rules for real estate purchases in mexico

by linda jones neil, settlement co.


Mexico is a wonderful and very beautiful country.  If you  enjoy your visit you may begin to think about acquiring a bit of our paradise.  We have mountains, lakes, rivers, forests, deserts and seashore in Mexico.  We also have history, ancient cultures, handcrafts, folklore and many other wonderful things to share.  

Buying property in ANY country can be stressful.  
A property purchase in Mexico can be just as safe and secure as in the U.S. or Canada…
IF it is done correctly! 

Here are some guidelines for success in a real estate acquisition in Mexico:

1. Be sure the agent you select to represent you is a member of AMPI, the Mexican National Real Estate Association and MLS BCS.  Ask for references, check them out.  Be satisfied the person representing you is experienced in Mexican transactions.

2. Insist that the person representing you, represent ONLY you, the buyer, and not also the seller unless you understand, agree to and sign an agency disclosure agreement.

3.  Consider only the purchase of PRIVATE property.  Ejidal property is often offered at a far lower price but it cannot legally be sold or promised to be sold until it becomes private property.

4.  Be certain that you and your agent are dealing ONLY with the owner of record or his or her legitimate power of attorney.  Insist upon receiving a copy of the seller’s deed as a condition of your offer.  If you and /or your agent don’t understand Spanish, get it translated.

5.   .  Avoid costly and time consuming litigation, insist upon including a binding arbitration  clause in your contracts with the seller and other parties involved.    

6.    Get a title investigation and buy title insurance* for the full amount of your purchase price.  While the initial search may seem expensive for some areas, the title policy transfers risk to the insurance company, and minimizes yours as the buyer.

7.     Think carefully about how you acquire title in order to avoid or minimize probate and transfer costs in the future. 

8.    Closing costs may run from 13% to 20% of the cost of a $50,000. dll. property!  The multimillion dollar property will be about 3.5% of purchase price.  Certain costs are fixed regardless of value.  Be sure to budget for closing costs and get a full estimate in writing from the company supervising your transfer.

9.   The major portion of your payment for the property should be withheld or held in escrow until the deed has been signed by the seller and, if applicable, the bank trustee (if a fideicomiso).

10.    INSIST upon receiving a registered title document for your property.  If the seller is financing the property, sign a document protecting his interests in the event of your default.  Be SURE you know the amount which is declared in your deed and understand the tax implications of same.

11.        Use an experienced independent third party to supervise the transfer of title to you.  

About the author:LINDA JONES  NEIL is the founder of The Settlement Company®, which specializes in real estate transfers and escrows, as well as renewals of permits and other legal services for the foreign property owner. Licensed as a California real estate broker, she has pursued her profession in Mexico for over forty years. Her skills in negotiating contracts between parties from three distinct cultures have placed her services in demand as a consultant and for speaking engagements on Mexican law and customs in Mexico, the United States and Canada. She has been widely published on the subject of real property in Mexico. Memberships; FIABCI, AMPI and NAR.  Linda  is a former  member of the National Advisory Council of AMPI and has served as NAR Presidential Liaison to Mexico..E-mail,      website: