Naturally, you have a lot of questions about buying and selling real estate in Mexico. Here are a few of our more commonly asked questions and answers. Please email Sales@BuyPlaya.com if you have further questions about the buying process.
Can foreigners really own property in Mexico?
Yes! Today, Mexican laws give foreigners the ability to own real estate in Mexico. There is, however, a Restricted Zone that extends 50 km inland from the coastline. Outside the Restricted Zone, a foreigner may acquire land and be direct owners of the property with all the rights of a Mexican national in compliance with Mexican Law. Inside the Restricted Zone, there are two alternatives for foreigners who wish to buy real estate. Since 1973, foreigners have been able to purchase coastal property through a Mexican bank trust, known as a Fideicomiso.
Will I own title to the land?
Yes! The title to your land will be held on your behalf by the Fideicomiso bank trust as required by Mexican law. A Fideicomiso is established by the government and gives foreigners the same rights of ownership as Mexican citizens. The only difference is that they never receive the actual fee simple title. A bank holds it in trust for them. The Trust system of ownership is sanctioned by the Mexican government, provided for under the Mexican Constitution, and secured by the Central Bank of Mexico, all exclusively for the purpose and protection of enabling foreign ownership of coastal property in Mexico.
Can the Mexican Government confiscate my land?
Foreigners often worry about their land being expropriated by the Mexican government. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, Mexico may not directly, or indirectly, expropriate property except for a public purpose. This is the same as "Eminent Domain" in the U.S. Where it is necessary to expropriate land, swift and fair market compensation must be paid, together with accrued interest.
What happens if the bank fails?
In the event the holding Bank should ever fail, be bought by an unauthorized Bank, etc., what happens to the Fideicomiso? Answer - the Fideicomiso will be transferred to another authorized Bank. The Bank does not own the Fideicomiso, you do!
Can my family inherit my property?
Inheritance in Mexico is actually easier than in the U.S. since the property can be inherited directly without the delays and expense of probate as long as a will is in place. There is no inheritance tax in Mexico as long as a will exists.
Can I legally own property without a bank trust if I am a temporary resident?
No, regardless of immigration status, the only way a foreigner can own property in Mexico (within the restricted zone) without a bank trust is to become a Mexican citizen or to establish a Mexican corporation. The corporation is then the direct owner of the property and enjoys the right to conduct business in Mexico. Consult your agent and attorney to find out which form of purchase is best in your case.
Can I get financing for my real estate purchase in Mexico?
Unfortunately, at this time, there are no financing or mortgage options for foreign buyers in Quintana Roo. This can change at any time and updates will be posted.
Can you recommend a good English-speaking attorney?
Over the years, we have orchestrated the sales of hundreds pieces of Mexico real estate, representing both Buyers and Sellers as well as developing properties of our own. In that time, we have carefully created a team of trusted attorneys who we recommend to our clients. Each has been chosen for their honesty, integrity, their tenacity and their knowledge of the intricacies of the real estate transaction for foreigners investing Mexico. Our customers have full access to all of their services. We will arrange a meeting early on to insure that you are comfortable with the process and fully understand all of the documentation you are presented with. Just as each Playa Best Buy agent adheres to a strict Code of Ethics, our attorneys also have a fiduciary responsibility to you the client. This is a responsibility we take very seriously to minimize any risk and protect you at all times.
What about the availability of title insurance?
Beginning in 1996, Stewart Title Mexico began underwriting title insurance for Mexican properties at an approximate cost of 1% of the insured amount. Other types of insurance, including property, liability, damage, and earthquake, are all readily available in Mexico, at low cost, and policies can be written to pay claims in U.S. dollars.
What can I expect to pay in property taxes?
Property taxes have historically been low in Mexico because they have never been considered a source of governmental revenue. Known as Predial, the tax is calculated as a percentage (currently .25% of the assessed value), determined at the time of sale. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay $100 usd per $100,000 usd of assessed value yearly.
How will I furnish my new condo or villa in Mexico?
In an effort to provide the best possible buying experience for our customers, BuyPlaya recently expanded its services to provide furniture packages for Buyers who have purchased new and unfurnished villas or condominiums. This new company, FurnitureMex, provides furniture packages for clients who have purchased a new home in Mexico and want to avoid the pitfalls associated with purchasing and arranging for delivery of furniture while thousands of miles away. Our mission is to provide our clients with high quality furnishings at a reasonable price and to eliminate the stress and uncertainty that naturally comes with making a significant purchase from afar. We will also work in coordination with the property management company of your choice to be sure that your new investment is completely outfitted and ready to welcome vacation renters.
Who will manage my property when I am not using it?
