Property

BUYING PROPERTY IN THE MEXICAN CARIBBEAN ?


Not only the sun and the white sandy beaches, combined with the turquoise coloured sea, but also the boom of shopping centres, services, businesses and entertainment centres convert the Mexican Caribbean into the most important residential tourist destination in Latin America . Giving you an average annual appreciation of 15 – 20 %


now is the moment to invest in property. See our very interesting pre-construction offers for luxury condos which are often sold out before construction is completed. Remember: the earlier you buy the better the deal!

CAN A FOREIGNER PURCHASE PROPERTY IN MEXICO ?

YES, THROUGH A REAL ESTATE TRUST OR ¨FIDEICOMISO¨

Out of security reasons the Mexican government allows foreigners, within the restricted zone of 50 km from the coastline and 100 km from any border, to own property only with a bank trust or fideicomiso.

The bank holds the trust deed for the purchaser of the property but the property is not part of the bank´s asset and cannot be subject to any lien or attachment for any bank obligations. You have the right to appoint substitute beneficiaries who will receive the rights in case of death during the life of the trust. The heirs would not have to go through a long process in Mexican courts, they only inform the bank showing the death certificate and their identification. The bank will then register them as the new owners.

A big advantage of the trust is, that the bank would automatically review the transaction to ensure it was legal and, together with the notary check the documents before allowing the closing, making sure that the purchased property is legal and without liens.

HOW LONG DOES A TRUST REMAIN IN EFFECT AND CAN IT BE RENEWED?

The normal trust period is for 50 years but it can be easily renewed by giving instructions to your bank. In case you sell the property the trust can also be transferred to the new owner if desired. There is a fee for setting up a bank trust and these fees vary from bank to bank.

In Mexico you don´t have to hire an attorney for the closing of your transaction. Notaries are by the state government appointed lawyers who have the power and authorization to close real estate transaction. Before closing the Notary determines the costs which will usually run between 5 – 7 % of the sales price of the property.


REAL ESTATE TRUST OR "FIDEICOMISO"

A HELPING HAND TO FOREIGN INVESTORS IN MEXICO

The Mexican Laws allow foreigners to acquire the rights to use, enjoy and avail of real estate located in the coastal and border areas of Mexico, through a trust ("fideicomiso") the only legal instrument and the most advantageous available for foreigners to acquire land in Mexico for residential or tourist purposes, having the same rights and obligations that a full ownership property gives.

What is a trust institution?


In Mexico, a Trust Institution is a banking institution that is authorized to open 'fiduciary' accounts and conduct trust operations. The Trustee holds legal title to the real estate property during the term of the trust, and is also empowered with rights and powers necessary to achieve the objectives of the contractual agreement creating the trust.

What characteristics would have a trust agreement (fideicomiso)?


In the trust deed, the present owner of the land would appear as the settler (fideicomitente) and would thereby deliver title of the real estate to the trustee who would hold the property during the life of the trust (50 years) You can renew the trust perpetually.The buyer (you) would appear as the Beneficiary (fideicomisario), the person having the absolute use and avail of the property.

What are the requirements?(Caribbean Habitat does all the paper work)


1. A copy of the real estate title or deed indicating the exact surface area, meets and bounds and a free of lien certificate, receipts of Federal, Local or municipal Taxes (seller provides these documents).

2. Your name, nationality, occupation, address and phone number. Copy of your passport, immigration form (in case), phone or other bill service mail to your address)

3. The name, nationality, address and phone number of the substitute beneficiary (ies) in case of death of the Beneficiary during the life of the trust.

4. The agreed purchase price.

What process follows?


Upon receiving the information and documents herein described, the trustee shall proceed to apply at the Foreign Affairs Ministry (Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores) for the permit authorizing the trust deed, obtaining the permit the bank proceeds to execute and legalize the trust deed by a Notary Public. Notaries in Mexico have far greater legal status and competence than those in the United States. The Notary Public is an Attorney at Law who is authorized by the State Government to give final formality to the title transfer process in his protocol book. The resulting document taken from this protocol book is registered at the Public Registry of Properties, and it will give evidence of title in the name of the buyer. In the event that you cannot be present at the signing of the trust deed before the notary public, you should send us a letter where you accept the terms of such trust agreement.

