OWN A PIECE OF PARADISE -- MEXICO
Buying property in a foreign country poses many challenges, not the least of which is a language barrier. When buying property, regardless of whether you are in the U.S. or not, it's always a good idea to hire qualified and licensed legal counsel (preferably bi-lingual) and a qualified and licensed realtor.
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Here are some brief answers to basic questions about buying in Mexico.
Can non-citizens buy property in Mexico?
The broad answer is yes, with certain restrictions.
Buying in Mexico allows non-residents to purchase property as long as you follow the correct procedures.
1-Make sure the seller is legally the owner of the property by checking their public deed and lien certificate. Also ask to see that the property has no tax liens, as well.
2-Hire a licensed and qualified real estate attorney. Lawyers must be licensed in Mexico to practice there, so do investigate before you hire one.
3-Once you make your decision to buy, you'll make a written "promise to buy" and have it written in both English and Spanish. Deposits vary, as they do in the U.S., but typically five to 10 percent of the purchase price.
4-Once your offer is accepted, you'll typically deposit half the closing costs as decided in the contract into a bank account of either a notary or real estate company. It's never wise to give a seller money directly.
5-Once a sale and terms are accepted, a licensed notary (in Mexico these notaries are government-certified attorneys) will check and prepare the legal documents. Once the documents are ready, parties will sign the transfer of property in front of the notary. Here, its common practice that the buyer pays the closing costs - including acquisition tax, notary fees and other expenses.
6-Finally, you'll have to register your purchase with Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mexico grants the rights of ownership when the foreigner agrees to comply with Mexican law and to waive their rights to foreign government intervention. Once you accept the terms, you are considered a Mexican National with the corresponding rights.
There is a specific zone in Mexico that covers all the land within 50 km of any Mexican coast or 100 km from any border. For many years, it was prohibited for any foreigner to own property within these 50-100 km limits. This belt is known as the Restricted Zone. In this area there are a variety of resort-style condominium communities that allow foreigners to purchase units for either rental income or as a residence.
Over time, Mexican laws have undergone changes and several legal ways have been found so that foreigners may acquire real estate in the Restricted Zone. Currently there are two ways available to purchase a property, even if it is beachfront. You can establish a fideicomiso or trust contract with any bank, or you may form a Mexican Corporation. As always, be sure to check with your own legal counsel and hire a reputable realtor. Real estate laws can and do change, so thorough research and use of all available resources is recommended.
What can my dollar buy in Mexico?Like in the U.S., property sells for what a buyer is willing to offer. And, the real estate market is volatile. But, just to give you a very rough idea of a few properties on the Mexican Riviera these examples were recently found on several Internet searches for real estate in Mexico/Riviera Maya. Keep in mind, these were asking prices in the market at the time this information was published. Always conduct your own research to see what is available currently.
Price: Starting at $190,000 U.S. (excluding land)
New Construction: Single-family home
Stunning two-story model home has three bedrooms, three and a half baths, 2,186 square feet, two-car garage, tile roof, stucco exterior, patio, arched doorways large kitchen and more.
Punta Adventuras Area
Price: $139,000 U.S.New ground floor condo in a prestigious community
Architecturally spectacular with granite countertops, sliding doors open to lovely patio. One Bedroom, one bath unit has all the upscale amenities, high ceilings, tile floors, marble counters, views of fairways and gardens. Community is 15 minutes from the beach and marinas.
Playa del Carmen
Price: $916,208 U.S.
New Construction Beachfront Condo
Luxury, upscale beachfront condo with four bedrooms and four and a half baths, this condo has views of one of the best beaches in the Mexican Caribbean. The stylish infinity pool offers dazzling ocean views, and each luxury unit has a balcony with ocean views.
For more on contacting real estate agents in the Mexican Caribbean, try the Puerto Adventuras Realtors Association or the Associacion Mexicana de Profesionales Inmobiliarios