Frequently Asked Questions
BUYING A HOME IN MEXICO
- VISA – With readable stamp on back
- 10% of Purchase Offer Price for down payment (earnest money)
- A Notary (Attorneys who have been appointed to the position of Notary).
- SRE Notification (Secretary of External Relations).
- Do You Own the Land?
Yes. There are restrictions on ocean front properties and properties bordering other countries.
- Direct Deed (Similar to the USA):
- Beneficiaries: Must be Direct relatives or spouses
- No Annual Fees
- Trust – The Property is held in TRUST by a Bank of your choice:
- Pros: Anyone can be named a beneficiary
- Cons: Annual Fee to the Bank of approximately $450 USD per year
- The Buyer pays all closing costs
- Capital Gains (if applicable)
OWNING A PROPERTY IN MEXICO
Since 1973, non-Mexican citizens have been able to purchase property in México, with only coastal and border properties owned through a trust deed established with a Mexican bank. Foreigners may directly own rural or urban land in the interior of México, with certain limitations on specific agricultural tracts.
Real estate transactions in México are generally cash transactions, with limited cases of owner financing available. The. high cost of money (interest rates) has made financing properties unattractive to many. Until recently, there has been an absence of mortgage company services in the area. There are now a few foreign companies or investors making medium term loans available. You may wish lo investigate this.
The deed is the history of the property and will indicate who is the legal owner. The Direct Property Deed (Escritura Pública en Dominio Directo) is outright ownership of the property. The buyer is listed on the deed as the direct owner. There is no yearly or administration fee, as there is with a bank trust. However, with a Direct Property Deed there is a process of application for each foreigner who is registered on the deed. The process of giving a notice for a direct deed to Relaciones Exteriores takes a minimum of 8 days and is taken care of by the buyer´s notary of choice.
As of September 1995, a beneficiary can be designated in a Direct Property Deed. Probate is no longer automatic with a Direct Property Deed and a will is not essential to pass on the property when an owner of record dies. A beneficiary in a Direct Property Deed must be a spouse, parent or offspring. For all property owners a Mexican will is strongly recommended. A notary can help you structure your will.
Legislation enacted December 21, 2001 means a couple aged over 60 will pay more for annual Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS) family medical insurance, but a single person in this age range will pay about 30 percent less.
Annual IMSS insurance fees are now being charged per individual instead of per family.
Annual renewals are charged at the same rates. All foreign residents of Mexico and their dependants, regardless of their immigration status, may apply for IMSS health care in the “Seguro de Salud para la Familia” program even with the new charges, the cost is by far the least expensive health-care option in Mexico. The coverage is quite broad and include consultations, tests, hospitalization, surgery and medicines.
New applicants will be asked to fill out a medical questionnaire (in Spanish ) stating any preexisting conditions. The IMSS will not insure heads of family and dependants with preexisting medical conditions it describes as “chronic ailments “.
They include AIDS, renal insufficiency, diabetes, mellitus, cirrhosis of the liver, heart disease, and some other medical conditions.
The full list of conditions is specified in the Reglamento del Seguro de Salud Para la Familia ( article 11 ), which can be purchased at most bookstores.
For other conditions there are waiting periods form six months to two years after inscription before attention may be received (see article 12 ). Dental treatment is limited to extractions and cleaning; esthetic surgery is not included, nor are eyeglasses and hearing aids.
Those living in Chapala, Ajijic, Tlaquepaque, Tonala and the Reforma and Libertad sectors of Guadalajara must apply at the IMSS office at Calzada Independencia Norte 580, corner of Juan Alvarez in Guadalajara.
All offices are open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Only one trip to Guadalajara is needed to apply for coverage and pay the annual fee, according to IMSS officials. Coverage begins the first working day of the month following the one in which the application is approved.
Driver’s License Requirements for Jalisco
- Permanente or Temporal Visa
- CURP cedilla printed in letter size page.
- Proof of residence with a date not more than 90 days old (receipt for electricity, water, telephone, predial, etc.) in your name or in the name of a relative with the same last name. If receipt is in your married name, present your marriage certificate.
- Aprove knowledge and driving exam.
- Without the required documents, you will probably not get a license.
- Allow about 30 minutes and 1 hour to get your license.
- Original and one copy of all documents to the Transito office in Chapala.
- Automobile – $696 MXN every 4 years
- Renewal – $584 MXN every 4 years
Other Important Information
The practice seems to be 10% for adequate service, 15% for really good. Tips are typically given to shuttle drivers, restaurant waiters and to hotel cleaning staff. Some say that taxi drivers are not usually tipped, but we do. Times are tough for the average Mexican. The amount of our tip to these people is not much in our terms, but means a lot to them.
The front desk at your hotel will call a taxi for you.
Otherwise, you just wave one down, out on the street. It’s not like New York, where you see a taxi every 10 seconds, but you shouldn’t have much of a wait. The taxi fees are regulated by the state, and are metered. For long trips, you may want to ask beforehand, just to be safe, how much the trip will be.
The taxis park in the city center area in both Ajijic and Chapala.
Buses run between Chapala and Ajijic all the time. The bigger buses you see stay on the highway. The smaller “school bus” sized buses travel into the little village enroute. Often, they are crowded, but also very entertaining. Sometimes, one of the passengers could be singing a song, or strumming on a guitar. Nobody would be upset, or surprised, if you sang along! There are bus stops along the bus route, but nothing is well marked. Just flagging the bus down is all you have to do. Mention your destination when you get on the bus. The driver will advise how many pesos to pay and stop the bus when it reaches your destination.
For buses the charge is very little, so be sure to get on the bus with a bunch of small pesos in your pocket.
The buses are safe, and reliable. The only thing you have to be careful about is that they do stop their service quite early at night (we have been stranded as early as 10:00 p.m. on one occasion). I would plan on service being stopped around 9:00 p.m.