Choosing the right Property Management company can mean the difference between an excellent appreciating investment and a huge liability. If you are a property owner in search of Property Management, we are happy to be able to refer you to the best, most professional Property Management companies and will gladly arrange a meeting with their teams. The right management company for you will take the time to a construct a cohesive plan that will best serve your particular needs and help you to realize your property's maximum potential and protect your investment. If you looking for Professional Property Management Services for your home in the Riviera Maya, please contact us at Sales@BuyPlaya.com.
Why should I consider buying property in Mexico?
The coastal real estate market in Mexico is booming. Mexico's economy, the 9th largest in the world, values and encourages foreign investment dollars and especially tourism; Mexico is a top world-destination for both vacation and retirement among US and Canadian citizens.
Fidecomiso - The Mexican Trust System
While many aspects of buying a home in Mexico look and feel like buying in the United States (U.S.) you should remember that you are purchasing property in a foreign country. The manner in which you will purchase in Mexico is different from that which you are accustomed to in the U.S.; it is not better or worse, it is just different.
There is no doubt that you have heard of and been confused by the trust system that prevails in Mexico, namely the Mexican "fideicomiso", and the so called "restricted zone". To clarify any explanations you might have received in the past, a "fideicomiso draft, which matches with an American trust agreement". Also you might be at the time knowledgeable that the so called "restricted zone" is a strip of land 60 miles from the border front and 30 miles along Mexico’s coastline. Nevertheless, the following clarifications might be of help for you:
For historical reasons, the Mexican Constitution of 1917 prohibits any and all foreigners from holding direct title to land residing within 60 miles of its border or 30 miles of its coastline. Amendments to the Constitution in 1994 altered this prohibition by allowing foreigners to own direct title of property for commercial purposes, but still restricted direct title ownership for residential purposes. The Mexican trust system was designed and encoded into law to permit foreigners to purchase "restricted zone" property for residential purposes only in a manner consistent with Constitutional provisions.
Usage of Mexican trust, a "fideicomiso", allows non-Mexican nationals to purchase property in the "restricted zone" by placing a property into a bankruptcy remote trust recorded in a Mexican Trustee’s name. The Mexican trustee is a bank’s trust department and the property remain off balance from bank.
The trust agreement that governs the manner in which your property is managed stipulates that, while the owner of record of the property is the Mexican trust, the "ownership rights" of the property belong to the trust’s beneficiary. The beneficiary of the trust is the purchaser of the property: you are the beneficiary. Trustees are paid an initial fee for recording the property in their name and are subsequently paid an annual trust maintenance fee. The trustee is prohibited by the trust agreement and by Mexican law from transferring the property or the beneficiary rights to the property, without the written permission of the beneficiary.
To place residential property in the "restricted zone" into a trust, one has to first obtain a permit from the Mexican Foreign Affairs Ministry (Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores. SRE). We will submit the request for the SRE permit on your behalf.
Many people erroneously refer to the trust arrangement in Mexico as a leasing transaction. Do not be confused by misinformation. The home that you will buy will be put into a trust with you being the beneficiary of the trust; you are not a lessee. You have all the rights that an owner of property in the U.S. has, including the right to enjoy the property, sell the property, rent the property, transfer it through last will, etc.
Bank Trust fee: Each bank has different fees. Some have a fixed rate and some others calculate it according to the appraised value of the property. You can expect yearly fee between $500.00 and $1,000.00 US.
English - Spanish Real Estate Glossary
Some key words you may encounter in Spanish and their equivalent in English
Abogado: Lawyer, attorney
Apoderado: Agent through a power of Attorney
Avaluo: Property appraisal report
Bienes raíces: Real Estate
Cedula Catastral: Cedula Cadastral. The document that verify that a property is registered and contained the elements that define the property
Certificado de libertad de gravamen: Lien release certificate
Cesión: An Assignment of Rights or Obligations
Ejecución de Hipoteca: Foreclosure
Ejido: Common land owned by a community
Estudio de impacto ambiental: Environmental impact study
Estudio topografico: Land or plot survey
Fideicomiso: Trust agreement
Fideicomisario: Trustee or beneficiary
Fideicomitente: The trust grantor
Gravamen de Liberación: Lien release
Impuesto Predial: Property tax
Impuesto Zona Federal: Federal Zone Tax
Indice de porcentaje anual: Annual percentage Rate (APR)
Inscripción: The act of recording a registry of a public record
IVA: Value added tax
Levantamiento topográfico: Survey
Medidas y colindancias: Measurements used to describe the location, metes and bounds of a plot of land
Notario publico: Notary public
Perito: A licensed or certified expert in a particular field
Registro Publico de la Propiedad y Comercio: Public Registry of Property and Commerce
Salario mínimo: Minimum wage
Titulo de propiedad: Property title
Zona Federal: Federal Zone or Restricted zone