You might have heard that there is no way for a foreign national to legally purchase real estate within Mexico. This is largely due to the constitutional limitations put upon the ownership of land and real estate by foreign nationals within 50 km (31 miles) of the coast and 100km (62 miles) of the international borders. Nonetheless, it is more than possible to purchase real estate legally in Mexico as a foreign national; you simply need to have the land held in trust through a fideicomiso. Thankfully, this process is very simple and straightforward since there are plenty of top Mexican banks willing to get involved these days.
Fideicomisos and Bank Trust Institutions
If you wish to purchase real estate in the restricted zones around Mexico (such as in Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit or Cabo) you will need to establish a fideicomiso, or trust deed, through a bank. The bank will then act as a trustee on your behalf; they will manage and oversee the trust in question, but you will retain all of the rights of ownership to the property in question. This means that you will be able to occupy, rent, transfer, sell, or bequeath in a will the property. The requirement to have a fideicomiso in place for property around the coasts and borders of Mexico does not, however, make it illegal for foreign nationals to own land or property in these area.
Renewable Bank Trusts
The initial life of a fideicomiso bank trust is fifty years, and at the end of this term the trust can be renewed for another fifty years, and so on in perpetuity. If you choose to sell your property at a later date to another foreign national the fideicomiso can be transferred, or cancelled so that they can set up their own, and if you sell to a Mexican national the fideicomiso can be terminated.
When you purchase land through a fideicomiso in Mexico you will be required to appoint substitute beneficiaries when the trust is finalized so that if the worst should happen and you pass on before the fifty year lifespan of the fideicomiso, your heirs will be given all ownership rights to the property. This means that your heirs will not need to follow any probate proceedings with the Mexican courts, thereby saving them time, money, and stress in already stressful times.
If you wish to know more about the legality of buying real estate as a foreign national in Mexico, contact us on 1 877 499 1901 or 1 866 843 7005.
Related article: Are Foreigners Allowed to Purchase Real Estate in Mexico?