale, Minn., who built a smaller home for herself on a nearby lot. “It’s kind of like having our little boutique hotel.”

Villa Miguel offers many hotel-like amenities in addition to the resort community’s golf and tennis facilities. The house is just over a tenth of a mile from the beach and has an L-shaped infinity pool with a Jacuzzi, along with an outdoor kitchen, firepit and seating areas on an expansive terrace. Each of the four spacious en-suite bedrooms has private outdoor space facing the ocean.


The property is entered through a wrought-iron gate that opens to a large landscaped courtyard with a traditional Spanish colonial fountain, in “truly authentic Mexican hacienda style,” Mr. Stephenson said.

Inside, through a carved antique mesquite front door from Guadalajara, is the foyer, with a curved staircase and striking brick domed ceiling. Two master bedrooms are upstairs, while a third master suite, a smaller bedroom and a half-bath are downstairs. The lower level, with double-height vaulted ceilings, also contains the living room, dining area and kitchen in an open floor plan that connects to the terrace.

The home’s rustic aesthetic continues in the living room, with exposed beams and columns and a double-height stone wall that holds a gas fireplace. If you look closely at the locally crafted Saltillo terra-cotta floors, Ms. Christopherson said, “you can actually see animal footprints in them.”

Cabo del Sol is in the “Golden Corridor,” which extends about 20 miles from Cabo San Lucas to San José del Cabo and has several championship golf courses and resort developments. The Los Cabos area is known for its warm, sunny climate and outdoor activities like fishing, scuba diving and whale watching.

Villa Miguel is about seven miles from Cabo San Lucas, a popular tourist destination that offers a lively night life, and around 25 miles from the Los Cabos International Airport.


The Los Cabos housing market stalled after the 2008 global financial crisis, and the region suffered additional setbacks after Hurricane Odile in 2014. But the market has been steadily rebounding as new construction continues and demand for vacation homes grows, real estate agents say.

“The market is attracting a lot of buyers — it’s very active,” said Marco Ehrenberg, an agent with Los Cabos Sotheby’s International Realty. He said that sales volume increased by about 30 percent in 2016 over the previous year.

But the market still generally favors buyers, he said, particularly with properties below $2 million. “There are a lot of homes that were built six to 10 years ago coming to market,” Mr. Ehrenberg said. “In these older developments you can still get deals.”

At the same time, there is healthy demand for ultraluxury homes, he and other agents say. One of the most expensive properties on the market right now is a sprawling private beachfront estate, asking $16 million, according to the Multiple Listing Service in Baja California Sur. The average price for luxury homes, though, is closer to $3 million, agents say.


Most buyers are from the United States and Canada. There has also been increased interest from Australians, said Mr. Stephenson of Engel & Völkers. Many major American cities offer direct flights to the Los Cabos airport, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta.


Real estate transactions involving international buyers are mostly done in cash. Some local banks will offer financing, though at less-attractive terms than in the United States, said Louis M. Espinoza, a real estate lawyer based in San José del Cabo.

Mexican law requires that purchases by foreigners be made through a fideicomiso, or bank trust, if a property is within 50 kilometers, or about 31 miles, of the coastline (which is the case for Los Cabos). The bank holds the trust deed for the buyer, who becomes the beneficiary and retains full ownership rights and responsibilities, Mr. Espinoza said.

A public notary prepares and certifies all the closing documents. Buyers may also want to hire a lawyer to represent them at the closing.


Multiple Listing Service in Baja California Sur: mlsinbajasur.com

Los Cabos Tourism Board: visitloscabos.travel

Mexico Tourism Board: visitmexico.com


Spanish; Mexican peso (1 peso = $0.047)


The seller pays the broker commission, typically around 6 percent. (Commissions are sometimes lowered, to 3 to 4 percent, for properties above $5 million.) The buyer’s closing costs include a one-time acquisition tax paid to the municipality (usually averaging 2 percent of the purchase price), along with various other fees for the notary and certification.

For Villa Miguel, closing costs would total around $88,000, according to Mr. Espinoza’s calculations. The annual homeowners association fee is $3,788 and monthly property management fee is $500; annual property taxes are $924.

The New York Times