As with any major investment, there are going to be a lot of questions that only an experienced professional can answer. With over 33 years of transactional experience and well over $100 million in transactions, Barbara Waugh Properties has seen it all. Here is a list of the most common questions and answers.
Q: Can foreigners own property in Mexico?
A: Yes they can and do. The laws regarding property ownership changed in 1992 allowing foreigners to own property in Mexico. The only restrictions are property that is on or near the beach and near (within 20 km) of the border with the United States.
Q: Do I need to learn Spanish?
A: You owe it to yourself. You can get along without it, but you’ll have a much better time if you do. Language is the key to a country’s culture, so if you want to understand the people, you have to understand the language. For example, reflexive verbs are frequently used: “The cup broke itself”, “the gas ran out in the water heater”, making expressions without personal responsibility whereas in English we might say, “I dropped the cup”, “you forgot to order gas”, etc. The reason for this is that Mexico is a non-confrontational society in which it is considered bad manners and uncouth to directly confront someone about their shortcomings or their errors. They believe that stating it in the non-direct way sends a subtle yet clear message stating “hey, you forgot to order gas…move it!” without having to actually say it. There are number of excellent language schools in Cuernavaca and at least one, Cemanauhuac, will tailor a class to your specific needs, whether you want to learn kitchen Spanish, aviation Spanish, medical Spanish or enough in general to get along.
Q: Is Mexico safe?
Yes. The US Embassy in Mexico City gives a standard, world-wide State Department warning to American travelers: Use common sense. Don’t wander around at night in unlighted areas. Don’t wear flashy jewelry. Don’t accept a ride from persons you don’t know. Don’t flash large sums of cash. Don’t use an ATM at night in a deserted area. If someone attempts to mug you, give them your wallet, watch or whatever they want in order to get out of the situation.
Q: Is my investment safe from being taken away by the government?
A: There have been some recent, high profile cases in which the government of Baja California evicted people from houses. The reason is that the developer was corrupt and put those homes on land actually owned by farmers (Ejido Land). This will not happen if you have a competent real estate agent who can carry out effective title searches. This has never happened to a client of Barbara Waugh Properties in 30 years of operation, and it never will.
Q: Can I own beachfront property in Mexico?
Yes, you can put the property into a bank trust (a “fidecomiso”) that is entirely safe and accepted in Mexico. In fact in many ways this is preferable because the transferability of this kind of legal structure is much less difficult in some cases that owning the property as a physical person. Many people choose this as the legal vehicle for homes that are nowhere near the beach because of its convenience and flexibility.
If you have additional questions, which many people do, please go to our contact page and fill out the form, someone will contact you ASAP!
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