Top 10 Questions Foreigners Ask About Buying Mexican Real Estate
These are 10 of the most common questions our real estate attorneys at MEXLAW hear on a daily basis; they are the experts when it comes to helping foreigners buy Mexican real estate.
- Is it safe to buy real estate in Mexico?
Yes, but it is crucial to use a Mexican real estate attorney to ensure you receive the title on the property. The attorney performs a complete title search, including the chain of ownership to ensure this seller has the right to sell, and that no others are waiting to take possession of the property. This search will also reveal any taxes owed or liens on the property.
- Can I buy beachfront property in Mexico?
Yes, property within 50 kilometers of any coast, or 100 kilometers of the border is considered the restricted zone, foreigners can purchase property in the restricted area through a fideicomiso (FEE-day-coh-MEE-soh)
- What is a Fideicomiso?
A fideicomiso means the property is held in a bank trust with you as the beneficiary. The fideicomiso is a secure way to own property; you have full authority over your property with the same rights you would have under a free title real estate ownership.
- Is the Fideicomiso Just a Lease?
The fideicomiso is not a lease; although it is held in 50-year increments, the trust is renewable by you at any time. This property is not considered part of the bank’s assets.
- Are There Fees Involved with a Fideicomiso?
Yes, The fideicomiso is subject to a setup fee and a nominal annual trust fee, set up fees and annual fees vary depending on the bank and the location and value of the property.
- How can I buy in a restricted zone without a Fideicomiso?
As a foreigner, you may set up a Mexican corporation, and buy real estate in a restricted zone through the corporation. Or By becoming a Mexican Citizen, you may purchase restricted property without a fideicomiso. The process of “Naturalization” or “Citizenship” is an option for foreigners who demonstrate legal residence in Mexico for five consecutive years minimum prior to the application date.
If the property is outside the restricted zone, foreigners may legally purchase property without a fideicomiso.
- Why do I need a Real Estate Attorney?
Hiring an attorney is the only way to guarantee you receive the title on the property.
MEXLAW real estate attorneys will provide a quote of expenses to close your sale, and guide you through the purchase process, from reviewing your offer to purchase to closing the deal including a title guarantee of your property.
An attorney will ensure there are no errors during the Property Registration, and provide proof your name is on the deed in the Public Registry Office. If your property is not registered, you will not have the title.
- What Function does a Notario Publico Serve?
The Notario Publico is a government-appointed attorney responsible for the registering of real estate deeds with the Public Registry Office. Although the Notario is a lawyer, they do not act as your lawyer in this case, as they are representing the buyer, seller, and the state.
- Will my property have Title?
Yes, provided it was a legal purchase and you have an attorney that guarantees title on your investment.
- Can the Mexican Government Take my Property?
No, Provided you used a real estate attorney to do a title search, which should include the chain of ownership to ensure the seller has the legal right to sell the property, and no one has a claim against the property. The search will also reveal any taxes owed or liens on the property. Once you have the title and are registered as the owner at the Property Registration Office, no one can take the property.
Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Mexico may not expropriate land except for a public purpose such as building a road. This same act exists in most countries including the US and Canada.