When you buy Mexican real estate at the beach in Mexico as a foreigner you will go through a process which is similar to and yet very different from the one you may have experienced at home. This is especially the case if you are buying within what is known as the “restricted zone” (the area within 50km of the beaches and borders). As you can see, Mexican real estate at the beach will fall within this category.
Mexican real estate at the beach
There are four key actors involved in the process of buying a beach or border property in Mexico, some of whom are optional.
- Bank Fideicomiso
- Notary public
- Real Estate Company (optional)
- Buyer’s Attorney (optional)
One of the key differences that you will notice when buying Mexican real estate at the beach is that you will need what is called a fideicomiso, which is a bank trust. If you buy in the restricted zone you will need a trustee to hold the property for you; this can be someone you know, but for most people it is a Mexican bank. You can choose any bank you like so long as it is registered to practice in Mexico and has an established trust department. The Trustee Bank then acts as fideicomiso (trustee) for you and will issue a trust for the real estate for your sole use. They cannot change anything about the property or its status without a written request from you, and having the trust active means that you have the added protection from the Mexican government against the bankruptcy of the bank.
A Mexican notary (a Notario Publico) has much more responsibility than notaries in the USA, for example, as they are more like their Canadian colleagues. A notary in Mexico acts as an unbiased and official representative of the country’s Government, and has to pass stringent examinations. They are responsible for keeping official records and documents secure as well as making sure they are recorded with the Public registry of Property properly and in ample time. Should they fail to perform their role the real estate transaction they ratified would be considered invalid in the eyes of the law. A Notario Publico deals with the calculation of capital gains tax, the authentication of legal documents, and of course the ratification of property transfers. If they act poorly within their role they can be held responsible in a civil or criminal court. A notary is equally responsible to both parties involved, but ultimately works for and answers to the Mexican Government. In short, you cannot purchase Mexican real estate at the beach or in any other location without the services of a notary.
Real Estate Company
The process of buying real estate in any foreign country can be made much simpler, and more enjoyable by involving experienced real estate agents as they know what you can expect in terms of price, obstacles, and timescale. A team of experienced realtors can make all the difference to your navigation of unfamiliar laws and social etiquettes during a property hunt in a new country. While a realtor can make buying Mexican real estate at the beach easier, it is not obligatory to use a real estate company.
It’s not necessary to retain an attorney through this process, but it can be very helpful as they will be able to represent and protect you in many circumstances. You should, however, only take advice from a licensed Mexican attorney as foreign lawyers are not allowed to give advice regarding Mexican laws. Furthermore a good attorney will be able to save you money in some cases as they are aware of what constitutes a competitive fee, price, or cost. They might even be able to recommend services.
These are the main, official, parties you will deal with when you buy Mexican real estate at the beach.