This is a common question that I get asked. Can you buy property in Mexico when you are a foreigner? The easy answer is a definite, Yes! It is legal for non-Mexicans to own real estate in Mexico even with the common misconceptions among people that foreigners have no rights to buy Mexican lands. Take a look below at the reality of buying property in Mexico when you are a foreigner.
Can you buy property in Mexico when you are a foreigner?
There are constitutional limitations placed on the purchasing of lands which are considered to be Federal Zones. Land located within 50 km (31 miles) of the coast and 100 km (62 miles) from international borders falls under these limitations. Buying land in these federal zones require the purchase of a fideicomiso (an official land trust) which is needed for legal purchases among foreigners. The process is pretty straightforward and is part of the regular purchasing process available at many banks in Mexico for foreign investors.
Fideicomisos and Bank Trust Institutions
Most non-Mexicans who want to buy real estate within the restricted zones in Mexico can do so by using a bank trust to act on their behalf. Among these lands are those of popular beach resort destinations including Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. The first requirement is to establish a trust deed through a Mexican bank.
The bank will act as the trustee on behalf of the foreign buyer looking to purchase property in Mexico. Acting as an intermediary, the bank only manages and oversees the trust for the purchased properties. The foreign purchaser holds all ownership rights of the purchased real estate. The beneficiary or the foreign investor also controls all of the trust rights. This means that as the foreign owner, you have the rights to occupy and use your property accordingly, rent or transfer to Mexicans or non-Mexicans, sell the property in Mexico or even bequeath the property in your will.
Renewable Bank Trusts
Fideicomisos have initial terms ranging for 50 years but are renewable. This can be renewed at the end of the 50-year term for an additional fifty years and then for perpetuity. If, at a later stage you decide to sell your property to a Mexican national, the bank trust then terminates. But if you sell to another foreigner, you only transfer the right to the trust or you can have them acquire their own fideicomiso.
Beneficiaries of Property in Mexico
There are avoidable instances when the foreign owners’ appointed beneficiaries may not fulfill the 50-year trust lifetime and thus requires to appoint a substitute beneficiary in the case of death. Once the trust is finalized, the substitute beneficiary will receive all rights of the trust especially for cases when the beneficiary passes away before the 50 years culminate. The additional benefit the beneficiary receives is that these heirs will not have to follow any probate proceedings with Mexican courts on their property in Mexico. Thus, saving them money, time and effort.