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Can Foreigners Buy Property in Mexico? Bank Trusts vs. Corporations

A common question asked of real estate agents is “Can foreigners purchase property in Mexico?” The simple answer is absolutely! Not only is it possible, but it is also quite popular, especially in tourist destinations like the Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit, and Baja California.

Restricted Zones, Individual Buyers, and the Bank Trust

In your research, you may have heard of “restricted zones” in Mexico. These zones are any property within 100 km from Mexico’s international borders and 50 km from the coasts. According to the Mexican constitution, no foreigner may acquire ownership of any land or water within these zones.

However, an amendment was made to the Constitution to allow foreigners to own this land through what is known as a Fideicomiso (or Bank Trust). Foreigners can acquire real estate through a bank trust which grants them the use of the property for 50 years and the trust is renewable every 50 years.

Consider Creating a Corporation to Purchase Multiple Properties

A foreigner can also acquire property by establishing a Mexican corporation. There are a variety of different corporations that can be established so it is necessary to seek professional advice from a lawyer to determine the best option for you and your interests.

A Mexican legal entity has the capacity to acquire real estate in the national territory just as a Mexican citizen would so there is no need to create a bank trust to act as the intermediary. However, Mexican legal entities of any kind have tax and legal obligations they must comply with, such as the provisional payment of taxes on a monthly basis and a definitive payment of taxes on a yearly basis.

Another thing to consider is that a Mexican legal entity can acquire as many real estate properties as it desires with no restrictions to the maximum number. This is an effective way to invest in real estate in Mexico as the company may also deduct expenses related to its operation.

Comparing the Differences


Bank Trust




Who can create?


•       LLC/Inc

•       Individuals

•       LLC/Inc

•       Individuals



Average set up costs:

$1,000.00 USD permit

$550.00 USD  acceptance fee

$550.00 USD 1st annual fee (payable in advance)



$550.00 USD annual fee


Average set up costs:
$2,000.00 – $2,500.00 USD notary fees, rights of registration, notices to Foreign Affairs MinistryMaintenance:$800.00 USD Accountant Fees (Depending on the operations company has)Shareholders meetings (if required)Acquisition notice (when acquiring a real estate property)
Turnaround Times


Creation of bank trust: 45 calendar days minimum assuming all documentation is complete


Receipt of certified copy: 1-2 weeks after closing date


Receipt of Title:  3-4 months

Creation of Corporation with tax ID: 30 working days assuming all the documentation is complete.


Receipt of e-signature (e.firma): TBD


Creation of bank account: one month (depending on the financial institution)

Yearly Taxes


Property tax


Property tax

Income tax / Capital gains

Sales tax


Rental Policy


Long term: Yes

Digital Platforms:

●        Nonresidents: 20% income tax, 16% sales tax.

●        Temporary or permanent resident with Mexican tax ID: 10%  income tax, 8% sales tax up to a maximum income of $300,000.00 MXN/yr

Long term: Yes


Digital platforms do not withhold taxes from the income obtained through the platform, but will be considered for the declarations that the company has to file.

Sale of the property


Capital gains/exemption: determined by & payable to notary


Extinguishment of bank trust fees


Real estate commissions

Capital gains: payable straight to the Mexican tax authority


Real estate commissions

Deciding Which Option is Best

Before embarking on any major decision when investing internationally, you should consult a qualified and experienced lawyer who can help you make the best decision based on your needs, desires, and abilities. Contact Mexlaw today to speak with one of our highly-experienced real estate attorneys to help you make the best decision for you and your family.

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