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Category: Real Estate

Mexico Real Estate Guide

Mexico Buying Process and Legal Details

For the most part, buying property in Mexico is not all that different from buying property at home.

As more and more international buyers have become interested in Mexican real estate, the buying process has become significantly more simplified.

However, the process is not exactly the same and as such you should be prepared with a qualified real estate agent and attorney.

In Mexico, there are typically four parties involved in real estate transactions:

1. The real estate company
2. The buyer’s lawyer
3. A bank
4. A public notary

Foreign buyers have the right to obtain direct ownership of property in the interior of Mexico but there are some restrictions along border and coastal regions. Nevertheless, your real estate attorney and agent should help you navigate purchases in any part of Mexico.

Otherwise, much of the paperwork and procedures for Mexican real estate purchase mirror the process in the United States. One of the main differences is that buyers must retain professional assistance in order to complete a purchase.

Mexican real estate transactions have actually not been regulated in the same way as North America and real estate agents and brokers are not licensed legally in Mexico.

As a result, buyers need to be even savvier about the potential properties they are purchasing and the agents with whom they are working.

Buyers need to obtain Mexican representation in order to draw up contracts and review the terms and conditions of the sale. Attorneys will often also conduct a title search to make buyers aware of potential problems and possible alternatives.

Some real estate agents may offer free lawyer representation but it is advisable to seek out your own attorney.

Furthermore, buyers need to be aware of the border and coastal restricted zones already mentioned.

As a rule, foreigners cannot directly own property within 30 miles of the shoreline or 60 miles of the border. However, there are secure methods that allow you to legally buy in these restricted regions.

  • Fideicomiso – This is a real estate trust held for a buyer by a Mexican financial institution. In short, the bank acts as a Trustee while the buyer is designated the beneficiary of the trust. As beneficiary, buyers maintain control over the purchased land, including the control to lease, build, improve, mortgage, sell, inherit, and will the land. When the Mexican constitution was originally drafted, it included these restricted zones to prevent land loss. Instead of amending the constitution, the Mexican government added the fideicomiso to encourage foreign investment. Buyers need not worry that their land will be confiscated but they must take extra precautions when purchasing properties in these regions.
  • Form a Mexican Corporation – Buyers interested in properties in the restricted zone may also form a Mexican corporation if the land will be used commercially. This process is considerably more difficult and expensive than fideicomiso.

Finally, potential buyers should be wary of Ejido land. Ejido land is communal agricultural land in Mexico that is without a title.

This land was previously owned by the government and farmers were permitted to use and work the land.

While the rights to use this land can be purchased, it can never be sold, leased, or used for collateral.

As such, it is recommended that you do not buy Ejido land.

Mortgages in Mexico

Many potential buyers are concerned about mortgaging a home or investment property in Mexico because they are unsure of the mortgage process.

Rest assured, mortgaging property in Mexico is quite similar to the process in the United States and there are a number of affordable and attractive options available to buyers.

In general, Mexico offers a variety of loan programs through various international and US-based lending institutions.

These programs are usually offered through a mortgage broker, much like you would expect in the United States and Canada.

Indeed, loan programs for Mexico mortgages are subject to change as are there rates so depending on the type of mortgage you have interest rates, loan payments, loan duration, and the term can vary over the course of your mortgage.

Here are some basic tips about Mexican mortgages:

  • U.S. and Canadian citizens and legal residents are eligible for Mexican mortgages.
  • Most mortgages in Mexico require a minimum 20% down payment but for lower interest rates we recommend a 30 to 40% down payment.
  • 3, 5, 7, and 10 year interim adjustable-rate mortgages are available and 15, 20, 25, and 30 year fixed-rate mortgages are available
  • Mexican mortgages usually carry 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 year terms/amortization
  • A minimum credit score of 650 is required to qualify
  • Interest rates vary according to economic conditions but they range between 6.75% and 9.5% depending on the down payment and loan amount
  • Mortgages are available for primary residences, vacation and investment properties
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Mexico is One of the World’s Top Retirement Havens

Every year thousands of Americans and Canadians choose Mexico as their retirement destination.

With a relatively low cost of living, improving infrastructure, and comfortable climates, Mexico has quickly grown to be one of the world’s top retirement havens.

Nevertheless, before investing in Mexico’s real estate and making the permanent move, you need to get organized. You should first decide where you want to live in Mexico, but you also need to consider health insurance, immigration, and financial planning.

