Can foreigners own real estate in Mexico?
Yes. Foreigners can own property in Mexico via a Mexican land trust called a fideicomiso. The trust has a 50-year term and can be renewed perpetually to allow for long-term control of the asset. The property can be willed from generation to generation.
WHAT IS A FIDEICOMISO / BANK TRUST?
Foreign citizens who wish to buy property within 50 kilometers / 31 miles of the coastline or 100 km / 62 miles of a border are required to obtain a “Fideicomiso”, which functions similarly to a Living Trust in the USA. The ‘owner/buyer’ of the property is designated as a beneficiary of the trust which actually holds the title through a bank that acts as a trustee and carries out the instructions of the beneficiary. While the mechanics seem foreign the actual function of a trust is very similar to a simple title ownership.
It is important to point out that a Fideicomiso is not a lease, concession or right to use, but allows the Trustee bank to hold title for the beneficiary (buyer/owner) and act as the owner of the property. Although it is mostly used by foreigners, many Mexicans use a trust for estate planning purposes given some of the many benefits.
Each Fideicomiso is valid for 50 years, and when it expires, the trust permit needs to be renewed. This is just an administrative process that can be done directly with the Trustee bank or through Pacific Closing, our in-house Closing Company.
For more information about a Fideicomiso and what it represents, contact us at [email protected] where our Closing Coordinator will help you with all your answers.
WHAT IS AN APOSTILLE?
The purpose of an apostille is to authenticate the notarization and or certification of documents to be used in a foreign country. An “authentication” certifies the signature and the position of the official who has executed, issued or certified a copy of the document.
WHAT IS THE PUBLIC REGISTRY?
The Public Registry (Registro Publico) is a government office where documents are filed regarding actual ownership of land titles to see if any liens exist. In Mexico, deeds are public instruments and can be researched at these offices which are open to the public. The majority of cities and towns of Mexico have a Public Registry of Property. In a real estate transaction, the notario publico conducts a search of the title encompassing a previous 10-year period to verify that there are no liens or encumbrances recorded against the property and also verifies that the seller has the capacity to transfer ownership.
WHAT IS A NOTARY PUBLIC ?
The responsibilities of a Notary Public in Mexico are completely different than that of the United States. In Mexico, the governor of a Mexican state appoints a Notary Public for life in a given geographical location (a town, a district). All Notary Publics must be licensed attorneys in Mexico, which requires a similar process of that in the U.S. to become an attorney. They then must apprentice for several years with a Notary Public before becoming one.
What are the Notario Publico’s responsibilities during the property transaction?
It is required to obtain a Notario Publico in Mexico (similar to a notary public in the U. S.).
The Notario Publico’s responsibilities include reviewing all required documents with respect to the sale of real estate, including the assurance that all required documents have been reviewed and executed properly, in accordance with the laws in Mexico.
In addition, the Notario Publico makes sure that all legal formalities have taken place as well as collecting all taxes and forwarding such monies to the Tax Authorities in Mexico. If the buyer or seller requires legal advice, they should hire legal counsel that is experienced in Mexico and U. S. real estate law.”
Do I need title insurance?
No is not required in Mexico. Title insurance is meant to help protect your investment should the property you buy subsequently turn out to have liens.
What is an escrow account?
The concept of escrow is fairly new in Mexico and has no set standard for taking place, as is customary in the United States. Coldwell Banker adheres to the U.S. processes of an escrow account, utilizing an impartial third party, namely an escrow company. The third party is entrusted with the job of seeing that the transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer takes place according to the terms of the written contract agreed upon by all parties involved. The third-party escrow agent holds any funds securely until the point when every one of the conditions has been realized as instructed by the agreement. The agent then disburses the funds to the designated parties at the assigned time as illustrated in the escrow agreement signed by both the buyer and seller.
Who pays the closing costs?
It is customary that the buyer pays the transfer of acquisition tax and all other closing costs, including the Notary’s fees and expenses. The seller pays his capital gains tax and the broker’s commission.
Do I lose possession of the property after the 50-year term expires?
No. Under the trust agreement, the beneficiary has a contractual right with the Mexican bank to all benefits that result from the use or sale of that property. As trustee, the bank has a fiduciary obligation under Mexican law to respect the rights of the beneficiary. The same beneficiary has a contractual right to renew the bank trust for another 50-year term upon expiration and can make multiple extension requests.
Is the Fideicomiso Trust renewable?
The duration of the “Fideicomiso” Bank Trust is 50 years through a Mexican financial institution and can be renewed multiple times for other 50 year periods.
Does the trustee bank consider my property their asset?
No, property held in trust or Fideicomiso by a trustee bank is not an asset of the bank. If the bank goes into financial difficulty, the property is simply transferred to another trustee bank. These laws are federally imposed.
What is a Trustee Bank?
The Mexican bank, or Trustee, takes instruction only from the Beneficiary of the trust (the buyer). The beneficiary has the right to use, occupy, build upon, improve, lease and possess the property. The beneficiary may also instruct the Trustee to transfer the rights to another qualified buyer or bequeath the property to an inheritor. The initial term of the trust is 50 years; however the trust can be renewed for additional periods of 50 years indefinitely, providing for long-term control of the asset.
If I decide to sell my property, can anyone buy it?
Yes, anyone can buy your property. A foreigner can purchase the property provided they set up a bank trust.
What are property taxes in Mexico?
Property taxes in Mexico are usually considerably less than the U.S. Taxes are based on the size of your property and location and in most cases, are less than $1,000 USD a year.
I am selling my property. Do I have to pay taxes on the transaction?
Yes. Since the real property is located in Mexico, Mexican law deems the source of income to be located within its jurisdiction, making it subject to taxation by Mexico. This is consistent with tax practice and legislation all around the world.
Can I finance property in Mexico?
Yes. Global Mortgage provides financing to U.S. citizens on Mexican real estate. To apply, go to the re-qualification application and enter your information. We also have additional information about how to finance property.
Is a Temporary Resident Visa required to buy property in Mexico?
No. In order to acquire property, it is not necessary to possess a Temporary Resident Visa.
If you sign a contract, rent a house or condo, buy a house or condo, or lease property, you are no longer a “tourist” and therefore, are invited to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa.
What rights do I have as a buyer of Mexican real estate?
A buyer of Mexican real estate holds the same rights as a property owner in the U.S., including the right to enjoy, sell, rent, improve the property, etc. This ownership is acquired through a fideicomiso or bank trust. The Bank Trust is a legal substitute for fee simple ownership (as is ownership in the U.S.), but the Trustee is the legal holder of the property. The rights to the property may also be transferred to a third party or passed on to named heirs. Sometimes, the property being purchased is already held in a trust. If this is the case, the buyer has the option of assuming that trust or having the property vested in a new trust.