Over the last few years Latin America has become something of an expat magnet, with expat hotspots come very prominent and active local real estate markets. Buying real estate in Mexico is fairly straightforward if you know what you are doing but if you expect to buy property in Mexico on a like-for-like basis compared to your former homeland, you will likely be disappointed!
We will now look at a number of very simple factors to take into consideration which should ensure that you do not get yourself bogged down in legal issues and your property purchase in Mexico goes as smoothly as possible. As we said above, do not expect the purchase process to be the same in Mexico as it was in your former homeland.
There is some confusion with regards to title insurance in Mexico because some people will tell you that title insurance is not required but if you want your purchase to go ahead smoothly it is something of a necessity. Indeed, many people believe that a lack of title insurance can literally scupper your dream purchase.
Quote from PropertyForum.com : “Does political instability offer a buying opportunity for real estate investors?”
Restricted foreign ownership
For many years now the Mexican authorities have had in place a “restricted zone” for foreign property ownership which effectively meant that in these particular areas foreign investor properties had to be purchased through a bank trust with a local establishment. Historically there has been a 100 km zone from the US border and a 50 km zone from the coastline of Mexico. The situation is changing in Mexico and there are plans to take away the restricted zone legislation and allow foreign ownership of any properties across Mexico.
Find a reputable realtor
While this may seem like an obvious suggestion, finding a reputable realtor in Mexico, it is vital that you act on reliable referrals where possible. This is the same in any foreign land where you may not be fully aware of the local rules and regulations, you may be susceptible to rogue traders and where you need to ensure that your assets and your investments are fully protected. There are a number of realtor organisations emerging across Mexico and indeed there is limited coordination between similar regulatory bodies in the US.
Translate all documents into your mother tongue
Whether you are English, Portuguese, French, etc it is vital that you have all documentation, contracts and promises translated into your mother tongue. There will be a cost associated with translating documentation, especially potentially complicated legal documentation, but this is something which you cannot avoid. Only after the documents have been translated into your mother tongue will you then be able to fully understand what you are signing up for. Ignorance is not an excuse if your deal goes wrong!
Check owner’s rights, obligations and restrictions
Time and time again many foreign investors in Mexico will automatically assume that the laws in Mexico are the same as those in their former homelands. This is not the case and you need to check the rights, obligations and restrictions associated with ownership of any property to ensure you are fully aware of the situation. Again, ignorance is not an excuse if you fail to understand the obligations you have signed up to and incur penalties in the future.
The most important message we can get across is that no two real estate markets are the same with regards to regulations, laws and obligations. You need to deal with reputable bodies, you need to be fully aware of your obligations and you need to protect yourself, your assets and your investments at all times. Attempts to cut corners and reduce costs may well come back to haunt you in years to come!