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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions About Buying Mexico Real Estate

Get answers to the most common questions about buying and owning property in Mexico, answered by the experienced real estate investment advisors at Investment Properties Mexico!

Buying in Mexico
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The short answer is YES! Of course, there are legal steps you will have to follow when buying property in Mexico as a foreigner, but with our help and guidance, you’ll soon discover that the process is simple and easy to understand. In short, foreigners can own property through a bank trust referred to as a Fideicomiso that is set up when you buy real estate in Mexico.

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Any foreigner (or Mexican National) can use a Mexican Bank Trust - also known as a Fideicomiso - to own real estate in Mexico. A Fideicomiso is basically the equivalent of a beneficiary trust that’s created through a Mexican bank for the sole purpose of allowing foreigners to purchase real estate in Mexico, including property for sale in the Restricted Zones that lie within 100 kilometers of all borders and within 50 kilometers of all coastlines. Here’s more about how a Mexican Bank Trust, or Fideicomiso, functions:

  • To buy property in Mexico as a foreigner, the buyer asks a Mexican bank of his/her choosing to act as trustee on his/her behalf.

  • The bank obtains a permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to acquire the chosen property in a Trust.

  • The standard Trust term is 50 years, but it can easily be automatically renewed for another 50-year period, and ownership can also be transferred at any time.

  • During the Trust term, you have the right to transfer the title of your property to any other party, including a member of your family.

  • The Mexican Bank Trust acts as the legal owner of the property, which is held for the exclusive use of the buyer/beneficiary, who enjoys all the benefits a typical direct owner has, including the possibility to lease or transfer his/her property rights to a third party, or to a pre-appointed heir.

  • The Mexican Bank Trust ensures precise fulfillment of the trust terms according to Mexican law, and assumes full technical, legal and administrative supervision duties in order to protect the interests of the buyer.

  • Fideicomisos are not held by the Mexican Bank Trust (trustee) as an asset of the bank.

  • Today, many Mexican Nationals are also choosing to purchase real estate in Mexico using a Bank trust, simply because it clearly states who they wish to become their beneficiaries in the event of death.

  • In this way, the Mexican Bank Trust also serves as a last will and testament for the purchased property, saving both time and money by avoiding a lengthy probate case (which can take up to three years in Mexico).

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Foreigners often worry about their land being expropriated by the Mexican government, so it’s also important to stress that under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Mexican government may NOT (directly or indirectly) expropriate property, except for special circumstances that involve a clear public purpose. Although exceedingly rare, this is basically the same as "Eminent Domain" in the U.S. If it ever does become necessary to expropriate land in Mexico, the law demands that swift and fair market compensation must be paid, together with accrued interest.

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The Federal Maritime Zone (or ZFM) refers to all beachfront property located up to 20 meters inland, which not even Mexican citizens are permitted to own outright. Under the Federal Maritime Land Zone Law, these portions of Mexican territory belong to the Federal Government.

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First, it’s important to note that new developments and projects in Mexico that are still in pre-sale sometimes offer certain payment schedules. In addition, financing is available for citizens of Mexico, the USA, Canada, the UK and Spain. There are also a number of local Mexican financial institutions that have been dramatically improving their service and the speed of banking transactions like loans, as well as offering lower interest rates to attract buyers. We are happy to put you in touch with someone trustworthy who can help.

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A limited escrow account will be opened after the purchase contract is signed. This is set up to receive deposits for the Notario (notary), Trustee and Lender (if applicable). In the purchase of pre-sale or new construction real estate in Mexico, your money will typically go straight to the developer, with the exception of a 10-20% average held back until the property is delivered.

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Ejido (pronounced eh-hee-dough) land is a product of the Mexican Revolution of 1910. It’s a collective communal organization, and the land it manages was lent to the people so they could use it to farm and raise their families, etc. Ejido land in Mexico is actually owned by the federal government and regulated by Agrarian Law.

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Remember that little piece of paper you received at the immigration counter when you arrived in Mexico at the airport (the one you put in your passport and leave there until you leave the country)? In short, a Mexico Tourist Visa is the document that’s obtained when a person first enters Mexico. Mexico Tourist Visas can easily be continually renewed by leaving Mexico within the allotted 180-day period, then simply reentering. While in Mexico, it’s advisable to take a photo of your tourist visa and your passport, keeping them handy on your phone or person, instead of carrying the original documents around as you tour the country.

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When it’s right, you’ll know it! In the meantime, we can help you arrange a special Discovery Visit to come visit Mexico and explore the area, including tours of any available properties that might be a good fit for your needs. Our Discovery Visits are best kept to four days, which permits you to focus on real estate for two full days, then leaves another full day to relax and take in the scenery as you make a decision about the type of Mexico real estate you want to buy.

