Home Expat Blogs Who Does the Notary Represent in a Mexico Real Estate Transaction?

Who Does the Notary Represent in a Mexico Real Estate Transaction?

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Agent with clients
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Harriet Murray Blogs for Expats In Mexico on Real Estate
Harriet Murray

A question I am often asked about real estate in Mexico is: Who Does the Notary represent in a Mexico real estate transaction?

First, you should know that your real estate team in Mexico could include many players: real estate agents, the notary, attorneys for buyer and seller, transaction coordinator and the escrow company. When needed, specialists such as land surveyors, structural engineers and tradesman, such as plumbers and electricians, can inspect the property.

With expats who need a trust, and nationals who choose to put their property into one, the additional team member is the bank administrator of the trust.

Who is the notary? He/she is a specialized attorney who is appointed to practice notary law in a Mexican state. The notary has other jobs besides handling the transfer of real estate property, including collection of capital gains taxes, witnessing wills, business contracts, leases, etc.

The notary does not represent the buyer or the seller, but is expected to not favor one over the other, to be fair and clear to all parties.

In the Puerto Vallarta market, transaction coordinators may work with the notary but are not employees. The transaction coordinator has become popular for bilingual communication with foreigners.

When the transaction coordinator is a part of the notary process, he/she is paid a fee by the notary to help bring in more business and process the paperwork. The notary has to sign and approve all formal documents.

A buyer or seller expects his/her real estate agent to be an advocate. The role of the attorney hired is to advise on the legality of the sale by examining the recorded documents of the seller and the new documents created for the buyer. The agent cannot do this due diligence, as he/she is not an attorney nor knowledgeable in the federal and legal requirements for transferring Mexican real estate.

Agents are not educated, trained or licensed in Mexico, as they are required to be in the rest of North America. The legal process for buying and selling property in Mexico falls under Roman law, in particular Napoleonic Code.

A foreign buyer or seller from the U.S. or Canada should not rely on what they understand about English Common law for a real estate purchase in Mexico.

A buyer or seller from Europe will have some familiarity with the notary system and the real estate agent requirements in the European Common Market. Notaries are used for real estate transfer in Europe and Latin America.

Here are my conclusions about this process:

Sellers or buyers should never assume the notary is their advocate nor think they do not need their own attorney. The notary represents the government and cannot be an advocate for a buyer or seller in the same transaction.

The transaction coordinator, in my opinion, should not be the attorney for either the buyer or seller. He/she should be a neutral third party to avoid conflicts of interest.

If a transaction coordinator is paid by the notary and by the seller or buyer (as their attorney), whom does the transaction coordinator represent? How can he/she represent the government and a principal to the transaction without a potential conflict of interest?

This blog is based upon public information and my personal experience in the Puerto Vallarta-Bahia de Banderas areas. I recommend that each potential buyer or seller of Mexican real estate conduct his/her own due diligence and review.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Why the heavy emphasis on blogs regarding real estate purchases in Mexico. I would think that most expats in the more mature age range (most here seem to be retirees) would want to avoid buying and maintaining property when rentals are available and you can rent 25-30 years for what it costs to buy and upkeep a house. If your spouse or partner dies or becomes disabled, do you want to own property that might take 2-3 years to sell unless you discount the sale price. There are great investment options that earn 3-7% with monthly income that could pay most, if not all, of your rent. Just a thought.

  2. So, I am currently involved in the purchase of a condo in PV, set to close in November.

    I’m using a well respected broker / brokerage in PV. We have completed our home inspection. We are currently awaiting title insurance and the Notario process.

    We do not currently have an attorney involved. It would appear from your blog that you suggest we do so. Is this correct?

    Who might you recommend as an attorney in PV? What is the typical cost?

    Thank you in advance for your reply!

  3. So, I am currently involved in the purchase of a condo in PV, set to close in November.

    I’m using a well respected broker / brokerage in PV. We have completed our home inspection. We are currently awaiting title insurance and the Notario process.

    We do not currently have an attorney involved. It would appear from your blog that you suggest we do so. Is this correct?

    Who might you recommend as an attorney in PV? What is the typical cost?

    Thank you in advance for your reply!

  4. I believe I answered this yesterday, but perhaps I did not ¨post.¨
    You appear to be ready to close, and should have had good advice from your broker.

    I recommend an attorney to be involved when the due diligence period starts so that the attorney can check the legal papers of the seller, the HOA if it is a condo, etc.

    The attorney fees average $1500usd – $2000usd, to review and make recommendations to the buyer during his contingency period, and to review final documents for the sale.
    If there is more work to be done, ask the attorney for a summary of the issue and an estimate of the time it will take to solve.

    One of the attorneys I recommend is Jose Maria Gallardo. Should something come up in this closing, please contact me for his email and cell.

    Harriet

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