Mexico Real Estate - Property Market and Agents
Getting involved in the Mexico real estate business can be tricky. There are a number of important things that you need to take into account before you even consider purchasing a property. Listed below are a couple of basic guidelines to keep in mind when looking at the property market in Mexico.
Choosing an agency:
The Mexico real estate business is not regulated by the government as is the case in many other countries. Self-regulated agencies function independently and are overseen by two regulatory bodies, the Gil (Grupo Inmobiliario del Lago) and the AMPI (Asociacion Mexicana de Profesionales Inmobilarios). When choosing and agency, it is a good idea to look for one that is accredited to both bodies. Before signing up with an agent, check their credentials carefully. If at all possible, visit the agency in person and check how it is run, the properties it lists and how competent the staff working for the agency are. If this is not possible, log onto the agency website. Check that it looks professional, lists all the properties overseen by the company and is a bilingual website. If you are not proficient in Spanish and plan on initially corresponding via e-mail, you will need an agency that can answer all your queries properly in English.
Selecting a property:
Property in Mexico can cost anything from $25, 000 to a few million dollars. As a general rule, the closer a property is to the beach and general services, the more expensive it will be. Those properties that are near popular tourist locations such as Acapulco and Cancun cost far more than those situated in the country. Decide on a price range and stick to it. Be willing to be flexible and move a few hundred dollars each way, but don't let your agent try and bulldoze you into spending far more than you intended. Giving an agent a firm idea of your budget will allow them to eliminate certain properties and areas from the start. This will save you and them time and money in the long run.
Another thing to be clear about is the type of property that you are looking for. Do you want to buy a lot and build your own house or villa, or do you want a fully furnished house that you can just move into the day that you buy it. Building your own place gives you the freedom to have things exactly the way you want them and there are a number of highly skilled local and international architects developing properties all over Mexico.
If you do plan to go this route, make sure you ask your estate agent essential questions, both about location and the actual land. In many places in Mexico the soil is incredibly soft and construction in these areas is likely to be a nightmare. There are also a number of areas that have been set aside by the government and can only be sold to Mexican citizens. This land, known as ejido land cannot under any circumstances be sold to foreigners and you will never get legal title on it no matter what anyone tells you so avoid it at all costs. Since there are no building codes in Mexico, your agent will be the only person who is able to supply you with this information so make sure they know what they are talking about.
Making a purchase:
Once you have decided on the property you wish to purchase, you will need to make an offer to the owner. This usually involves presenting the owner with a cheque for approximately 10% of the total value of the property. Most transactions will be cash only, although short-term home loans are becoming more popular these days and alternatively you could always apply for a mortgage in the US . In order for you to take ownership of a property, you will need to get the deed to the property transferred to your name. In order to do this you will need to consult a private solicitor at the Notario Publico (notary public). For a fee, the notary will check legal details pertaining to the sale and give you advice about which type of deed is best suited to your needs. This deed will then be lodged with the Mexican government, and you will acquire ownership rights over the property. This process can take anything from a couple of days to a few months depending on individual circumstances.