Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Buying Real Estate in Mexico

If you set out to buy real estate in Mexico, you usually must deal with a real estate company, a buyer’s lawyer, a bank and a public notary. Though there are legal regulations, keep in mind that Mexican real estate agents do not have to be licensed or certified; anyone can set up a real estate company.

Attorneys and Real Estate Agents

You should have a Mexican attorney involved in this process so they can draw up contracts, and review the conditions and terms of sale. An attorney can also perform background research on real estate agents. It is a good idea to have your own attorney, not one appointed by a real estate company. Attorneys must be licensed, and are the only ones who can give you real legal advice. Make sure your attorney can present you a “cédula professional.” Attorneys can also take care of some bureaucratic procedures in their behalf, and save you money this way.

Notary publics are also important in this process. Unlike in other countries, being a notary public is highly regulated; one must be at least 35 years old, have a degree in law, at least 3 years of experience at a notary public office, and pass an exam. They are the ones who officialize all of your documentation and permits in this process. You are allowed to choose your own notary public.

Most real estate deals in Mexico are done in cash, but financing is becoming more common.

Rules, Regulations and Restrictions

According to the law, the Mexican nation owns all land and water in Mexico, along with minerals, salts, ore deposits, natural gas and oil. That ownership can be assigned to individuals, however.

There are also restricted zones, that Mexico prohibits foreigners from legally owning. They include land within 100 kilometers of the Mexican border and 50 kilometers within a Mexican coastline. However, a foreigner can invest in such lands under a real estate trust, known as “fideicomiso.” A Mexican bank is to be assigned as the trustee, has title to the property and owns the records. Foreigners can have unrestricted use of the lands under this loophole, but not officially own that land.

Real Estate Developments are companies that buy large quantities of land, and then develop it with creating a residential community, and putting in some facilities.

General Process

First, you should find a property that you like and agree a price verbally, and then set it up in a document,” Convenio de Compra/Venta.” You must set up a trust if this property is within restricted zones. Then you must seek permission from the Foreign Secretary’s office to buy land, followed by signing a “Calvo Clause.” If you are buying property from a Real Estate Developer, have your notary public invesitage them.

Next, you should get a copy of the Land/Property Deeds from whoever is selling you your property, and have it investigated by your notary public. You must have the land appraised, which can also be organized by a notary public.

You must obtain a permit, and you’ll have to submit the following documents:

  1. Passport
  2. Birth Certificate
  3. Marriage Cerificate (if necessary)
  4. Visa (could be a tourist visa)

Your notary public will probably assist you in this process. They must also get the following documents from the property seller:

  1. Original property deed
  2. Tax receipts
  3. Public utilities bills
  4. Details of land service fee

Your seller must pay a Capital Gains Tax. Then your payment of the property will take place when the deed is signed over to you, at the notary public’s office. You must also pay any other fees and taxes.


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