Soooo…. there are a lot of misconceptions about real estate in Mexico. Like the show MythBusters, we are here to debunk some of the more obvious rumors and misconceptions that remain so pervasive. Some of these are rooted in old laws and half truths, while some are just flat out figments of people’s overly fertile imaginations…
The myth we are looking at today – Can the Mexican government take my property?? This question is one we hear quite often… and without further ado, let’s examine the truth and exactly why so many people are concerned about it.
Question – As a foreigner, can the Mexican Government take my property?
Ok, the answer to this question is NO – they can’t and won’t. But people seem to think the Mexican government is just running around, repossessing home after home from gringos like it’s free.
But… in this case, there is an actual reason that this rumor got started in the first place. It lies in the type of title that the property has. There are 4 types of title in Mexico. Foreigners can legally own ONE of the four types. Now, if you don’t know what you are doing and end up buying a property with the wrong kind of title, then you can have some issues. Legally speaking, you don’t technically own the property and it can be taken from you.
In the Yucatan and Quintana Roo, one of the main kinds of title that you will find that is a no-no for gringos, is Ejido lands. There are plenty of Mexican owners who will happily sell you Ejido titled property (usually for an amazing, sounds almost too good to be true price) , do a full legal sales contract and provide you with ownership papers. The problem is again, a foreigner legally can’t own Ejido land so it doesn’t matter what papers you have or that you have a legal sales contract and paid good money – you are a trespasser. It’s that simple.
As a trespasser, you can be removed from the land. This is where the rumors got started – the government has in th past, removed trespassers from land they didn’t legally own. But as the story is repeated over and over, it becomes a tale of nightmarish proportions, where an innocent gringo family was run out of their Mexican dream home for no reason by soldiers with automatic weapons.
Many people unfamiliar with Laws and customs here in Mexico, think they are getting a screaming deal on a piece of property and rely on the goodwill of the Seller and/or his friends/notaries/attorneys to take care of them and tell the truth about what they are buying. They don’t find out until it’s too late to do anything and the Seller is long gone with their hard earned money.
What can I do to make sure I am buying the right title?
This where you need to let your ego go and find the right team to help you find property. Do your research and find a reputable real estate agent with experience and connections. Someone who knows the laws and local customs and is willing to take the time to educate you and walk you through the process. There are so many snags that you can hit doing a real estate transaction in Mexico, it’s crazy. This is NOT the States where you can find a For Sale By Owner, work out a great deal and move forward with some boilerplate real estate forms from Office Depot.
To be truthful, as a foreign buyer in Mexico, you don’t even know what to look out for. Unless you have been in the business and are knowledgeable on all facets of a real estate transaction in Mexico, you don’t know what you don’t know. Period.
This isn’t to scare you… Millions of Americans have purchased property here in Mexico without a problem and are enjoying the many benefits of owning real estate here, as long as it’s done correctly and you’ve protected yourself. A good real estate agent/company is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of frustration and heartache.
We have been helping and protecting clients buying property here in Mexico for over 10 years and have NEVER had an issue come back and haunt one of our clients. We do the job right the first time and make sure that you, as a foreign buyer, are protected and will have no headaches now or in the future.
Contact us with any questions – we are here to help, educate and protect you. Our clients are family.
For more information on “Can the Mexican Government take my property?” – check out the video below!