If you have decided to buy a home or land in Baja, for sure you will encounter with the following players:
Player No. 1 – The Buyer – this is you, the main player, without any doubt. Buyers in Los Cabos and surrounding areas are mainly Americans, Canadians, Mexicans and, increasingly, Italians and Spanish; buyers are retired people (or soon to be), young couples with children, or young professionals. In Mexico, all the closing costs (except for the capital gains tax and commissions) are typically paid by the Buyer, unless otherwise agreed in the private purchase/sale agreement.
Player No. 2 – Real Estate Agent –Real estate agents are crucial for a good selection of a house, condo or land. They are normally the Buyer’s most-trusted person. Commissions of real estate agents fluctuate within a range of 5-10%, which are usually shared between the listing agent (seller’s agent) and the sales agent (buyer’s agent).
Player No. 3 – Developer / Seller – once the Offer to Purchase is signed it must be submitted to the Developer or Seller for its acceptance or refusal.
Player No. 4 – Trustee / Bank – as you may know, the Mexican Constitution provides that foreign entities or individuals are not able to directly acquire real estate located within 50 km from the beaches and 100 km from the border. Thus, foreign buyers must create a real estate trust (fideicomiso is the legal term in Spanish) with a Mexican authorized bank. Most commercial Mexican banks have a fiduciary division in charge of all types of fideicomisos, including real estate fideicomisos. The role of the bank is to hold the fiduciary ownership of the piece of real estate (for national secutiry reasons), and grant full possession of the property, as well as complete freedom to lease, sell, or encumber such property. Banks charge approximately $500 USD as an acceptance fee for opening the trust, and $500 annual fee for the administration of same.
Player No. 5 – Public Notary – in Mexico, the Public Notary is a very special figure. Notaries are all licensed lawyers appointed by the State Governor. Mexican law requires that a Public Notary be located in the same jursidiction in which the piece of real estate is, the Notary must attest that the seller transfers the ownership and possession of the property, and that the buyer pays the purchase price. The Public Notary prepares the final purchase/sale contract in the form of a public deed, and the parties (i.e. seller, buyer and bank) should visit the Public Notary’s office to execute the deed. It is important to bear in mind that a public deed is the only vehicle for transferring ownership of real estate in Mexico. Private agreements are just an intermediate step and do not grant rights in favor of the Buyer before third parties. Also, every buyer should always follow up the recording of his/her public deed with the Public Registry of the Municipality in which the property is located. In Mexico, Public Registries are operated locally, so the timing, efficiency and organization of each one of them varies considerably.
There are other players that may or may appear in a real estate closing when there is financing involved:
- Financing Institutions – these institutions grant loans to buyers for acquiring real estate.
- Mortgage Broker – these companies advise buyers on the best rates, terms and conditions offered by different Financing Institutions.
Finally, there are “side” players that are normally part of a real estate closing in the Los Cabos and surrounding areas. These “side” players are the Escrow Agent and the Title Insurance Company, who can be better understood because they also have an important role in US and Canada real estate closings.
Once the players have set up the purchase/sale transaction, there is an obvious need for a coordinator. Here is where the attorney or closing agent pops up. A real estate closing agent must be a neutral entity with one sole purpose: to close on time. We strongly recommend you choose a closing agent who has no financial interest in your deal and who has with a solid education in Mexican laws.
All the players have very different interests, but they seek the same goal: to close the deal. A real estate closing in Los Cabos and surrounding areas typically takes longer and costs more than a closing in the US and Canada. However, with a good attorney or closing agent, a non-financed real estate closing may be completed in 30-45 days, whereas a financed real estate closing may take up to 60-90 days.
There are so many players and steps involved in a real estate closing (as notes and instruments in a symphony) that the most minimum mistake or imprescision can bring the deal to the ground. As long as you find good players and a good closing agent, we will keep the good tunes in Baja!
P & H Closing services offers extensive experience and are qualified to handle all types of closings from small condos to big residential or commercial property transactions. With over 1,000 real estate transactions successfully closed, they have the necessary experience to deal with the most difficult of problems associated with real estate closings in Mexico.
For more information about their services, contact: