Frequent Questions – International Buyers


Can a foreigner buy and own property in Mexico?

Yes you can!  The current ownership laws allow foreigners to own property through a 50 to 99 year Bank trust, if the property is less than 30 miles inland. Otherwise, a foreigner does not need to purchase a Bank trust and can own outright with a direct deed. This bank trust, called “Fidiecomiso” in Spanish, allows you to acquire the rights of a property, you may exchange, sell, mortgage, transfer, inherit, will or retain it for as long as you wish since the trust is renewable if so needed. The bank charges an annual fee  of around $400 USD. If you buy a property from another foreigner, their bank trust would be transferred into your name. This Trust is in Spanish but we offer translation services for your convenience. A beneficiary is always designated when using a trust. In case of death of the owner, the beneficiary must present an apostilled death certificate to validate ownership so the Bank trustee can have a new deed made. This may also be done at the time of reselling the property.

Does Mexican law protect you when you buy a property in Mexico?

Of course!  When you buy a property in México you are protected by  Mexican law. When the Notary registers your new deed and bank trust after your purchase process and closing,  he then registers it with the Public Property Registry. Your property is recorded officially with the government and protected as any national citizen with the same rights of legal ownership.

How can I be sure of not being a victim of fraud when looking to buy property in Mexico?

The only practical way to be sure you’re not a victim of a fraud is to go to a true real estate professional, that has a well established business that allows to locate them, a brand or reputation to back them up, and belongs to the highest reputation real estate professional organism in the zone.  One of the most important organisms and with a higher prestige is AMPI (Real Estate Professionals Mexican Association) who has mutual recognized agreements with “Realtor” in USA and with “CREA” in Canada.

Is it really still convenient to buy a property in Mazatlan, Mexico?

According to many foreigners, even when there are still good options to buy properties in USA, the convenience of buying a property in Mazatlan is still significant in spite of the cost of living that is lower than in the US or Canada. The same applies to paying taxes, and exempting the payment of “Capital Gain Taxes”.

Why would I decide for Mazatlan instead of other popular places on the coast of México?

We have constantly heard this question from our clients during the past years. Invariably they come back to Mazatlan. Mazatlan has so many varieties of reasons to lay down your roots. The general friendly atmosphere, many expats from up north who are now even living full time, the history and culture, the variety of activities and sports for every age, the closeness to different places of interest outside of Mazatlan, the cost of living, a minimal language barrier,   a wonderful variety of music, entertainment and restaurants, and so much more.

Are there all the services that I might require to satisfy all my needs?

There are great hospitals here for a personalized medical service and most will accept foreign medical insurance. the transportation services are varied and inexpensive, there are big name chain stores like Home Depot, Office Depot, Sears, Sams, Walmart etc. as well as great local shopping for all of your favorite items. Transportation services either open air, or conventional taxis as well as Uber. At Mazatlan4Sale we can help you answer any more specific questions about your needs.

Is it safe to live in Mazatlan?

The amount of foreigners that live in Mazatlan continue to increase so that says a lot. They feel completely safe and consider that unfortunately, the northern american media tends to exaggerate the news especially about Mexico. We have heard many comments that Mazatlan is safer than the US or Canadian city they live in. Around the golden zone and historic district, people safely walk around after hours, especially since Mazatlan lives at night too, and caters kindly to tourists enjoying their evenings and after hours.

Do I have to change my migratory visa to resident type to buy a property in Mexico?

You do not need to change your tourist or residency status to buy property. However, you can apply for a 50% property tax discount if you have a Temporary or Permanent Residency Card.  At Mazatlan4Sale we would be happy to guide you with this issue.

How can I make the payment for my house?

There are different ways to do it, but the most common way is through bank transfer from a USA or Canada account to an account in Mexico, or to an account that is also in USA or Canada, depending on what the seller has set up to receive your payment.

Can I get financing as a foreigner to buy a house in Mexico using the house in Mexico as a collateral?

Yes, financing for foreigners is available in well established banks and also in partnership with US and Canadian banks.  Mazatlan4Sale can guide you to be counseled for financing here in Mexico.

Can I buy a property that has a current mortgage?

Yes. In fact, many of the best opportunities can arrive in this way and we have the required experience to guide you through this process.

Can I make an offer conditioned on getting a mortgage application accepted, making a final inspection or to the sale of another property of mine?

.Yes. The chances that the offer is accepted, or not, will depend on the conditions specified in the proposal, but we will advise you so you can increase the chances that your offer is accepted.

What kind of ownership is there for land?

The process to own land in Mexico is the same as for a home. However, the house must later be added to the deed or you will be paying hefty capital gains tax when you  go to sell your house in the future. If you decide to buy a lot or piece of land to build your new home, we have a variety of locations to fit your needs. we also have recommended builders and architects to create your custom dream home.  

Are any taxes I pay in Mexico deductible in the US?

In accordance with NAFTA and as of 2016, Seller’s capital gains tax (CGT) can be credited in the United States. In Mexico you are entitled to exempt CGT every three years, according to the current law. In the US, for example, most states allow a once in a lifetime exemption, whether you sell in the US or in a foreign country. Also, if there is a difference in the percentage of your CGT between Mexico and the US, you must declare and will only have to pay the difference in the US. If you are totally exempt in Mexico, it will not count as a CGT from a sale in the US. This fact and other possibilities of  other deductible fees or taxes should be discussed and verified with your United States financial advisors.

Buying in Pre-construction or Pre-sale stages

We have listed some developments being built by renowned builders and construction companies that we do recommend. There are a few ones in Mazatlan who we refuse to work with, for their reputation for finishing their product in time or other issues that would be out of our control and do not want our clients to be frustrated with  a bigger risk on their hands than expected.

I have a family friend who is a Realtor. I like her and she is a help but she gives me one price to sell my home for and I think it is too low. So I called another agent who suggested a price more in line with my expectations. Who do I choose?

You might want to consult a couple more Realtors on the market value of your home. Most of the estimates should be in the same ballpark.

It could be that your friend is being more honest with you about the value of your home and the other Realtor gave you a higher number because he already knew you expected it. This is called “Buying a Listing” and is the subject of an article on our web site.

Or it could simply be that your friend is a good friend, but not that great of a real estate agent.

Mixing business and friendships is always risky to the friendship. On the other hand, if your friend is truly competent and was providing wise advice, she may be offended if you ignore the advice and choose another agent.

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