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 Moderated by: bartmanaz  
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yojimbo
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Haven't found clear instructions about buying a house in Mexico.  There is an opportunity to purchase a place- not in San Carlos- I have been speaking with the owner about buying.  He is a gringo, lived there 25 years and tells me in Mexico the bank owns the deed/trust to the house in the "owners" name, or at least that is the best understanding/recollection I have of his explanation.  He tells me there are no liens on the property.  It is my understanding the process of property purchase/change of ownership would be handled by an attorney and would likely cost "a few thousand dollars USD" [2-3 grand? more?].  The deal might be the one I'm looking for in terms of price, location, timing for retirement.  Any insights or advise- things I need to make myself aware of for this transaction.  Would be especially helpful to find an informative centralized source of information/guidebook for the process of real estate purchase in Mexico.  Thanks in advance.

Bullshipper
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Often times, the paper work is not up to snuff. I would ask for a copy of everything he has, take it to a notary and have him go through it to make sure the deal can be done before making any kind of contract or deposit.

Bullshipper
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ASfter that, I would do a very through inspection as builders follow no codes, or are they inspected. Electrical, plumbing, roof work, termites salitre, municipal water supply and storage, air conditioner and appliance testing and a clear understanding of dues is worth the time to discover. Take nothing for granted. Buyer beware is your watch word.

Jimmy
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In the Mexican constitution the restricted zone is defined as all land located within 100 kilometers of any national border and within 50 kilometers of any ocean. It also states that no foreigner is allowed to purchase direct title to land within the restricted zone.


The restricted zone is where the bank owns the property and you own a lease...Other than the restricted zone you can own property outright.

RichD
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The bank trust is called a fideicomiso and you will have to get one. Sometimes you can assume an existing trust but they expire so it depends on how much time is left. Realistically, you need a notario to handle the transaction. A notario publico in Mexico is a big deal, not like in the US where every bank clerk is a notary. A notario is a lawyer that specializes in real estate. You may be tempted to take short cuts to avoid some of this expense. Most people that have lost everything in Mexico tried to take short cuts.


A related article.

http://www.escapeartist.com/mexico/real-estate/what-is-a-mexican-fideicomiso/

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Another consideration is your visa status.  Are you a permanent resident?  If you are a tourist, things can get dicey.  You can buy property on a tourist card but according to a realtor that had such a situation, if you are a tourist and there is a problem, you are not allowed to hire a lawyer to represent you before the law.  That means if you buy a property and someone decides to cause a problem, you are pretty much out of luck and will likely lose your investment

Last edited on Sat Jan 12th, 2019 10:06 pm by JCB

nice guy
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Even Mexicans are afraid of real estate deals in Mexico. There are so many nuances that can go wrong. You don't need a book, you need a guardian angel. Example - people I know bought a house in SC from Mexicans and put it in trust. Everything worked great - except the previous owners had a US$700 Telmex bill that wasn't cleared in the transaction - and could not get a telephone in the house until they paid the bill, which they didn't. A friend died recently - had not paid his bank trust or property taxes since 1995. Yes 1995. Imagine trying to sort out that mess and buy the house.

IronMan
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#1 Rule: DO NOT INVEST MORE THAN YOU CAN COMFORTABLY AFFORD TO LOSE AND WALK AWAY FROM UNINJURED!

Jimmy
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#8  AMEN Craig---Actually, That is Rule #1, #2, and #3....

contez
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# 8 is the ONLY true RULE if you buy in MEXICO....all the "rest" is GOOD LUCK !!!
VAE VICTIS and BUYER BEWARE.
U & K

yojimbo
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All- 


Your responses have been enormously helpful and informative.  A few may be hyperbolic but instructive.  Yes this is in a restricted zone.  The owner is a bit of a-what's the best word? in English it might be Cad, in Spanish Mexican it would be "Cabron" and yes I understand all that implies.  As the transaction implies a significant portion of my finite resources and retirement funds I will clearly proceed with caution, due diligence,realistic expectations and a better informed strategy regarding approach.  I have a naturally cautious bent against being taken advantage of and a pretty well honed self preservation.  I will learn the nuances of Mexican real estate before money changes hands.   If anyone has a truly trustworthy Notario who would be available to discuss this- it would be appreciated.


Up here I am a licensed contractor doing public works contract and not unfamiliar with legalese and covering my assets.  Most deals too good to  be true are just that, but some I still own and were glad I ran into them.


Personal reference for legal advise is gladly accepted in a PM.

bartmanaz
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A good source for info is the Arizona Dept of Real Estate web page about buying real estate in Mexico.  Visit the page at:


https://www.azre.gov/AzMex/AzMex.aspx


Bart

JCB
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You noted that the investment would be a significant portion of your total funds.  That being the case, I suggest you forget the whole idea.  The odds are just not in your favor no matter how much you learn about the process.  The law down here is pretty much whatever someone wants it to be on a given day.  This is not the US.



If you want to live down here, there are lots of rental properties available.  Renting also has the advantage that you can leave whenever you get tired of the area which many do.

