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Welcome to Viewpoint

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Harriet Murray
Harriet Murray

Hola, I’m Harriet Murray from Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, México. PV has been my home for 20 years. It was not a planned stay….. I had vacationed in Vallarta for a week each September for almost 10 years before that fateful extra trip I took in 1996.

It occurred to me this time, since I was alone and not distracted by other friends, what would happen if I decided to stay and live, for the first time in my life, outside the USA. My friends thought I was either crazy, or I would change my mind and not stay any longer than a few more weeks. There were times when I wondered why I had made the decision to become an expat, but each time I thought about it, I learned something new and valuable. So far, I am still here.

I learned that we can stay in our own country of origin and just move to another place within the country, but if you want to truly test your personal comfort level, you need to move outside your country.

In Viewpoint, I will share what I have learned about buying and selling real estate in a foreign country. It has been a great experience for me to learn so much about the culture, business practices and ethics of Mexico and the real estate market. So I will share what I think is right and what is wrong about our real estate practices here, and what influences the market.

I also will share my experiences when I think they cover an important point. Cultural differences, for example, account for a lot of miscommunication. Buyer and seller expectations can be unrealistic or based on a false premise.

And living here after purchasing a home also brings an entirely different list of things to cover, including how to set up a household and learn the routine and rhythm of settling in.

Of course I’ll also cover selling property, which is another subject you need to know about to help make the task easier for you and less intimidating.

A personal favorite topic of high interest to me is researching and learning why foreigners and nationals have totally different approaches and opinions. For example, how we have different ways to show respect for a person or a custom. How high cultural context (Mexico and France) and low cultural context (USA and Germany) countries function so differently.

So, welcome to Viewpoint and be sure to let me know if you have any questions about buying and selling real estate in Mexico.


  1. I read several years ago that the Mexican govt was planning to do away with the restrictions in the coastal forbidden zone. Without these restrictions foreigners would be able to buy land without a fideocomiso. What is the current status of this plan?

    • Currently, the government is not going further on eliminating fideicomisos or trusts.
      Foreigners and nationals have trusts, nationals out of choice. Trusts are only for the restricted zone, which is the ocean front and border between our two countries.

      From my experience, a trust is a very good thing. It was created in the 1980´s to create a way for foreigners to buy near the ocean. It brought in massive funds for Mexico to develop from being mainly agricultural. A trust does not require probate, it is a stand alone will, and cannot be attached by family members or outsiders.

      Yes for fideicomisos

  2. Came across What is this thing called trust? looking for further columns by you. This one was from February 2017. How can I read more?
    And thanx for all your work! Forwarding your bit about moving to a foreign country to a couple of friends!


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