I’ve been a real estate agent in Puerto Vallarta for over 14 years, with over 400 real estate transactions for clients from the US, Canada and other parts of the world. Throughout the years, there are several questions that I get asked all the time. I thought it would be helpful to put them in an article should you be on the research trail to find a home in Mexico. Of course this list can be more extensive, but these are the top questions I get asked frequently.
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1. Can Foreigners Own Property In Mexico?
Yes, foreigners can acquire real estate in Mexico. If the property is located within the Restricted Zone (50 kilometers from the coastline and 100 kilometers from the border), the title is held in a Trust (Fideicomiso) with a Mexican bank. Nowadays, most Trusts have a 50-year term and is renewable. A Trust is not needed if the foreigner purchases the property through a Mexican corporation, or if the property is outside of the Restricted Zone.
2. How Long Does It Take To Close On A Property?
There are a number of factors that dictate the time it takes for the transference of title (Closing) from the seller to the buyer. For a resale property located in the Restricted Zone, in which the seller is a foreigner (title in trust) and the buyer is a foreigner, the closing may take on the average of 45-60 days. Some banks are quicker than others – if the seller’s bank trust is quick to respond, 45-60 day closing period is more likely. If the bank that is holding the Trust is not as responsive, it can take longer. A trust in the Restricted Zone is not needed if the property is being purchased through a Mexican Corporation or if the foreign buyer has dual citizenship and elects to purchase the property as a Mexican National. In these instances, a closing may take place between 30-45 days.
For real estate transactions outside of the Restricted Zone (50 kilometers from the coastline and 100 kilometers from the border), a trust is not required, thus closings may take approximately 30 days to complete.
If purchasing in a pre-construction condominium development, transfer of title from the developer to the buyer takes place after construction is completed and corresponding Condominium Regime and property Tax ID numbers are registered at the Public Registry.
Regardless of whether the purchase of a property is in the Restricted Zone, the middle of the country, or a pre-construction home, there may be unforeseen circumstances that can delay the transfer of title. It is recommended that a buyer seek a reputable real estate agent and attorney to help navigate through the idiosyncrasies of the purchase-sale process and perform due diligence.
3. Do I Have To Pay Income Tax On My Rental/Investment Property?
Yes, income generated on a rental property in Mexico is subject to income tax in Mexico, regardless if the rent was received by a Mexican bank or outside the country. US citizens must declare on their annual US tax return their foreign earned income. Check with your country of citizenship as you may need to file an annual tax return there as well.
4. Are Mortgages Available In Mexico?
Yes, mortgages are available in Mexico. There are a variety of loan programs offered through Mexican banks, investment funds, and private lenders. There are also mortgage brokers offering multiple options for buyers. Depending on the loan program, down payments can start at 10%. Interest rates are generally higher than in the U.S. and Canada starting from 8%, with 9-20 year amortization periods.
5. Do Hospitals In Mexico Have Bilingual Doctors And Are Most Doctors Educated In The U.S.?
In resort destinations such as Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, and Cabo, a number of hospitals have bilingual staff and doctors. When visiting small towns or remote villages, that may not be the case. Consider investigating beforehand, especially if you or a loved one have special needs or preexisting condition.
Doctors in Mexico are predominantly educated in Mexico. But that doesn’t mean that their education is subpar to an American one. In fact, medical schools in Mexico have a more rigorous curriculum and go to school one year longer than med students in the U.S. They are also required to do 6 months of community service working in poor communities. They are known to take more time with their patients than in the U.S. as their culture embraces.
6. Can Foreigner Residents Purchase Private Health Insurance In Mexico?
Foreigners with either a Temporary or Permanent residency in Mexico can buy a health insurance policy. Policies vary and take into consideration the person’s age, coverage inclusions, pre-existing condition(s), deductible, individual, family or group coverage, to name a few.
7. How Hot Does It Get In Mexico?
Puerto Vallarta has a tropical climate. During the Winter and Spring, the average high temperature is from lower to mid-80s Fahrenheit. It’s not uncommon for the temperature to drop below 80° F from time to time during these seasons. The heat and humidity start to go up from the end of Spring, through summer and mid-autumn, with temperature in the mid to upper 90s. The wet/rainy season generally starts sometime in June and gradually intensifies throughout summer, with August and September being the wettest months of the year.
You can find cooler, less tropical temperatures in areas of higher elevation like Mexico City or San Miguel de Allende, which is known to be the city of eternal spring for its year-round Spring-like temperatures.
Merida is known to be one of the hotter areas of Mexico where temperatures can reach a scorching 100 degrees during the summer.
Cabo San Lucas has a more desert climate with warm temperatures (80s) during the day and cooler temperatures (60s) at night during the winter. It can also get hot there during the summer.
No matter where you may be or what the temperature is in Mexico, don’t forget to wear sunscreen!
If you are interested in retiring or moving to Mexico, do your research first to make sure it is a good match. Not everything you read online is accurate, so consider the source and validity of the information. There has been a lot of interest in Mexico in the last decade with a growing number of expats calling Mexico home.
Join us for our FREE webinar where we will discuss purchasing property in Mexico and much more. Check out the details at www.DreamRetirementInMexico.com.