Buying Real Estate in Mazatlán
Posted on: August 25, 2017, by : admin

Buying property in Mexico is an adventure in and of itself! So, you’re thinking about retiring to Mexico, or perhaps becoming a snow-bird. I bought my apartment in Mazatlán in 2016 so my recollection is still current. Here are a few things I can speak to …

Location: Research where you want to live – not just the city, but the colonia/neighborhood/street. Don’t assume that the neighborhood you’ve vacationed in for the last 10 years is where you want your home. Wander. Ask friends. Post questions on websites. Then visit. Visit again in a different season. Google. Google. Google. Google Maps – zoom in and virtually wander around. My apartment is a perfect example as it’s on Angél Flores – that’s the street with the colorful pretty houses in all the photos of Mazatlán. My apartment is at the East end of that street however, not the West. My neighborhood is very working class, with a big range of low to middle income families. There is an entire world of difference – just on one street, and less than a mile.

Price: Is the home listed in US currency, Canadian, or Mexican Pesos? If not Pesos, then be prepared to have the price fluctuate with the currency market. Plan on 15% to 25% above the listed price. Several people get involved in a real estate deal, and each one will have their hand out to you. After you buy you’ll find the little things you need to fix/change. If there isn’t an existing fideicomiso in place then you’ll have $$$ to get that. Plan on the extra. If you don’t spend it then treat yourself to lots of dinners out!

People: This is a short, but pretty complete list of all the people involved in my transaction … Seller, Real Estate Agent (mine was also the listing agent), Buyer (me), Local Bank (for the fideicomiso), Mexico City Bank (where the fideicomiso was processed), Notario. My purchase took an extraordinary long time (6 months) – even according to my real estate agent. Paperwork would be done and sent from one place to another, a national holiday would delay things, something would be found to be missing, paperwork would be sent from one place to another … you get the idea. And remember that this is Mexico. Time does not run on the same scale as it does in other places! Make sure you hire people who know what they’re doing. I had to change banks mid-stream because they couldn’t figure things out. You may also want to hire an attorney, a surveyor, and an inspector. I would have considered it if I had been spending more for the purchase than what I did.

Fideicomiso: This is the bank trust. If you’re buying in the ‘restricted zone‘ within 100 kilometers of a national border, or 50 kilometers from an ocean, then you’ll need one. Basically, the bank holds the title to the property, but conveys all rights to you. I just consider the fideicomiso my property taxes – it’s a little over $500 a year for me, and my actual property taxes are under $20. Don’t worry about the bank taking possession of the property – they’d rather have your annual fee, and they don’t have that legal right anyway. If you’re really concerned, you can research the few options other than a fideicomiso. I found them just as lengthy, pricy and lots more convoluted.

I think during the process my biggest concern was the lack of response to my emails. I’m one of those people that’s fine with something taking time – I just want to know. Make sure you have a good rapport with your real estate agent and tell them up front what you expect communication to be during the process. All said and done, I really enjoy my little third floor walk-up apartment in my ‘interesting’ neighborhood! I have good food just a block or two from me; the main city market is a 10 minute walk away; and Olas Altas is a 15 minute walk away when I feel like beach and tostinachos.

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