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Is Real Estate Licensing in Mexico Needed?

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View from a home in Puerto Vallarta
Credit: Harriet Murray

You may not know that selling real estate in Mexico, unlike the U.S., Canada and most other developed countries, does not require licensing and relies more on voluntary compliance with industry standards. But is real estate licensing in Mexico needed?

The Association of Mexican Real Estate Professionals (AMPI) is the primary real estate association in the country and an important goal for AMPI is to bring an increased level of professionalism to property sales in the country. The organization has established a voluntary code of laws and ethics for member agents to follow and is moving towards certification of all members.

Here are some of the existing rules and regulations you should be aware of if you are considering purchasing or selling property in Mexico:

Government Regulation

A number of federal laws currently oversee real estate agents in Mexico. These include real estate services per state, consumer protection, seller protection and anti-money laundering.

Some states have developed licensing or registration requirements for those working in real estate-related activities: Sonora, Coahuila, Tabasco, Baja California, San Luis Potosi, Colima, Campeche, Morelos, Veracruz, Mexico, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, Guanajuato, Nuevo Leon. Mexico City is also included. Jalisco and Nayarit are working on licensing.

State or Federal Licensing

Natural resources of the land, also referred to as mineral rights and water, cannot be transferred to a buyer. Mexico retains all rights to these and can exercise them at any time without compensation to the property owner. In the restricted zones, foreigners must have a trust to own a residential property.

Contracts

All real estate sales must be approved by a notary public before they are valid and can be processed by a lending institution or governmental office. After the notary reviews the title deed, it is filed at the Public Registrar for Property, and the deal is closed. Due to the lack of professional licensing and governance of the sale of real property, fraud is a major concern for both the AMPI and buyers alike.

Federal Public Registry

The sale of both residential and commercial property must be recorded with the Federal Public Property Registry office. Clear title and ownership is not legally recognized until all paperwork is filed with this governmental agency. All information becomes public record after filing. Certificates of encumbrances or liens are also filed at the Federal Public Property Register office, and are public record as well.

Agent Responsibility

No errors and omissions insurance and no recovery fund for real estate transactions that go bad exist in Mexico. At this time, anyone can call himself or herself a real estate agent or real estate broker.

Listing Agreements

Listing agreements are created by the broker, or in the case of Bay of Banderas AMPI chapters, specific concepts or paragraphs are required to be included in any exclusive listing agreements. They are not reviewed by any government agency. The sales contracts are developed in the same manner.

This article is based upon legal opinions, current practices and my personal experiences. I recommend that each potential buyer or seller conduct his/her own due diligence and review.

7 COMMENTS

  1. I have clients in north carolina who are interested in long term rental in fluvial…pet friendly…$500–700 USD range…at some point might want to purchase….I’m a broker-in-charge and my license is 186527…please lets know if u can b of assistance…

  2. Hola Freinds. I have a question about the current real agent requirements in the state of Jalisco, as of July 13,2018. Thanks in advance for your kind assistance.

    Gracias, Vero

    • Silvestre, this answer comes from our Los Cabos blogger Kristin Bloomquist: “I dont’ know about Baja California Norte- I can answer for Baja Sur — until this year, agents did not need a license, although a law passed this year that is going to require licensing. They are way behind schedule though for implementing it. A committee has been formed to figure out the process to acquire licenses and once that has been determined, they will start to put the process in place. it was already supposed to have happened, but again, they are behind schedule. I have not heard a recent update on the timing — it could be 2019 before it all starts to happen and we all have to get the new MX license…

  3. I am a broker in Fla. Can I sell a property in Quintana Roo for a client? If so what do I need to do if I do not want to pay a referral to someone local

  4. Ola , just had an accepted offer on a piece of land in puerto aventura , quintana roo , signed by both sides , deposit in escrow account , all done by the book , seller now wants to cancel , competing

    real eastate people told they could get more$$$ for the land ?
    Its a jungle here or what ?

    • Harriet responds: Owner wanting to cancel a sale is not related to licensing for agents. Seller is in default and buyer can refuse to accept this and can sue for performance or damages. And escrow should not allow release of funds until the situation is settled.

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