Purchasing and Owning Real Estate in Mexico

Foreigners can legally purchase and own real estate in Mexico. If the property is located within 50 kilometers of the coast (i.e., Acapulco) or within 100 kilometers of the Mexican border, you will need to go through a bank trust ("fideicomiso") to purchase the property. This is basically a legal formality (naturally, for a fee). You will state a beneficiary and can renew the trust after the 50-year trust period.

Property Attorneys and Notaries in Mexico

You will need to hire the services of a special attorney called a "Notario" or "Notaria" to handle the transaction and to (preferably) hold onto the contract in the event of any disputes. You should also be sure to contact the current Notario of the property to make sure that the property seller is indeed the legal owner of the property. Your agent should be able to recommend a suitable Notario having experience with Mexican property laws.

Real Estate Financing in Mexico

It is possible for foreigners to obtain financing for purchasing real estate in Mexico, but the process is very difficult. Mexican banks will NOT finance your purchase, so you will need to consult a bank in your home country. There also companies which advertise on the Internet that provide financing for U.S. citizens, but these companies mainly deal with second mortgages, and we do not work with any at the present time.

Other Tips for Buying Real Estate in Acapulco

• If you haven't done so already, rent a house or condo for several months in Acapulco to make sure that you would really enjoy living here for an extended period of time.

• Acapulco does not have MLS listings, and Mexican realtors do not have exclusivity agreements for the properties they are selling. If you don't like your realtor but you want to buy the house, get a new realtor.

• You can bargain on the price of the property, like with almost anything in Mexico.

• Go through your Notario for everything related to the purchase, get everything in writing, and keep all receipts related to any property improvement (for tax reasons, which will be important when you sell your house).

• If you don't plan to live in Acapulco year-round, make sure that you have a trusted person looking after your house, paying the bills, and taking care of the maintenance.

• The process can be frustrating because most things (especially complex transactions such as real estate) take longer to accomplish in Mexico. Always cover all your bases, mentally prepare yourself for the experience, and remember to take a deep breath from time to time.