Most of us remember buying our first home and the elaborate process of signing a million documents and being presented with the keys to our new home! We then went through the process of moving our things and creating our home. In Mexico,
there are two very distinct steps in this process: the physical delivery and legal delivery.
How is it different?
It is important to realize that Mexico places a much larger legal emphasis on the physical possession of the property. Once you have taken physical possession of a property in Mexico, it is very difficult to remove you. Whereas the United States places a much larger legal emphasis on the legal possession of the property. The person that holds the title deed has an ultimate say in what happens with the property and can, through a simple legal process, have individuals removed that occupy the property unlawfully. In Mexico, it is much more complicated and time-consuming to have someone removed from the property, even if you are the lawful owner.
Why are there two processes – Physical Delivery and Legal Delivery?
Ideally, your real estate representative will try to arrange for the physical and legal delivery to occur on the same day or very close together. However, that is not always possible. Often, a unit may be ready for physical delivery before all documents being prepared for you to sign your title deed – legal delivery. If you have purchased pre-construction, the unit will likely be completed before all documents have been registered with the government, and are made available to complete the process of legal delivery.
You may choose to accept possession of the unit so that you can begin taking advantage of your investment. In the meanwhile, you will wait for all documents to be in place to complete and register your title deed. Make sure that you are dealing with a reputable company that has a record of completing this process. Your real estate representative can help you find projects that have a proven record. It is also important to hire a good real estate attorney who can verify the legality of your purchase. He will also help to prepare a contract that will protect your investment.
What is physical delivery?
The physical delivery of a property is when you are allowed to perform an inspection and then receive the keys. In a resale unit, everything should be as it was when you first visited the unit unless there was an agreement for the owners to make repairs. In a pre-construction unit, this is your opportunity to see that everything is in pristine condition. Also, if everything has been completed to the specifications stated in your contract.
What is legal delivery?
The legal delivery is the moment when you and the seller meet with a Mexican Notary Public and sign the title deed. Many documents must be requested and collected (no debt certificates, copy of the title deed, permits, etc.) before this date. This document is presented solely in Spanish, so it is a good idea to have a translator there to help with any questions you might have. Once all parties have signed, you will receive a certified copy of the deed. You will receive the official copy of the title deed once it has been recorded with the municipality, approximately 3 to 6 months after signing.
As with any property purchase, it is important to have a knowledgeable real estate representative and to hire an experienced real estate attorney to help through this process.