MARIGOT
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I have rented here for 9 years, and from the hundreds of stories I have heard from friends and acquaintances about abuses of the law which ruined their property values or bogus law suits that took their property, I would NEVER buy land or property here.
Plenty of visual/physical examples of owners whose view was completely blocked by people illegally building 2 and 3 story structures around them.
Not for me.
Read the thread about the golf course and the possibly that part of the course (which has been marked off in lots) will be sold, building houses in front of long time residents on the course.  Too many ways for abuse to occur.
No matter how much you educate yourself on the real estate transaction law and research the property you are tempted to buy, NOTHING can prepare for and avert the kind of future actions by others that can rob you of your investment.
After you meet a few people and have heard a few horror stories, you’ll understand.


Best of luck to you no matter what your decision...

Last edited on Sun Jan 13th, 2019 01:54 pm by MARIGOT

SStewart
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Bought our home in San Carlos in 1984. My advice is: it all starts with an honest, experienced, knowledgeable, real estate agent. We are fortunate here in SC to have agents that meet that criteria. Secondly, that agent will direct you to a Notary, that fits that same description. Do your homework, speak with established trust holders, and learn from long time residents. Do not attempt shortcuts, follow the laws and the rules.

Chet
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The transaction with the bank is similar to a "grantors trust" and not a lease.

danelo
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MARIGOT wrote: I have rented here for 9 years, and from the hundreds of stories I have heard from friends and acquaintances about abuses of the law which ruined their property values or bogus law suits that took their property, I would NEVER buy land or property here.
Plenty of visual/physical examples of owners whose view was completely blocked by people illegally building 2 and 3 story structures around them.
Not for me.
Read the thread about the golf course and the possibly that part of the course (which has been marked off in lots) will be sold, building houses in front of long time residents on the course.  Too many ways for abuse to occur.
No matter how much you educate yourself on the real estate transaction law and research the property you are tempted to buy, NOTHING can prepare for and avert the kind of future actions by others that can rob you of your investment.
After you meet a few people and have heard a few horror stories, you’ll understand.


Best of luck to you no matter what your decision...
So true about physical views. I know someone that had something like that happen to them. To add insult to injury, the offending neighbor now enters injured neighbors property to cut the top of a tree down because it is blocking his view from his illegally built patio.

nice guy
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I've lived in SC for 13 years, 1st 2 yrs in the marina, then we built a house here. Even though we heard then, and still hear the horror stories, I am a diligent buyer and we have lived in a beautiful house for 11 years, without any issues. We have chosen to deal with reliable people with long-time reputations here, and except for an attempted skinning by a plumber, who got nothing for his shenanigans, we have nothing but good stories. I feel for the people who have been scammed by RE crooks and thieving contractors, but "trust but verify" works.

RichD
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The great majority of people in San Carlos buy and sell without major problems. If you don't feel you can trust the seller, consider walking away. He might be one of those that took shortcuts and now wants it to be someone else's problem. Some of the biggest swindles involved unfinished condo projects that trusting people paid for in full. An existing home with an existing trust is usually safe.

Bullshipper
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JCB wrote: Another consideration is your visa status.  Are you a permanent resident?  If you are a tourist, things can get dicey.  You can buy property on a tourist card but according to a realtor that had such a situation, if you are a tourist and there is a problem, you are not allowed to hire a lawyer to represent you before the law.  That means if you buy a property and someone decides to cause a problem, you are pretty much out of luck and will likely lose your investment




This realtor gave you completely false information. Anyone can hire a lawyer in Mexico and seek relief under Mexican law in Mexico.


The op is looking for a list of things to do when considering buying property.
The first is to deal with a relator, preferably your own instead of going to the sellers lawyer that is listing the property, so that you are actually represented by someone that is not trying to push a deal through representing both in order to make the full comision. It is my understanding that real estate agents are not required to be licenced, nor do they pay a bond, but someone can correct me if I am wrong. My point is that the transaction laws and liabilities are not as strict or standardized in Mexico as they are in the states even though the commission % are.


Then you should also choose the notary that will represent you as he will make sure that the previous trust can and will be cancelled or transferred. This is a sticking point as the banks are trying to get themselves out of this business due to low fees and will drag their feet from 3-6 months or more. Many times the actual trust will not be in the current sellers name, causing you even more delays or expense.


He will also check to see that there are no liens, past taxes, or lawsuits pending with neighbors. Property lines are often a problem that take years to resolve in the courts.


He will also write the contract and deed, notarize and register it with the governments registar, pay all fees and taxes including commissions, collect keys to the property, and hand you all paperwork when you pay him. As there is no title insurance in Mexico, having this notarized by your bonded lawyer is the proper way to do this.


This is a short run down, as he performs other duties, and that's why I suggested that you get one in Guaymas that is reputable, and is also known to push on the banks on a daily basis.


I am not trying to offend any realtors on the board, but the Notary is the key element and they are not expensive, so do not short circuit a process that protects you while saving you time and headache. 

