Buying real estate in Mexico is both simple and complicated. It’s easy in that if you have the money and are able to find something you like, making the purchase is similar to anywhere else. It will involve a licensed realtor, your bank account and legal representatives.
In Mexico, while the process is very similar to that in other parts of North America, there are a few differences. One is that foreigners cannot outright own property that is within, what the government marks, as the restricted zone.
That is where it gets complicated. The restricted zone is property within 50 kilometers of the coast (or 100 kilometers within a border). That does not mean buying your dream beachfront property is out of the question. It only means the process will involve one additional step, a fideicomiso or bank trust (trustee for the property).
Before you get your knickers in a knot, having a bank trust for your property still gives you full ownership rights and you are still named beneficiary of the trust. You have full ownership rights to fix it, rent it or sell it like any other home you would own.
That’s the complicated part. The easy part is the rest, the typical searching for and purchasing of your home in Mexico. Point 2 Homes is a popular website of houses, apartments, condos, land and even pre-sale development projects for all around Mexico.
Once you’ve chosen a place to buy, you should head over to AMPI. This is the government-manned website that lists (by full name, photo and company), each licensed real estate agent in that particular city.
It’s a large bout of misinformation that one does not need “anything” to buy or sell real estate in Mexico. The truth is there is a professional governing body called AMPI or La Asociación Mexicana de Profesionales Inmobiliarios (The Association of Professional Real Estate Agents).
Each state in Mexico with reasonable real estate figures is governed by this body, which of course includes places along both sides of the country. More than half of Mexico’s 31 states are AMPI affiliated.
Here, for example, is the main AMPI website based out of Mexico City. On the Caribbean Sea side of Mexico, we have AMPI Cancun, AMPI Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cozumel, etc. Each city is set up with its own AMPI headquarters of licensed real estate agents. You can find the AMPI site in your city of interest with a quick AMPI CITY NAME Google search.
Once you choose a city and an agent, it’s important to decide how you will pay for your new home. To answer your question: no, you cannot get a Mexican bank loan. Mexican bank loans are reserved for Mexican nationals. Foreigners have to buy through a different avenue.
Cash: Of course you can buy outright (the easiest method), or you can take advantage of one of the local offers.
Developer Financing: If you’re buying into a new project, many places will offer developer financing with a percentage down to secure the unit, then another deposit and another as the project moves along.
For complete projects, some developers will offer a three or five-year payment term with a large initial deposit of usually 30 percent. All this is handled with your real estate agent and an escrow service.
Second Mortgage: It is common for people to buy a property in Mexico by getting a second mortgage against their current home. This could be another option for you to consider depending on your circumstances.
Expat Loan: There are several companies that offer expat loans. While they can be hard to qualify for, they are do-able and possible to get. You can contact them for more information on how to qualify for an expat mortgage.
These are the four most common ways foreigners finance their new homes in Mexico, which is another reason it’s important to work with a professional and licensed Mexico real estate agent. They know the rules and understand the local laws and can ensure a smooth transition into your new life in Mexico.