Mexico is a country between the U.S. and Central America beaches on its Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coastlines and a diverse landscape of mountains, deserts and jungles. Ancient ruins such as Teotihuacan (Aztec) and Chichen Itza (Mayan) are scattered throughout the country, as are Spanish colonial-era towns. In capital Mexico City, upscale shops, renowned museums and gourmet restaurants cater to modern life.
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Yes, Americans and other foreigners may obtain direct ownership ofproperty in the interior of Mexico. However, under Mexican law,foreigners cannot own property outright within the restricted zone. Instead, a real estate trust must be set up to hold title for the foreigner.
As a buyer you should always hire your own attorney instead of relying on an attorney of the seller. Foreign attorneys are not licensed to practice law in Mexico and should not give you advice on legal matters. There are a few foreign attorneys who are licensed to practice law in Mexico, but in most cases you will have to rely on the service of a Mexican attorney.
Your attorney will guide you through each step of the real estate transaction and should be involved in drawing up any legal documents. Good attorneys also have many contacts with banks, notaries and the Mexican government and can help you in choosing providers with competitive fees. In addition a good attorney can also consult you on tax optimisation possibilities on your property purchase and other legal issues that might evolve around the estate transaction.
Notaries in Mexico
Next to your attorney the most important person in your property purchase will be the public notary. All estate transactions in Mexico have to be certified by a licensed public notary who is appointed directly by the State Governor.
As a property buyer you have the right to choose a public notary for the estate transaction. The notary will ensure that all documents and permits are in order. He will check if the property has a ‘clean’ history, and that there are no liens on the land (like an unpaid mortgage). He should also check the building permits, tax registers, and whether all land taxes and utilities have been paid.
If a property is owned by multiple owners, (often the case with an ejido property), the notary will check whether all owners have agreed to the sale. However be aware that the notary can only check records that are publicly available, and that even a notarised estate transaction can still be challenged in court if there are any owners entitled to the land that nobody was aware of before. Nevertheless the notarisation gives you additional security, so you should notarise every document involved in your estate transaction and never rely on having had somebody tell you that the documentations are valid without additional notarisation.
The property purchase process in Mexico
Your best bet when buying property in Mexico is to hire a lawyer who will guide you through each step of the purchasing process. Though this process can vary depending on each individual case, it is likely to involve most or all of the following steps:
information from justlanded.com
The property tax, known as a predial is .1% of the assessed value. Taxes are paid annually, with the assessed value determined at the time of sale. If you purchase a property with an assessed value of $100,000US dollars your annual tax rate would be $100.00US dollars. The reason taxes are so low is due to the fact that they have never been a source of revenue for the Mexican government
Fees including lawyers and Agents costs can be up to 4% of the total sale price.
When you have found your property you will be asked for references
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Renting Property in Mexico
If you're staying in Mexico for an extended period, or even you're planning to buy property, the chances are you will need to rent beforehand. This page offers an overview of the rental scene in Mexico and some tips and advice on finding a rental property for your needs...
Renting in Mexico
People who rent property in Mexico far outweigh the number who buy. This is because property prices are much higher than average incomes will allow people to afford, and although mortgages are now being proffered by Mexican banks (a few years ago they were virtually unheard of), at an average of 15% a year, they are expensive by current US and European standards.
As access to long-term credit secured by real-estate is becoming more widespread, this is slowly beginning to fuel demand for land and house sales, but on the whole, the majority of the population still rent.
As a result of this rental properties are plentiful, commonplace and varied - and there is something to suit every need, and every budget.
Finding a Property to Rent in Mexico
You need to establish what your budget is going to be and then draw up a shortlist of areas in the location you want to rent in, avoiding less desirable areas, including those near shanty-towns and areas where crime levels and violence are or may be high. This is especially relevant in Mexico City. Smaller towns and cities just don't suffer from crime the way Mexico City does.
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Establish what kind of property you want and where: An apartment or house? Close to town, or out of town? Near the market and local services? Away from the crowds? In a gated community?...
In smaller places, take time to walk around, exploring neighborhoods to get a feel for the area you may rent in. This is especially important if you'll be renting for an extended period.
Just as buying property successfully requires attention to: location, location, location - the same rule applies for acquiring good rental property.
You will need to be able to speak some Spanish to effectively rent property on an independent basis, especially outside the main tourist areas. Wherever you are in Mexico, if you only speak English and don't employ the use of an agent, your options may be limited and you may not end up negotiating the best deal possible.
There are several ways to approach the market:
Estate Agents: Estate agents will have a list of rental properties on their books. Be sure to go to several estate agents in the area, as they may all list the same property - possibly at different rates. Estate agents will know the area and be able to point you away from areas you wouldn't want to live in and especially useful if your Spanish language skills are limited or you want a professionally managed service.
Newspapers & Internet Cafe Billboards: This is a common way people find rented property in the US and Europe; classified sections of newspapers in Mexico do contain property listings, but you explore other routes as well.
Your Hotel: If you're staying at a hotel, they may have contact with one or more property agents in the area. You may want to enquire at reception as they could put you in touch with a local person who could help you out.
Local People, Local Places: A good way (as reported by many people who go to Mexico searching for a rental) is to engage with the local people in an area where you have decided to look for a rented property (check that the area meets your requirements and standards). Go back to the area regularly, get known and chat with people: in restaurants and cafes, for example. Internet Cafe's often have billboards with information about properties and rooms for rent locally - check them out!
Dealing Direct: Mexican people are very friendly and sooner rather than later you will connect with someone or somewhere who can refer you to a person with a place for rent. You may also see signs on some buildings or houses that read "Se Renta" (for rent) - with a phone number. This may be the agent if the sign is very posh or labeled with a logo, or most probably the landlord if it's handwritten. If you like the look of it and its in the right area: you might want to explore it further.
People don't tend to ask for references in Mexico for short term informal rentals (depends on the circumstances), although if you deal through an Estate Agent you will probably be asked for one or two.
Payment of Rent
You will either pay the agent or the landlord directly. The concept of "Direct Debit", (direct transfers out of your bank account to pay another party) although becoming more commonplace for payment of bills to larger companies, hasn't become commonplace between individuals yet, so you'll have to hand-over cash to the agency office, or to the landlord who will visit every two weeks or monthly to collect.
Be sure to get a receipt for all payments, especially those made with cash.
Deposits tend to be the equivalent of 1 calendar month's rent, paid upfront with your first month's rent. An inventory should be carried out with the agent or landlord, noting down any major defects that exist when you start the rental agreement. Any items missing or (further) damage would be charged to your deposit.
Contract Terms usually state that you must pay the deposit and first month's rent in advance.
Your contract may specify a minimum term (say, 1 month), and also specify how much notice you have to give before you leave. Be sure that you understand your commitments fully before signing the agreement
Some rentals will have a 6 or 12 month minimum stay: some may be as short as a week, although the latter tend to be holiday homes or apartments and are likely to cost more.
If you are in any doubt about your contract, or if you cannot read and understand Spanish well, either use an agent, or get someone to translate it for you. Although the contract may have an English version, in a dispute, only the Spanish version will be recognized in Law
Check your contract to see how much notice you need to give: you should check this before you sign.
Be sure to give the landlord and/or agent plenty of notice, if necessary in writing, prior to your planned departure.
You should go through the inventory with the landlord or agency and provided everything is in good order, your deposit will be returned to you, either directly by the landlord or by the agency office.
Agents fees vary up to 5% which is either paid by the Landlord or Tenant
Security Deposits are equal to one months rent