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Questions About Mexican Real Estate

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During the course of a year, we receive many questions about Mexican real estate. Today, I will tackle a few of your questions.

How do multiple offers work?
Mexican law for multiple offers is not only different from the U.S. and Canada, but better in my opinion.  For example, Mexican law stipulates that the first received written offer must be answered by the seller in writing. The seller should see all offers, but the first offer must be addressed first. The seller must, in writing, accept, counter or reject the first offer. Only when this process has been completed, can all other offers be reviewed, and the seller can then respond to any offer he chooses.

You should also not let any agent tell you to sign more than one offer at a time. You can include a short term for the seller to answer, but do not sign more than one at a time.

What should I know about the condition of a property?

A property sold ¨as is” requires an inspection to determine the mechanical and physical property conditions. You can ask for repairs, but the seller is not obligated to do any repairs.  You will want to know, for example, if the propane tank is about to expire. Homes have their own tanks, but condos may share a common propane tank.

Do I need an escrow company?

Escrow is common in the U.S. and Canada, but not in Mexico, so the laws of how to handle escrow are not many.  Check with the escrow title company recommended for use.  Find out what the jurisdiction can be for any issues or disagreements between buyer and seller.  Jurisdiction can be the U.S., where there are more escrow laws.

Should I buy at pre-construction?

Pre-construction is an opportunity for a better price, terms to buy, and to find new products.  The risk, though, is higher than for a resale property. Also, the risk is always higher if you do not do proper due diligence. The notary will not do this for you, and your agent is not qualified to decide legal matters.  Legal documents need to be reviewed by your own advocate. If you think you can skip this step, or not pay for the attorney yourself (so they are your advocate), you are misinformed.

Please remember, you need to be aware and ask questions to learn how different the buying and selling process is in Mexico. I hope the answers to these question help.

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