Mexico Real Estate
One of the first questions people ask about buying real estate in Mexico is “Can I directly own property in Mexico under my name”. The answer is yes, but this only pertains to land that is not in the restricted zone which is 31 miles from all beaches and 62 miles from any international border.
Foreigners cannot own property in the restricted zone due to Constitutional restrictions, however real estate in the restricted zone can be purchased under a "Fideicomiso" which is a trust agreement exercised between the seller and a Mexican bank.
The bank acts as a trustee which purchases the property on the behalf of the foreign buyer and has the fiduciary obligation to said buyer whom enjoys all rights as written by law to use, enjoy or sell the property at will while the property is held in trust by the bank.
Real estate procedures in Mexico are very similar to that of the United States, but there are also aspects in Mexican Law that are completely different so as a general rule, you will need a competent Mexican Lawyer to carry out the prescribed real estate transactions.
There are no licensed real estate brokers in Mexico therefore foreigners need to protect their rights and should assume nothing with regard to real estate transactions. These being the classic example of the buyer beware saying which probably had its beginnings in Mexico.
Any Mexican lawyer can handle real estate transactions throughout the country, so it doesn’t matter where the property is located. What is more important is finding an honest and qualified attorney that comes recommended by someone you know or one that is recommended by the Mexican Consulate that is close to your home town.
REAL ESTATE TITLE INSURANCE
The first thing to consider when buying land in a foreign country is making sure the Title is in order. A title insurance policy is the only way to protect your rights from the beginning and in Mexico, Stewart Title Company, which began offering their services in 1993, has now added a new level of security and has dramatically taken the risk out real estate investment.
Capital gains can amount to over 28% of the sale price and closing costs could amount to 10% so unless structured properly, real estate transactions could take a big chunk out of the profits in the long run. Having a good lawyer and dealing with professional companies like Stewart Title can make a difference between a pleasant experience and disaster.