Can I actually own land in Mexico?
Yes. Although the restricted zone specified in the Mexican Constitution prohibits a foreigner from acquiring direct ownership of land within 100 kilometers along the border or 50 kilometers along the coast, you can obtain all the rights of ownership in the restricted zone via a bank trust known as a “Fideicomiso“. Since Vallarta lies within this zone, you need to use a trust here if you are not Mexican, but for all intents and purposes, it’s just like getting title.
What is a “Fideicomiso Trust”?
Because of the restriction mentioned above, a buyer can request a Mexican bank of his choice to act as a trustee on his behalf. The fideicomiso (trust) can be established for a maximum term of 50 years and can be automatically renewed for another 50-year period. The title is transferable to any other party. The bank becomes the legal owner of the property for the exclusive use of the buyer/beneficiary, who has all the benefits of a direct owner.
What are the closing costs and how much do they usually entail?
Whenever a real estate purchase takes place in Mexico, a number of additional closing costs are involved and should be taken into account. These can vary in amount and complexity, depending on the type of transaction and whether a trust is involved, and are determined by the notary office of your choice, along with the real estate agency handling the transaction.
How much are property taxes and other regular home expenses?
Property taxes are low compared to the USA and Canada; however, condos charge additional fees, such as homeowners’ association and master homeowners’ association charges. Utilities are reasonably priced, and household staff, such as maid, chef and butler, is extremely affordable.
Is financing available?
Yes. This process is easier than ever, and interest rates are lower than in the past. Many banks currently have English-speaking divisions, and many realtors are bilingual. Established realtors often have their own mortgage broker who can pre-qualify purchasers. If you will be needing financing, it is recommended that you contact a mortgage broker to better understand the financing available and how much you would qualify for.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of condo living?
- When it’s time to leave, you simply lock the door, making it more secure than a private home.
- Sharing maintenance costs with the other residents lowers monthly expenses. Condos often offer a better view if you live on a higher floor.
- Because 80 percent of the product inventory in Vallarta is condos, there are properties available at all price points, with a wide variety of locations and styles to choose from.
- Sharing your costs means living in close proximity to others.
- Decisions about the property are made by group majority and may not reflect your preference.
- Homeowners’ association meetings can be challenging, particularly for those who’ve never lived in a condo.
What is the role of the homeowners’ association (HOA)?
The HOA is responsible for maintaining and administering the common areas of any project or development. They collect maintenance fees from the owners, provide reserve funds, pay the bills and work with a board made up of homeowners. A well-run association can keep your costs down, but it’s a good idea to find out how it’s functioning in any property you may be interested in. This is something that is too often overlooked when prospective purchasers are considering a property.
What are the advantages of buying pre-sale vs. re-sale?
When purchasing a re-sale property, you know exactly what you’re getting; however, if it’s an older home or condo, it may require maintenance or upgrading or may be missing the stylish amenities a new unit may offer. Pre-sale purchases often involve purchasing over floor plans, models and artist renditions, which may leave some aspects up for contention later. Sometimes, though, it turns out even better than the buyer expected, but not always! Also, in challenging economic times, a developer may cut back on quality of finishing, in order to save money. But with a pre-sale property, you get the advantages of sometimes better pricing and stylish, new amenities. And it’s new, so serious maintenance should not be needed for some time.