Every year, more and more Americans and Canadians are deciding to move on down to sunny Mexico. Whether you want to move to Mexico for retirement, a business venture, or just for the warmer climate, this article is bound to help you. Mexico real estate is complicated and confusing for those not in the know. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of useful Mexico real estate suggestions.
These seven tips are absolutely essential to consider when getting ready to buy or rent property anywhere in Mexico. As will often be repeated throughout this piece, the only person that can really help you with your Mexico real estate needs is a professional agent with experience in the Mexican market.
While these tips are good for general ideas about getting into the Mexican real estate market, you must consider your own specific needs with a trained agent. With that having been said, here are the key things you need to know before buying property in Mexico.
7 Facts About Mexico Real Estate
1. Clearing Up One Huge Misconception: You Can Own Property in Mexico Legally!
There’s a huge misconception floating around the Internet that Americans or Canadians can’t own private property in Mexico. Any professional real estate agent will tell you that this is an absolute falsehood. Americans and Canadians can purchase private property in Mexico.
If, however, your property is 100 km from the border or 50 km of the beach (especially Baja California), you might have some difficulties. The only way to get property in these regions is via a bank trust or a Mexican corporation, but even still it’s more difficult for a foreigner to get their hands on property in these areas. This restriction was mainly put into place in the Mexican Constitution for military purposes.
People who post horror stories online saying the Mexican government “stole” their property generally have a problem with their bank trust. There are three major types of bank trusts available in Mexico, but only one of them is good for foreigners. You must enlist the help of an experienced Mexican real estate agent to be sure all of your technicalities are in order.
If you purchase the wrong bank trust, you could be considered a trespasser in Mexico. But if you have professionals and a licensed attorney on your side, you should have no problem legally buying a private Mexican property as a foreigner.
2. Don’t Expect Unrealistic Deals; Go to Your Agent with a Plan
Some people believe they can come down to Mexico and purchase a great beachfront home for only $20,000. While that might’ve been true in the 1970s, this just isn’t the reality in today’s Mexico. Believe it or not, some beachfront homes in touristy or foreigner-friendly areas could actually be over $1 million USD.
When buying property anywhere in the world, it’s important to have the right expectations before meeting with an agent. Don’t go to your agent with a vague idea of buying property in Mexico. Know that property can be quite high, and be prepared to explain your particular goals to your agent. Also, understand that you need liquid cash to purchase properties in Mexico. Foreigners cannot take out huge loans.
It’s highly recommended to use an agent in your home country who speaks both English and Spanish and has a great track record of purchasing property in Mexico. The more you know about your needs, the more your agent will be able to help you find the best property for your unique situation. Luckily for you, there are now tons of reputable agents in the USA and Canada that deal exclusively with foreigners looking to invest in Mexican property. So, just do your research online, find a reputable agent, and don’t go into your meetings with unrealistic expectations.
3. How Much Does It Cost to Buy a House in Mexico or Rent an Apartment?
Of course, the answer to this question mainly has to do with where in Mexico you want to live. Prices on houses range a great deal all around the Central American nation. As a good reference point, here are the biggest cities in Mexico in terms of population:
- Mexico City;
Current estimates suggest renting an apartment in a normal area of Mexico City can cost anywhere from $480 to $700 per month. All of the other cities on this list will be significantly lower than Mexico City.
You can find homes in the outer areas of Mexico City for around $25,000, but most of the property in the city center can be anywhere from $750,000 to $5 million and even higher. People looking to live in a beachfront or more touristy part of Mexico like Cancún could expect costs for renting an apartment between $215 and $500 per month in normal areas. Houses in Cancún now range from $50,000 to $3 million. In general, costs for food, utilities, and medical care in Mexico are cheaper than in most Western nations.
It’s very hard to pinpoint an exact number for Mexican home prices without knowing your specific circumstances. That’s why it’s so important for you to talk about your Mexico real estate investment with a trained agent. Your agent should be able to find properties in your price range in cities or towns that fit your personal needs.
4. Retirees Should Research The “Expat Cities”
Some of the most popular cities for retirees from the USA and Canada include the following: La Paz, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, Chapala, and San Miguel de Allende. The main reason retirees like coming here is the fact that there’s already sizable expat communities in these cities. This makes it a whole lot easier for people who’ve never lived in Mexico before to transition into Mexican life with greater ease.
All of these cities enjoy a wonderfully warm climate, a low cost of living, and have numerous activities. Be sure to study this shortlist of cities when researching the Mexican real estate market. While these homes are great for retirees, they could also be amazing investment opportunities for people who want to rent out properties.
5. Get All of Your Important Mexico Real Estate Documents in English
All reputable Mexico real estate agents in the USA, Canada, or Mexico should offer you copies of your property documents both in English and Spanish. If they refuse to offer you English documents for whatever reason, just walk away. The most important document to read over is the “Condominium Regime” (in Spanish it’s called the Regimen de Condominio). Here you will find all of the owner’s rights and restrictions clearly listed. Be sure to go over these documents thoroughly with a real estate agent.
6. Demand Title Insurance for Your Mexican Property
Some Mexico real estate agents might tell you not to get title insurance. You shouldn’t listen to them. It’s always best to buy title insurance from a reputable American or Canadian company when investing or buying Mexican property. If you are buying with a Mexican agent for whatever reason, you must insist upon title insurance. Although title insurance is more of a big deal in the USA, it’s also crucial for insuring your property in Mexico. Any agents trying to get you to buy a property without title insurance should be avoided.
7. All Authorized Mexican Agents Are Part of AMPI
One tip to consider before buying property in Mexico is to try and get a referral from someone who’s already successfully purchased a home there. If you can’t get a referral to a Mexican agent, ask if your Mexican agent is a part of the Asociación Mexicana de Profesionales Immobiliarios (AMPI). AMPI is Mexico’s version of the National Association of Realators (NAR).
People ordering property from a Mexico real estate agent should at least insist that their agent is a member of the AMPI. As mentioned above, it’s always recommended foreigners go through an agent in their home country. However, there are plenty of reputable Mexican agents on the market. It’s just a bit more difficult for foreigners to weed out the best Mexican agents for their personal needs, especially if you speak minimal Spanish.
Hopefully this short article on Mexico real estate tips has helped you in your quest for your Mexican dream home. Mexico is an extremely attractive option nowadays for people looking for a relatively high standard of living for a fraction of the cost of Western nations. Many retirees absolutely love the warm weather, quality of care, and cultural richness of the communities they enter into.
More entrepreneurial types will find many opportunities in this still developing nation for business ventures and even renting out properties. No matter what your interests in Mexico are, you owe it to yourself to do a bit of research on the Internet and contact a reputable Mexico real estate agent to get all your personal questions addressed.
The time has never been better to pack up your bags and head below the US border. With these tips in mind, you should know how to buy property in Mexico like a real pro!