So a Notary, Lawyer and Realtor walk into a bar in Mexico…
The start of a good joke but in reality buying real estate in Mexico is not something to take lightly. Recent bad press suggests that a real estate purchase in Mexico is not secure, but nothing is further from the case. Buying real estate in Mexico is a relatively simple process if you understand the procedures and people involved. This article examines the entities involved in your real estate purchase in Mexico.
Due diligence no matter where you might be is always a good idea, but sometimes in the heat of the moment, buyers in Mexico find themselves taking risks they wouldn’t otherwise take; such as the woman who recently lost her condo in Puerto Peñasco because she failed to follow through on standard real estate purchasing procedures.
It is estimated that there are over one million foreign owners in Mexico. Do not let ‘scary tales’ do more than convince you to take the usual precautions.
Do not be lulled into a false sense of security because you may be dealing with fellow Americans or Canadians. It does not mean the sale should be sealed with a handshake or scribbled on the back of a bar napkin; neither will hold up in court. Buying real estate in Mexico is a different process than Canada or the US; but it is performed daily across the country and whether you are a tourist or a resident you can legally purchase real estate in Mexico.
Who will you be working with?
A Notary ( Notario Publico) at the very least is required to complete all real estate transactions. A lawyer is highly recommended, a local and experienced real estate agent will give you boots on the ground advice and a Mexican bank if you are purchasing in the ‘restricted zone.’
When do you need a bank?
If your purchase is within the ‘restricted zone’ you many need to hold title through a bank trust, called a fideicomiso. The restricted zone is 100kms from the border and 50kms from the ocean shoreline – for example all of the Baja peninsula is in the restricted zone, whereas San Miguel de Allende and Ajijic are not. A bank trust is a completely safe and secure way to purchase real estate in Mexico when you use reputable service providers.
What do you know about Baja? Nature, History, Culture, Food, and Good Times all collide in Baja. It is home to many of the world’s first’s, last’s, longest, hottest, tallest and deepest record holders.
From the Mexicali in the north to the Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip, the Baja is known for its great beaches, celebrity sightings and nightlife, deep sea fishing, the Baja 1000 (and 500) races, and its abundance of nature, among other things.
1. Baja California is the third longest peninsula in the world after Arabian Peninsula and the Malayan Peninsula. It is bordered by the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean. It is made entirely of two Mexican states Baja California and Baja California Sur.
By Peg Steley
When I think about my annual escape to Mexico, my mouth begins to tingle with anticipation. I salivate, I drool and my mind wanders to tranquil settings, scorching sunsets suspended over restless waters, waves lapping, balmy breezes wafting. Dressed in lilac and orange silk that caresses my legs, I hasten over the warm sand to one of my favourite spots – there is only one thing on my mind – “una Margarita fresca por favor” I snap with a smile but a sense of urgency. “Con sal, en las rocas” I add just to be sure…..for there can be no misunderstanding….no wish-washy, ersatz substitute for perfection. I may compromise on a few things in life – BUT NOT MY MARGARITAS!
By Trudie Nelson
Not unlike those of us who escape to the ‘cottage’ every long weekend, so too do the retired and working expats in Mexico. As a matter of fact with the low cost of living it’s possible to own multiple homes across Mexico to take advantage of the wealth of landscapes, weather zones and more.
By Marcia Blondin
You have come on vacation more than once. Getting to know certain areas that sing to you like a siren’s song the minute your plane touches ground. Locals are beginning to remember you and nod with a smile when you pass by. A tiny idea pops up while the warmth of a margarita dispels doubts that hang like Spanish moss in front of your face. Why couldn’t you live here? Why couldn’t you do this everyday? Maybe not the margarita at 10 a.m., but why can’t you be warm every day? What joy in shoveling snow surpasses burying your toes in silky sand? It’s a fleeting dream for thousands and thousands of tourists every year during the winter while dreading the thought of flying north into months more of below zero temperatures, but we are talking about YOU! This dream isn’t fleeting…it’s beginning to grow. Taking up more and more of your brain space up to and including writing down the pros and cons of leaving your entire life up until now and moving to a country that has its share of bad press, and what will parents/friends/co-workers/children have to say about your (apparently) rash decision? What about your house, your car, your job? Your life?
Location, Location, Location
When you are moving to Mexico deciding where is likely your first priority. About three times the size of Texas with a population of 120 million, Mexico is the fifth most diverse country in the world. But more than its abundant flora and fauna, Mexico also has beaches, jungles, deserts, mountains, urban and rural, modern and traditional. There are archaeological sites thousands of years old and some of the world’s most modern technologies just minutes from each other.
Where you hang your sun hat will depend greatly on your personal preferences. Many expats call Puerto Vallarta and Cancun home, but for those that prefer milder temperatures, Ajijic and San Miguel rank top of the list. Looking for something a bit more adventurous, check out Oaxaca or San Cristobel in the south. If proximity to the US is important, many foreigners call Sonora home away from home.
Something to consider: Split your time between the highlands and the beach to avoid the extreme temperatures and humidity of the summer months. Ajijic and Manzanillo is a popular combination.
Always make three copies – Mexican Visa’s
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