Mexico Real Estate

There are many options for buying Mexico real estate but there are also different rules than you would expect to find in the United States and Canada.

For example, property within 60 miles of the border or 30 miles of the coast can only be purchased through a beneficial trust. This means you are not the true owner of the property and you are essentially leasing the land.

While it is still possible to acquire property near the border or coast, you should hire a lawyer to help you navigate Mexican real estate law. Some retirees plan to set up a business in Mexico and so they will continue to work at least part-time.

This helps retirees to avoid government red tape and allows the purchase of land without trust.

Still, the legalities of buying real estate in Mexico are not your only concerns. Obviously, you want to choose a location that best serves the lifestyle you’d like to enjoy.

You may prefer a coastal town with easy access to the beach or a more traditional Mexican colonial town that represents the culture and history of Mexico.

Furthermore, Mexican investment real estate continues to prove its worth. As the tourism industry grows stronger and increasing numbers of expatriates move to Mexico, property values have risen steadily.

Plus, the current Mexican government seems dedicated to improving infrastructure, health, education, and development throughout Mexico.

Currently, Mexico’s real estate is ripe with investment opportunities. Many smaller cities are enjoying economic growth driven by expatriates while traditionally popular locations offer many amenities and facilities comparable to those you would find at home.

Mexican Retirement Locations

One of the first questions you should ask yourself is whether you’d prefer to live with the locals or in an expatriate community. If you would prefer an expatriate community, you will live in a community of individuals who share the same language and where you will find support with your transition to Mexican life.

Services are more commonly offered in English and you will likely find many home comforts. However, if you choose to live in a more traditional Mexican community, there will be different challenges.

It may be difficult to live in Mexico if you don’t speak Spanish, but surrounding yourself with the local culture will allow you to enjoy a more complete and intimate Mexican experience.

Next, you need to consider climate. Interestingly, Mexico has one of the most diverse climates in the world. In the mountainous areas of Mexico, the climate can be quite cool and you will likely experience four seasons.

Generally speaking, at higher altitudes the weather tends to be like spring year-round while coastal areas enjoy a more tropical climate. If you prefer hot, dry weather the Baja California peninsula, inland regions, and the northern deserts provide. In short, make sure to do your research and choose a region where the climate will be comfortable for you.

There are many popular retirement destinations in Mexico depending on whether you’d like to live in a large city, near the coast, or a colonial city.

Large cities like Guadalajara and Mexico City obviously provide excellent amenities, shopping, restaurants, and transportation.

Nevertheless, these larger metropolitan centers also endure more crime. Coastal locations like Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Acapulco, and Playa del Carmen are also sought-after locations for the ex-pat community.

These locations epitomize the Mexican dream with stunning beaches, tropical weather, and vibrant Mexican culture. However, they also tend to be more expensive than inland regions or even major cities. Finally, you may prefer to live in a colonial city like Puebla, Oaxaca, or San Miguel de Allende.

These smaller cities not only embrace the fundamental aspects of Mexican culture, they are also quite charming and beautiful. Wherever you choose to live, you can find a wealth of information about Mexican real estate and investment online.

Living in Mexico

Finally, living in Mexico, like living in any foreign country, requires some planning and organization.

While health care facilities in Mexico are usually comparable to those you would find north of the border, you need to plan for health insurance.

There are many options available. Mexican Social Security is one option that provides medical, dental, and vision care but may not cover everything you need.

Alternatively, some ex-pats choose private health or travel insurance, but again you need to carefully review your policy to ensure you are getting the coverage you need.

In addition, travel visas for Mexico allow you to only stay for 180 days from your arrival. As such, if you plan to live in Mexico permanently, you’ll need to obtain a proper visa like a Rentista.

A Rentista is a non-working visa that is often ideal for retirees but requires that you have proof of income for living costs. Finally, it is always recommended that you visit a few of your top retirement destinations before making the permanent move.

You want to get a sense of the community, its facilities, and the general standard of living to ensure you will enjoy your retirement.

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Mexico is Still a Safe Place to Live and Invest

That’s the message that numerous companies involved in Mexican real estate are trying to spread throughout Canada and the United States.

Although the plethora of recent news reports about drug-related crime paints a picture of a country ridden with violence and danger, the truth is that drug-related crime and violence are limited to a few areas of the country.

