When it comes to buying or renting a property in a foreign country thorough research is essential. It’s important to know the area you plan to live in, to be aware of the average house prices and to understand the legalities and conditions surrounding renting and buying before you make any sort of commitment.
Use the internet, local papers and estate agents to find out about properties for rent or sale, but also gather opinions and advice from the locals.
It’s always better to move to a property in an area you know well. If you’re not familiar with the area you may be better off renting at first rather than buying.
Mexico is similar to many nations in that property/rental prices vary significantly according to location. The typical rule of thumb is the more popular the area the pricier the property.
Property values in larger cities with good infrastructure, like Guadalajara, are also generally higher than the values of properties in small villages or out of the way rural locations.
Compared with other nations Mexico is fairly reasonably priced when it comes to ongoing property costs like maintenance and taxes.
Foreigners can buy pretty much any type of property in Mexico with relatively few problems, and you don’t need to be a resident of Mexico to own a property there. There are some limitations to this however which you should independently research prior to your property search, and there is often quite a lot of paperwork to get through!
Permission for a foreign property purchase must also be sought from the foreign secretary’s office but this issue can usually be resolved within a few days.
Properties within Mexico can usually be bought without incident but if a foreigner wants to buy a property in a ‘restricted zone’ they must do so through a fideicomiso (trust) held by a Mexican bank.
Buying Ejido lands (areas currently owned or once owned by a community) is also difficult.
Unless you are very familiar with Mexico, Mexican property law and have a good command of Spanish you may want to hire a lawyer to ensure your property purchase goes smoothly.
Something to be aware of is that in Mexico private property sales are common. Properties up for private sale are rarely traditionally advertised and often work through a system of personal connections. It’s possible to buy a property cheaper through a private sale but it can be a long winded process – and a difficult one if you don’t speak Spanish!
In many cases buying a plot of land and building a property on it is cheaper than buying an existing property, but such a project would be a huge commitment and making it run smoothly would require significant effort.
Important factors to bear in mind when buying a property in Mexico is whether the property’s water source is reliable as the water supply can be scarce in some areas, and whether the property is connected to a public sewerage system. The reliability of the electric supply is also something to consider as power cuts are frequent in parts of Mexico. Very remote areas may not even have an electricity supply!