Buyers Guide to Purchasing Property in Mexico
Looking for a home or holiday property in Mexico?
We're excited to get you started on the right track!
Buying real estate in Mexico isn't just an idea that's catching on; Mexico, especially the Los Cabos area, is now one of the top-ranking real estate destinations in the world.
The influx of tourists, retirees, and investors into Baja California Sur in the past few years has been unprecedented. This can be attributed to the warm weather, rich Latin American culture, and vibrant lifestyle.
What You Need to Know About Buying a House in Mexico
While you can safely conduct a real estate transaction in Mexico with the help of an experienced agent, here are a few important things you should know before buying;
The Mexican Restricted Zone
Also called the Zona Restringida, the restricted zone is the area where foreign ownership is not recorded on a fee simple basis. The restricted zone is any property within 50 kilometers from the coast or 100 kilometers from the border. This includes areas in Baja California Sur. Special rules apply when foreigners want to buy property within the restricted zone. Foreigners may purchase property within restricted zones, provided it is held in a Fideicomiso (bank trust), or the buyer can create a Mexican corporation.
The trustee bank is a Mexican bank, which is authorized by the government to act as a trustee. Owning property through a Fideicomiso provides the buyer with all the rights and privileges of property ownership. Note that the bank holds the property, but it is not considered a bank asset. To avoid making mistakes, you need an experienced real estate representative on the ground.
A Notario Publico is an experienced lawyer appointed by the Mexican government. Their job is to review all the property’s history and documents, to make sure the title is clear and free of debts or liens, etc. Once that is done, they draw up the deed, documenting all parties involved and then present it to the Fiduciary Bank for approval, after which, the deed will be registered in the Public Registry.
The official language in Mexico is the Spanish Language, so your documents will all be in Spanish. If you do not speak fluent Spanish, it helps to retain the services of a licensed English-speaking lawyer and / or translator.
Buying property in Mexico is one of the best choices you can make. Whether you're looking for a luxury retirement home, the perfect beachfront condo, an exquisite family home in an upscale community with master-planned golf courses, or something simpler, Los Cabos has something for everyone.
Real estate in a place like Los Cabos has flourished over the years, with the hottest properties flying off the market.
Acquiring property in Mexico is much like anywhere else except for the manner in which the property is held. In 1917, the Mexican Constitution was changed and forbade foreigners to own land within 50 kilometers of the ocean and 100 kilometers from the border. In 1971 the Mexican government created the Fideicomiso (FeeDayCoMeeSo) or Bank Trust in order for foreigners to own in the “restricted zone”. The bank acts as the trustee and you are the beneficiary enjoying all rights of ownership as well as the right to sell. The trust is a 50 year, renewable for perpetuity contract. It is not a lease, nor is the property a bank asset.
Just as in the US or Canada, you need to work with a reputable Real Estate Company and one of their licensed agents that can guide you through the process assuring a stress free experience.
Have questions about buying a house in Mexico?
The Mexican real estate market is not just open to Mexican nationals, but also to foreign investors, including United States citizens. People from Europe, Canada, Asia, other parts of America, and the rest of the world are welcome to buy a house in Mexico.
Regardless of your home country, a knowledgeable agent will be able to take you through the steps of purchasing a property in Mexico. However, there might be a time when you need legal advice. Team Cabo Properties has partnered up with renowned law firm Mex Law to provide legal help to clients for any occasion that advice or direction is needed. For the most part, buying is the same as the US or Canada in the respect that the property must have a clear title, with no liens or encumbrances.
This process can be intimidating and frustrating if you do not have the proper guide. There are several steps to complete and information to verify, but with the help of a licensed Team Cabo Properties agent, you only need to sign the necessary documents and we will take care of the rest.
● Make a list: First, you need to make a list of possible choices that fit your ideal vision of home.
● Contact Us: Reach out to one of our highly knowledgeable agents to discuss the specifics of your dream home. We will begin the search once we get an accurate picture of what you want.
● Take a Virtual: Take a virtual tour or visit in person to inspect any property you are interested in purchasing.
● Make an offer: Make an on the home of your choice and allow our skilled agents to negotiate the best deal possible. After your offer has been accepted, our agents will ensure a complete and secure exchange of title into your name.
● Get preapproved for a loan or have your funds available so you can move forward immediately. In this “hot” market you need to be able to perform quickly in order to secure your property.
1. Make an Offer: After you have completed the pre-steps and made an offer, you need to come to terms on a price. We can help you negotiate the best price.
2. Sign the Sales Contract: This is where you document the price and specify the terms and conditions of the sale, including any special payment arrangements and penalties for default.
3. Pay a Deposit: Open Escrow The deposit is usually anywhere between 5% to 10% of the agreed-upon sales price. Make sure to use a bonded escrow company.
4. Create the Fideicomiso: This is required if the property is within the restricted zone. To avoid time and money, you can transfer the previous owner’s Fideicomiso into your name. But a transfer does not reset the 50-year clock. A Fideicomiso can only be renewed 50 years from the time it was originally created.
5. Complete the Purchase: Obtain permission to complete the purchase from the Secretary of Foreign Relations. You will be asked to sign a statement indicating that you will not seek foreign legal jurisdiction in dealings with your property transaction. This means that your purchase will be governed by Mexican property law.
6. Title Review and Official Valuation: The notary will take care of these. The valuation will be used to establish the home’s value for tax purposes. The Notario also assists with paying taxes, collecting fees, and initiating the property registration.
7. Final Registration: Final registration of the property registry will be completed and recorded within three months. The formal recording process begins as the Transfer of Property Possession and Escrowed purchase funds are released.
8. Closing: You need to sign the escritura at the notary office, and make the closing payment. When signed and recorded, this escritura will be your title to the property. Closing costs should be about 5% of the purchase price. This includes a 1.5% notary fee, a 2% transfer tax, and a few other odds and ends, including the Fideicomiso setup fees. This will be higher if you get a mortgage.
The closing process may also include scheduling trips to provide title signatures. The documents you need to sign include:
● Beneficiary Forms
● Foreign Permit from the Secretary of Foreign Affairs
● Title Search and Draft by the Notario
● Trustee Bank review of Trust (title document)
● Certificates of No Liens
● Certificates of No Debt
Buying a property in Mexico can seem like a long, intimidating process, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Our Team Cabo agents will take care of everything for you from start to finish and connect you with all necessary 3rd party representation. We promise you a seamless and peaceful process whilst getting you the best deal on the market.
Working with a trained, professional real estate advisor/agent can make the process of buying in Mexico a stress free and fun experience!
At Team Cabo Properties, not only are we experts in the Mexican real estate market, but we also have a commitment to satisfy every client we work with. And that means helping you own your dream home in Mexico. We save you time and money, as well as from the possibility of being on the wrong side of Mexican property law.