In particular, it is the northern region of Mexico near the US border that is experiencing the majority of the current trouble and turbulence.

As for the rest of the country, it is still a wonderful place to live and spend quality vacation time.

Retirees can enjoy an exceptional lifestyle in Mexico with the relatively low cost of living, the fabulous climate, and the practically endless list of possibilities when it comes to recreational and social activities.

The setting is also incredible, with everything from beautiful ocean views to rugged mountain scenery.

And these are the characteristics that more than 30 real estate companies are stressing in an attempt to undo some of the damage that recent news coverage has caused.

According to Christopher Hill, CEO of Stewart Title Latin America, there are currently thousands of Canadians and Americans living in Mexico and thoroughly enjoying their lifestyle.

Those people know that Mexico is an excellent place to live and vacation, and Hill believes that such a fact will ultimately prevail over the negative media coverage.

In order to help that occur, the Mexico Real Estate Coalition has launched an education campaign as well as a website ( in order to inform people of everything Mexico has to offer and to encourage investment in Mexico real estate by Canadians and Americans.

The fact that thousands of Americans and Canadians still happily reside in Mexico is a testament to the fact that the majority of destinations favored by Americans and Canadians are still very safe.

Whether in Puerto Vallarta or La Paz, most people who come to visit Mexico do not want to leave once they become aware of the beautiful setting and exceptional lifestyle that the country has to offer.

And that is why the Mexico Real Estate Coalition believes that, in the end, the country will speak for itself and once again draw an influx of investors from the north.

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Puerto Vallarta Real Estate

Puerto Vallarta’s popularity rose in the 1950’s, when the town’s airport first opened. The flights brought in people from all over the world, including famous Hollywood director John Huston.

Puerto Vallarta became known worldwide when, in 1963, John Huston filmed the movie version of The Night of the Iguana in the town. During the filming, one of the actors, Richard Burton, was having an affair with the already-married Elizabeth Taylor.

This not only increased the publicity of the film, but also introduced the world to the natural beauty of Puerto Vallarta. Since then, more and more travelers have visited and continue to visit Puerto Vallarta.

Today, Puerto Vallarta is one of the world’s most visited beach destinations. In fact, an estimated 2.5 million travelers – both Mexican and international – frequent the shores of Puerto Vallarta yearly.

Recently, there have been a number of changes to downtown area of Puerto Vallarta. The new Los Muertos Pier, which will be able to pick up passengers for boat excursions (such as the Marigalante) is expected to be finished by the end of this year.

The pier will feature fabric sails that will be outfitted with multi-colored lights that will increase its appeal during the evening hours.

It is expected that once completed, the new pier will increase the popularity of this already sought Zona Romantica neighborhood. Puerto Vallarta’s new Malecon is complete, and getting rave reviews.

The new Malecon is now much wider and more pedestrian-friendly. Another facet of the project is the use of natural cobblestone to absorbs heat better and reflect it in a way that will make it more enjoyable for the visitors.

Mexico Real Estate is still booming in Puerto Vallarta, and there are a number of developments currently underway in the Old Town area. One great example is Signature by Pinnacle which is located on a quiet cul-de-sac on Calle Pulpito, just one block up from Olas Altas.

There will be 40 units in Signature by Pinnacle, and every unit will have direct views of Banderas Bay, or views facing the North which showcase the town and ocean.

There is no need for a car or cabs. Everything you want is within walking distance, and you will not find a better location in town to experience the ”real” Puerto Vallarta.

Time and time again, Puerto Vallarta is given high scores for a vacation choice. Just this year alone, US News Travel, Tripadvisor, and Travel + Leisure magazine placed Puerto Vallarta in their lists of top Mexican destinations and top Latin-American cities.

Also, Travel Weekly rewarded Puerto Vallarta one of its most sought after prizes, the “Gold Magellan,” which goes to the best of the global tourism industry.

The October issue includes a section dedicated to the 2011 winners, and Puerto Vallarta has won this coveted award in the Overall Destinations – Cultural/Arts category.

If you are looking for world-class golfing, gourmet dining, and sandy beaches, then come to Puerto Vallarta. If investing in the Mexican real estate market is of interest to you,  then take a look at Signature by Pinnacle while you are here.

Finding a vacation destination that has something for everyone to enjoy isn’t always easy, which is why so many families from all over the world choose to spend their vacations in Puerto Vallarta.

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