Buying property in Mexico

The process

Real estate transactions in Mexico might work quite differently to what you are used to in your home country, so make sure that you understand the process. In any case you should use a Mexican attorney to formalise any property purchase in Mexico.

As a buyer you should always hire your own attorney instead of relying on an attorney of the seller or the estate company you are dealing with (even if the agency offers you the help of an attorney ‘free of charge’). Legally licensed attorneys in Mexico should have a cédula professional, which is a registered license to practice law in Mexico. Foreign attorneys are not licensed to practice law in Mexico and should not give you advice on legal matters. There are a few foreign attorneys who are licensed to practice law in Mexico, but in most cases you will have to rely on the service of a Mexican attorney.

Your attorney will guide you through each step of the real estate transaction and should be involved in drawing up any legal documents. Good attorneys also have many contacts with banks, notaries and the Mexican government and can help you in choosing providers with competitive fees. In addition a good attorney can also consult you on tax optimisation possibilities on your property purchase and other legal issues that might evolve around the estate transaction.

Notaries in Mexico

Next to your attorney the most important person in your property purchase will be the public notary. All estate transactions in Mexico have to be certified by a licensed public notary who is appointed directly by the State Governor.

As a property buyer you have the right to choose a public notary for the estate transaction. The notary will ensure that all documents and permits are in order. He will check if the property has a ‘clean’ history, and that there are no liens on the land (like an unpaid mortgage). He should also check the building permits, tax registers, and whether all land taxes and utilities have been paid.

If a property is owned by multiple owners, (often the case with an ejido property), the notary will check whether all owners have agreed to the sale. However be aware that the notary can only check records that are publicly available, and that even a notarised estate transaction can still be challenged in court if there are any owners entitled to the land that nobody was aware of before. Nevertheless the notarisation gives you additional security, so you should notarise every document involved in your estate transaction and never rely on having had somebody tell you that the documentations are valid without additional notarisation.

The property purchase process in Mexico

Your best bet when buying property in Mexico is to hire a lawyer who will guide you through each step of the purchasing process. Though this process can vary depending on each individual case, it is likely to involve most or all of the following steps:


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