What rights and obligations does the beneficiary assume upon the celebration of the trust deed?


As the Trust Beneficiary, you will have the use and possession of the property, that is, you may live on the land, undertake any alterations and improvements. You also have the capacity to instruct the Trustee on mortgaging the real estate, renting it, selling, transferring your beneficial interests to another person or corporation, or performing any of the acts that by law derive from the ownership. If you sell the property to another foreigner, you may assign your beneficial interest to the new purchaser. This assignment of rights must be formalized before a Mexican Notary Public, prior the payment of the federal and local taxes and fees that arise from the transfer of Beneficiary rights. You will have the obligation to pay the duties on the land, i.e.: real estate and water service taxes, the condominium maintenance fees, if applicable, as well as the Trustee's annual fee. You are also obliged to pay once a year mexican property tax, which is very low compared with the property taxes in the US.

What happens if the beneficiary of the trust dies during the legal period of the trust?
The Beneficiary has the right to appoint substitute(s) beneficiary (ies) who will receive all the rights and obligations that arise from the trust if the beneficiary dies during the life of the trust. With this designation of substitute beneficiaries, your heirs will not need to follow any probate proceeding before the Mexican courts, which could take time and Attorney's Fees. They would only have to give notice to the bank of the deceased and show the death certificate and their identifications, and then the Bank will accept and register them as the new owners (beneficiaries) of the Trust Property, without any cost.

 

BUYING REAL ESTATE IN MEXICO

FOREIGN OWNERSHIP In 1989 the Mexican government amended the Foreign Investment Law to allow direct foreign ownership in real estate in all but restricted zones.

The restricted zone, referred to as Constitutional Article 27, encompasses all land within 62 miles of any Mexican border and 31 miles of any Mexican coastline. Foreign investors seeking to own property within a restricted zone may do so only, by forming a “fideicomiso” a real estate trust.

Foreign buyers purchasing property in their own name must obtain a document from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which confirms that the buyer is not seeking diplomatic intervention or protection from the home country in matters pertaining to the property purchased and that he or she will agree to be subject to the Mexican legal system, as would any Mexican citizen in matters concerning the property.

HOW THE TRUST WORKS. The Trust is a 50 year renewable real estate trust or “fideicomiso”, provision created by the Mexican government to attract foreign investors to the restricted zones. It is essentially a contractual agreement that in most respects is similar to the type of trust commonly used in the United States. The arrangement enables the investor to enjoy unrestricted use of land as beneficiary of the trust. A simple title is placed in the name of the bank selected as trustee by the buyer. The buyer/beneficiary has full ownership rights to build on the property, tear down or modify the existing buildings, rent, and lease, subdivide or sell at any time, and received the profit, conforming only to Mexican general laws.

PROPERTY REGISTRATION. Mexico has a form of title registration that protects the buyer from fraud and hidden claims. An attorney conducts a title search and declares that the property is free from liens and encumbrances. The final step toward ensuring correct registration is to obtain the property's “escritura” similar to a deed. A Mexican attorney should draw up the real estate contract and review all of its conditions and terms. A notary public is also a licensed attorney who is issued a special license to act as an extension of the government to ensure all real estate transactions are executed according to the law. A document signed by a notary is a legally binding, valid document. Real estate contracts must be written in Spanish in order to be legal, and may be drawn-up in foreign currency, but the buyer may pay the contract's equivalent in pesos at the current rate of exchange, based on the U.S. dollar. A Mexican corporation can be formed for the acquisition of non-residential property anywhere.

CLOSING COSTS. Closing costs and transfer taxes are determined by whichever is greater, the bank appraisal or the selling price. The buyer pays around 7% of the price as a closing cost and a standard transfer should be completed 45 to 60 days from the time all documents are consummated.

REAL ESTATE AGENTS. The only professional real estate organization is the Mexican Real Estate Professionals (AMPI), which is similar to NAR and CREA in the United States and Canada. Real Estate agents are not required to have licenses, although such legislation is currently under consideration. Individuals should seek professional assistance from a member of AMPI when purchasing real estate in Mexicoo.