Yes, You Can Own Real Estate in Mexico
Yes, you CAN! Ownership of Mexican real estate by foreigners is widely misunderstood. Many assume non-citizens are barred from ownership and limited to a 99 year lease. Others erroneously believe ownership remains vested with the Mexican government. Both theories are incorrect. In fact, foreign purchasers gain all of the incidents of ownership they typically enjoy in their home country: the right to use, improve, lease, encumber, devise and sell. In short, one may purchase and own real estate in Mexico – making one’s dream of homeownership in Los Cabos a reality.
How You Own Real Estate in Mexico
Ownership of real estate by foreign residents in Mexico is done through an instrument called a fideicomiso. In simple terms, a fideicomiso is a trust. A trust is a written agreement whereby one person or entity (the trustee) is given assets on behalf of another (the beneficiary). Trusts are often used to manage assets on behalf of minors who, according to law, lack the legal capacity to manage their own affairs. Others create a trust or “living will” to avoid the burdens of probate by placing their assets in the trust prior to their death. The Parties to a fideicomiso are:
- The Settlor (The Seller)
- The Trustee (a Mexican bank)
- The Beneficiary (The Buyer)
- The Beneficiary Substitutes (Those designees who acquire title upon death of the primary beneficiary)
As trustee, the Mexican bank only holds the title to the property, in trust, on behalf of you, the buyer. As the buyer, you retain the rights of ownership and all decisions regarding it, including the right to use, improve, lease without limitation, and sell without restrictions and to pass the property to your heirs. In essence, you have the same absolute rights to use, benefit from and enjoy the property as if it were in fee simple (direct) ownership.
Where You Own Real Estate in Mexico Requires a Trust
The fideicomiso covers foreigners purchasing real estate for non-commercial use within the “restricted zone.” This area is the band 100 kilometers from any Mexican border, and 50 kilometers from any coastline. Because it is so long and skinny, the entire Baja peninsula is considered to be in the “restricted” zone and the fideicomiso is required for any non-Mexican acquiring residential property here.
Can the Mexican Government Take Away the Real Estate I Own in Mexico?
No. Foreigners needlessly worry about the Mexican government taking their property away. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) the government may not expropriate property except for a public purpose. i.e. build roads. This legal process, known in the U.S. as condemnation or eminent domain, requires payment of fair market compensation to the property owner.
Owning Real Estate in Mexico is Safe and Secure
The term of the fideicomiso trust is 50 years and renews automatically. Ownership of real estate in Mexico remains with you, the buyer, and your heirs indefinitely. You can even purchase title insurance through U.S. title companies making it easier and more secure than ever to own real estate in Mexico.
Now that you know you can own real estate in Mexico, let me help you find your perfect dream home in beautiful Los Cabos, Mexico. Contact Jud Waggoman for more information about finding and owning real estate in Los Cabos.