Do I need a special immigration document to purchase a home in Mazatlán, México?
No special visa (i.e., temporary or permanent resident card) is required to buy a property in Mexico, although you need to show that you entered the country legally. In other words, a proof of a tourist visa is all you need.
As a buyer, how do I insure the purchase process is being done correctly and legally?
A notary public (notario) is hired by the buyer. The notario is a full-fledged attorney with many years of studies. S/He will insure the house is free of liens or of any legal encumbrances. Notarios charge between 5.5-7.5% of the value of the purchase. Most of the money collected by the notario is actually used to pay for your property acquisition taxes to the city and federal governments, appraisal cost, etc. We can help you choose a notario who can attend your needs in your language. Not all notarios are familiar with all the intricacies of a bank trust as required by each bank.
Why do I need a bank trust (AKA fideicomiso) to buy a property in Mazatlán?
As Mazatlán is located in a coastal area of México, a bank trust (AKA fideicomiso) is required by the Mexican government. You basically own the property through a 50-year renewable bank trust. If the property is owned by another foreigner, it is much easier and cost-effective to assume the remaining years on the bank trust. The transfer cost is usually less than USD $2,000. This cost is in addition to the notario fees. If the property is owned by a Mexican national, a new bank trust will need to be established, which generally runs from $2,500 to $3,000 USD. There is a mandatory annual maintenance fee on all bank trusts which runs between $400-$500 USD annually and is paid directly to the bank. One of the great advantages of buying a property through a bank trust is that you will be able to designate beneficiaries of your property in case of death without being subject to Mexican probate court (which can be a lengthy process).
Once I choose the property I would like to buy, how long does it take for closing to take place?
Due to the need for a bank trust in the case of foreigners, the closing process takes an average of 8-10 weeks. It is highly recommended that the buyer be present for closing in front of the notario where all of your rights and responsibilities of owning a property through a bank trust are explained to you in English.
How much will I have to pay on annual property taxes?
Unlike many parts of the world, property taxes in Mexico are very low. We strive to include this information with each of our listings on our website.
Can I obtain a Mexican mortgage to buy a property in Mazatlán?
Bank mortgages in México are very difficult to obtain and usually come with very high interest rates and very strict qualification requirements. Most retired foreigners do not qualify for these loans as they generally don't have proof of verifiable income from a Mexican source. This also applies to Mexican nationals who have made their living out of the country for many years. The vast majority of foreigners buy their properties with cash, using their savings or proceeds from selling a home. By owning property outright you will be able to sell it at any time without restrictions by the bank. Occasionally a seller will be willing to carry a buyer for a few years if they receive a substantial downpayment. But unlike in the United States and Canada, you will not own the property until it has been fully paid and a closing has taken place with a notario.
This FAQ site is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. Visitors should not rely upon information on this website as a substitute for personal legal advice. While we make every effort to provide accurate website information, laws frequently change and inaccuracies happen despite our best efforts.