There are different rules of “owning” property in Mexico than in other countries. In Mexico a foreign citizen owns title to the property in a form of a trust called “Fideicomiso”. A U.S. citizen or most foreigners can hold title to a property, house, hotel, commercial building etc., through a Fideicomiso held by a Mexican bank. This is required in order to purchase Real Estate in Mexico within a certain distance from the different oceans or seas.
In the Baja, the requirement is different because of its close proximity to the water’s edge. Permission to obtain a Fideicomiso is given by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Once you acquire the chosen property, the property is placed in a trust. The title will be held by a designated Mexican bank – usually of your choice. With a Fideicomiso, the property is legally your property to do with as you please such as build on, improve or sell as you desire.
Attorneys are people who can help you work with a Notario Publico in order to make sure all your paperwork is in good order. A Notario Publico, is a specially licensed attorney who is fortunate enough to have been assigned this position after a minimum of five years of practicing law. Do not confuse a Notario Publico in Mexico to a Notary Public in the U.S. or Canada – they are vastly different. When buying property in Mexico, it’s best to think of a Notario as someone like the county recorder, recording the legal documents in the book signed and witnessed by the Notario.
A person should always contact an attorney to seek any legal advice. From time to time these rules and regulations may change. An attorney can give you up-to-date legal advice. We always recommend consulting an attorney before you purchase any property in Mexico.