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Your professional real estate investment advisor, your English-speaking Mexican attorney, the notary and the Mexican Bank.

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You can buy property in Mexico both safely and securely in a Fideicomiso or with a Mexican Corporation, simply by enlisting the help of a reputable real estate investment advisor, an experienced English-speaking Mexican attorney, a Mexican Bank and a Notary Public.

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In short, no. Investors should always hire competent Mexican legal counsel when contemplating any real estate investment in Mexico. In Mexico, the specific laws and practices regarding real estate are different from those in the United States, so it is very important to work with an experienced, English-speaking Mexican attorney.

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A Notary Public is a type of government-appointed lawyer who is responsible for processing and certifying all real estate transactions, including drawing up and reviewing all of the official documents to ensure the proper transfer of the property.

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In Mexico, the Seller will have to pay commissions and some small closing costs through their attorney, but the majority of closing costs are always incurred by the buyer, similar to real estate transactions in the U.S.

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No, your Notary Public will be responsible for ensuring the property title is clear and free of any liens, encumbrances and/or debts of any kind.

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No, we typically recommend that buyers sign a Limited Power of Attorney with their English-speaking Mexican lawyer, who can then close on their behalf.

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It typically takes 30-60 days to close on a property when you buy real estate in Mexico, but sometimes the process can take longer, particularly if all documents from the seller are not in order, or if the banks are delayed in issuing/transferring the Fideicomiso.

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Not at all! Your real estate investment advisor will help you find an English-speaking Mexican attorney who can act as a one-stop shop. He or she will deal with the Notary Public and the bank to create the trust on your behalf. There are always differences when investing in a foreign country compared to home, but your real estate investment advisor will do his or her best to make the process clear and easy.

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Yes! Many of our clients purchase real estate in Mexico using IRA accounts and we are happy to help you do the same!

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Account holders and their immediate relatives are not permitted to live in property that is purchased using retirement funds. See more of the rules here!

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Buying real estate in an IRA account allows the owner to collect tax-deferred income while providing a hedge against inflation and protection from stock market volatility.

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Turnkey vacation home rentals offer an ideal real estate investment for retirement accounts because they allow for “hands-off” stress free ownership, with all rentals, maintenance and expenses handled by an experienced property manager.

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The cost of every project is very different and depends on the size, materials, location, distribution, etc.

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The cost of permits can vary, depending on the size of the project, its location, the materials and how it is distributed.

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Every project has different requirements that affect the cost of construction, including the size, type of materials used and where it is located.

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As a professional builder and developer in the state of Quintana Roo, we are legally required to give a 12-month warranty on all of our work.

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The frame and the mechanisms of the windows come under our standard warranty. The glass itself is - of course - not warrantied.

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We live in what used to be the jungle, so don’t leave any food or crumbs out. Within nanoseconds of crumbs hitting the floor, bugs will appear!

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Don’t panic! It's no big deal and this is actually a common problem. Just look outside and see if your neighbors or the building has power. If they don’t, it's likely a problem with the electric company, but if they do have electricity be sure to check your breaker box. Look for the breaker that is blown and switch it back to the “on” position. Also, if you aren’t working with a property manager, make sure the electricity is paid, since it’s possible that a CFE bill may have not reached you, so be sure to pay it every 2 months, or better yet opt to work with an experienced local property manager to alleviate this concern.

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There are two main reasons this could happen: Either there is no water on the street itself, or the water pump in the building has broken. Contact the caretaker or property manager of the building and he or she will sort it out for you.

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This could result from an electrical breaker that gets tripped, or it could be caused by a problem in the AC unit itself… Or simply lack of maintenance. Regardless, your property manager should be able to help you sort it out.

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Working with an experienced property manager is a key component of any successful vacation home rental program. This provides adequate exposure on worldwide property rental websites and also ensures all maintenance and booking concerns are handled promptly and professionally, so you can collect the highest possible return on investment.

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In addition to offering buyers the chance to benefit from rapid property appreciation, today’s new income producing vacation home rentals in Mexico’s top vacation destinations are designed to provide the highest return on investment, to the tune of 8-14% annual ROI.

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We suggest a bi-annual property inspection, either by us or any qualified contractor. A list of any maintenance issues will be made and you should have the list completed as fast as you can.

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Even if your property has a water softening system installed, faucets and showers can last much longer if you regularly soak them in white vinegar to stop the limescale. The hose from the water tap to the toilet should also be replaced every 12-24 months. As for mosquito screens, small dogs and kids can break these very easily. Finally, remember that we live in a very aggressive climate, so all the insides of your light fixtures (interior and exterior) and your electrical sockets are quietly corroding away and will need to be replaced periodically.