Buying Real Estate in Mexico
Buying real estate in Mexico isn't necessarily more complicated
than buying in the United States, but the rules are different.
If you want to buy a house in Mexico, you can do so, but mortgages
are rare. Buying for cash, if you have it, is the best way to
get a cheap house in any case, here or there. The article below
explains some of the procedures and precautions of buying real
estate in Mexico.
How to Buy Real Estate in Mexico - By Rosana Hart - 2005
It's fun to dream about having a getaway place in Mexico,
be it a charming condo by the ocean, a little cabin somewhere,
or whatever... It's even more fun to do it!
In recent years it has become easier for foreigners to own
real estate in Mexico, including Mexican beachfront property.
See below for more about how this works... property near the
ocean is handled in a different way from other types. But it's
great that we can do it now!
Buying real estate in Mexico is different from the process
at home in some ways, so do work with an attorney who knows the
ropes and speaks good English.
Some Tips on Buying Mexican Houses, Land, etc.
Mexican real estate is typically paid for with cash or by
check. Mortgages are quite rare.
Due partly to the rarity of mortgages, a house may be for
sale for quite a while. This could be to your advantage when
buying, and less so if you decided to sell.
Mexican title insurance for real estate is much less common
than in the US, but you really should arrange to get it.
There's one kind of land to be wary of -- ejido land. Ejidos
were land held in common in the past, and the titles can be murky.
If you are exploring the real estate -- be it homes, land,
condos, or whatever -- in a particular area of a Mexican city
or state, ask local people what is for sale. You may have a lot
of choices that are not listed with real estate offices and don't
even have signs out front. You can find treasures this way, even
if your Spanish is pretty basic!
Prices may be higher if the seller knows that a foreigner
is interested. So you may pay more than a local, but do feel
free to bargain. It's expected!
Property measurements are often in square meters. To give
you an idea, 1 acre equals 4046.86 square meters. One square
meter equals 10.7639 square feet.
Buying Mexican Real Estate Near the Ocean
As individuals, foreigners can't own property within about
30 miles of the shoreline or about 60 miles of the border. But
there are two ways that you can legally own Mexican real estate
within these regions. Experts say that both methods are secure,
when set up properly.
 A bank trust is commonly used for residential real estate,
and that's called a fideicomiso in Spanish. The bank "owns"
the property but you as trustee have total control of the real
estate, for building, selling, putting it in your will and avoiding
inheritance taxes, etc. You can list more than one trustee, for
example, yourself and your spouse or yourself and a friend.
Bank trusts are good for 50 years and are renewable. Setup
fees run somewhere around $500 for this arrangement, and annual
fees are about the same. There are regulations on how large the
land can be.
 You can form a Mexican corporation, but none of the owners
can be Mexican. If the land will be used commercially, this is
the way to go.Costs to set up this corporation are several times
higher than for a bank trust. Mexican corporate tax reports have
to be filed, which you would have a Mexican accountant do for
So if you dream of having a home in Mexico, do your homework
and go for it! Thousands of foreigners have done it, and many
of them are living in their homes right now. You can join them!
Rosana Hart has traveled to Mexico many times. Her website,
contains the full text of a book she wrote about traveling in
Mexico, as well as information, travel tips, and real estate
tips on a variety of Mexican cities.
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