Bullshipper
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nice guy wrote: I've lived in SC for 13 years, 1st 2 yrs in the marina, then we built a house here. Even though we heard then, and still hear the horror stories, I am a diligent buyer and we have lived in a beautiful house for 11 years, without any issues. We have chosen to deal with reliable people with long-time reputations here, and except for an attempted skinning by a plumber, who got nothing for his shenanigans, we have nothing but good stories. I feel for the people who have been scammed by RE crooks and thieving contractors, but "trust but verify" works.

x2

lasninas
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Agree 100% with JCB.  Do not invest the majority of your retirement funds in a home in Mexico especially do not buy from a seller that you deem a cad.  Keep your money in the bank and rent.  Enjoy yourself.  Buying is not for everyone, nor everyone's budget.  

Righton
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First question to ask is about the water situation. I,ve been here 22 years and this is the worse it's been. Yes I have a large tanco, but need water to fill it.

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Righton - start your own water thread. Don't hijack others.

#2 - My recollection is that any foreigner lawfully in Mexico, regardless of the type of visa/permit, is fully covered by Mexico laws, to the same extent that Mexican citizens are, so don't be bamboozled by hearsay.

JCB
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Re. The visa issue.  I was not repeating hearsay but the actual experience of a realtor and one of her clients when the client was sued by a Mexican regarding some issue about the property. 

Bullshipper
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Well it isnt true. Been there done that, several times.

Kiwi
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Thank you Billshipper about clarifying the issue of visa vs legal owner issues.  Was about to jump in when you clarified. Think the person might have had a different issue as know many indivituals in SC with visa's who have legal trust's, etc. and have had no problem.
You gotta do your "homework" around here, that's for sure.

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I think the water and infrastructure issue is a part of purchasing property in Mexico.  For example when I purchased by my home I also purchased the adjoining lot with intentions of building on to existing home in time for retirement.  Now with the current water issues even though I am approaching retirement it is becoming more doubtful that I will be increasing my investment.  I still plan on much more time spent in San Carlos with full retirement but just do not feel it is prudent to invest more money in real estate.

Last edited on Mon Jan 14th, 2019 04:50 pm by GOIT

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Real estate agents are required to be licensed in Sonora. The only problem, is no one enforces it. Not all agents are honest, and not all agents are ethical. BUT, there are those that are. Ask around.

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I had very good luck with this Notary in Guaymas. Very good at pressuring the bank managers on trust matters. Delivered when promised, reasonable, trust worthy imo.

ALFREDO ORTEGA-LOPEZ, Jr

622 222 1174

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Notarys are expensive here - it's a premium appointed job.

long time resident
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I agree. He is very honest. I did many transactions using him.

Steve W.
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I would GUESS 90% of people have no problem but you said my words you would be investing money you can not afford to lose. If it was me I would rent for a year and see if it made sense to buy and where to buy, When I hear the deal will rely on a good realtor that is a red flag to me. Next when you go to sell, how hard is it going to be to sell?

Below is the type of stuff that happen in Mexico

This happen in 2010. I was there in 2009 it was a nice little village with a nice hotel. I was there again in 2011 it was all gone except the hotel and it was closed. This is what someone in Mexico with money can do.

http://tenacatitabaybugle.blogspot.com/

From the article

And even where landowners have won in court, they still are being blocked from taking possession of their property.

Here someone else talking about this.
https://www.tomzap.com/tenaca.html

RichD
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If you follow some common sense guidelines and don't try to take short cuts, it is very rare that people lose everything. Buy an existing property with a trust in good standing. If you are thinking you are going to make money you are dreaming. But it is still a great place to live. If you can afford to live by the sea in the US then that might be a better choice for investment. I don't like to rent but that might be an option for some.

Bullshipper
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Remember, he is not looking in San Carlos.

RichD
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True but most people that look at this forum for information are thinking of living in San Carlos. Buying here can still be a good value in a retirement home when everything is considered. Houses that are fairly priced are selling. People that bought at the peak of the market will lose money, just like if they bought in Phoenix at the peak. Just offering a different point of view. If the only people that bought here were those willing to lose 100% of their money this would be a ghost town.

Last edited on Wed Jan 16th, 2019 07:01 pm by RichD

yojimbo
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All-

I hate it when someone start a thread on a forum and then just drops it after many contributors have answered. This discussion has been enlightening and I want to thank everyone who provided their experience and knowledge to answer the question and those that sent PMs as well. Seems like 2 camps- those that doom the prospect of ownership and those that have succesfully navigated difficult terrain- thereby showing it can be done. The question was asked for my enlightenment as much as a practical pursuit-the property/house I am looking at is not in SC but the timeline on is driven by the owners age , health and financial concerns- a bad triad. I like to do my DD in business. People on this forum have been helpful and informed in other areas and have so again in this inquiry. Thanks to everyone again. Jim

Bullshipper
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RichD wrote: True but most people that look at this forum for information are thinking of living in San Carlos. Buying here can still be a good value in a retirement home when everything is considered. Houses that are fairly priced are selling. People that bought at the peak of the market will lose money, just like if they bought in Phoenix at the peak. Just offering a different point of view. If the only people that bought here were those willing to lose 100% of their money this would be a ghost town.x2



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