If you have decided to purchase a Vacation Property or a retirement home, you must consider a few important legal and technical matters that you should keep in mind. Any foreigner is welcome to invest in a property along the Mexican Coastline. Yet, a few restrictions may apply. The Mexican Constitution states that foreigners may not own property within 100kilometers (62 miles) of the country&rsquos political borderline, as well as within 50 kilometers (31 miles) of its coastline. The Mexican government,however, provides a way to get around this restriction. The Mexican Ministryof Foreign Affairs, allows any Mexican Bank to establish a trust for foreigners. You may own a property in Mexico for your own residence, or for tourist developments. Once you have selected a property, we encourage you to consult with a Real Estate expert. Most Real Estate agents have made arrangements with several local banks for this specific purpose. You may also ask any major bank officer in Cancun, regarding the appropriate procedure to establish the above mentioned trust. Nevertheless, a real estate agent will guide you through all the necessary steps. We recommend selecting a real estate agency that has been in business for a while. Make sure that this agency is affiliated with the real estate association AMPI in Mexico.
What is a trust? For historical and political reasons, in 1917, the Mexican Congress considered a matter of national security to limit foreigners from owning property within the above mentioned distances of the borderline as well as from our coastlines. Since that year this ordinance has been part of the Mexican Constitution. Currently, even though it is true that foreigners sill cannot record their Property Title in the so called "Restricted Zones", as of 1971 this may now be possible. The easiest way is by establishing a Trust of Ownership, using a Mexican Bank Trust services (in Mexico, only the financial institutions may act as trustees). In other words, a trust is like owning 100% of the shares of any corporation.
HOW DOES IT WORK? On the other hand, the owner can act only as if he had recorded direct title, with the only "limitation" that if in case he/she sells his/her property, the bank will sign the transfer documents to the new owner. Of course, all real estate rights, obligations and profits belong to the owner.
HOW MUCH? The cost varies from one bank to another. The first fee that the banks may charge for preparing and signing the trust and its yearly maintenance range from a flat fee of 1-1.5 % of the assessed value at the time of purchase. These fees are calculated in Mexican Pesos and can be updated on a yearly basis.
HOW LONG? Trusts of Ownership may be contracted from 5 to 50 years and the cost for preparing and signing is the same, regardless of the specified period. Our suggestion, choose the longest term.
WILL IT CHANGE? Given the recent trend of new laws and ordinances, and Mexican politics, it is almost sure that in 15 years from now, or maybe less, this procedure will not be mandatory anymore. If this ever happens, and you think that the Trust is not worth sustaining, you may cancel it by advising the Trustee by mail, and a small Notary Public fee.
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