A major concern for most foreigners purchasing property in Mexico is whether their investment will be safe. We can take precautions against natural disasters by installing protective shutters and purchasing insurance. We can protect the property from theft and vandalism by installing security systems. But the best way to protect your initial investment is to hire a Mexican real estate attorney.
Most resort communities in Mexico are located within 50 kilometers of the beach and therefore are part of the Restricted Zone. Although direct ownership is not possible, there are two avenues that a foreigner may utilize to obtain property in this area – a Mexican Corporation or a Fideicomiso (Bank Trust). Although the property is held in trust by a federally authorized bank, owning property through a fideicomiso gives the buyer all the rights of ownership.
Mexican Notary Public
The role of a Mexican Notary Public is very different than that of a notary public in your home country. In Mexico, Notary Publics are experienced attorneys that are appointed by the Federal and State government to act as an impartial representative on the government’s behalf. They are responsible for calculating, collecting, and paying taxes. They are also responsible for registering the sale with the Municipal as it is presented to them. Any errors discovered later are not the responsibility of the Notary.
Mexican Real Estate Attorney
When you hire a real estate attorney, you have hired someone that acts in your interest. What can you expect from your attorney?
- Your lawyer should perform a title search, verifying the chain of ownership, the authorization to sell the property, and that the individual signing the title deed has the authority to do so.
- They will prepare or review the terms of your sales contract and assure that it is fair and legal.
- They will file for all permits necessary for you to own the property.
- Collect all the no-debt certificates – utilities, taxes, liens, HOA.
- Coordinate with the bank to create your Fideicomiso.
- Review options for creating a Mexican Corporation.
- Coordinate with the notary public, bank, and the seller’s agent to assure that all documentation is provided.
- Help to create tax strategies in the event of a sale.
- Confirm that the property is not ejido (tribal land) and can be titled.
There is no need to pay for title insurance if you hire a reputable real estate attorney. They should complete a comprehensive title search, and most will offer a title guarantee as part of their service.
When purchasing pre-construction, the promissory contract is the most important document in protecting your investment. A real estate attorney must verify the legal description of the property as well as the legality of all individuals stated on the contract. In the event of any future questions or discrepancies, your contract will be your only proof of the transaction.
Another Line of Protection
Just as homeowner’s insurance protects you against major loss in the future, hiring a qualified real estate attorney will provide you with protection and an ally in the event you run into unexpected issues. Choose a knowledgeable real estate agent to help you find the perfect property and hire a qualified real estate attorney to ensure the security of your purchase.