Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the frequently asked questions that people have when they are thinking about buying property in Tulum, Mexico:
Can a foreign individual, corporation, or trust own property in Mexico?
Yes you can own property in Mexico, and no it is not a lease. Decades ago, the law did not allow foreigners of any sort to own property within 30 miles of the coastal waters, and within 50 miles of the borders. The purpose of this legislation was to protect Mexico’s sovereignty through the establishment of the restricted zone. Today, the most common way to own residential property along the Mexican coastline or borders is trough a "Mexican Trust" called Fidelcomiso. The "Trust" is completely safe and provides foreign individuals, corporations, and trusts with all the rights of ownership. A Mexican bank is required by law to administer and represent an owner of a Mexican Trust. The beneficiary of a "Trust" can be a foreign individual, corporation, or trust.
Can I establish a Mexican corporation?
Yes. To create a Mexican corporation is a fairly simple matter that requires a minimum of two partners, both of which can be foreigners. A Mexican corporation is allowed to purchase real property and/or operate a business. Virtually all Mexican corporations hire an accountant (CPR) to handle the required paperwork given that accounting and tax declarations are complicated due to the existing fiscal laws which change frequently, and with the addition of new laws which occur often. p
What would the annual expenses be for a Mexican property?
- Property tax ("predial"): Based on the Municipality appraisal value. Example: A 4-bedroom house on the ocean pays between $1,000 and $1,500.
- Bank Trust fee: Each bank has different fees. Some have a fixed rate and some others calculate it according to the appraised value of the property. You can expect a yearly fee between $500 and $1,000.
- Federal Zone tax: If your property is right on the beach you will pay this tax every year, and it is calculated on the frontage of the lot. A 66-foot ocean front lot costs about $400 a year.
Can I rent my property while I’m not using it?
Yes. This is one of the most frequently asked questions. Many people have discovered this area over the last 25 years and has seen a dramatic increase in the last few years due to the internet. There are a number of rental organizations that contribute to a high occupancy rate. Some owners handle their rentals successfully through a web site. Property rental is an excellent way to quickly recover your initial investment.
How can I provide maintenance to the property and cover the expenses if I don’t live in Mexico?
Most condominium buildings have an on site caretaker who takes care of the property. A monthly maintenance fee is paid by each unit to cover expenses. Most houses have a casita (small house) at the entrance to a property that houses the caretaker. The caretaker provides various services to the owner and guests. The cost for caretaker service is easily offset through rentals.Property Managers are also available. They provide services such as property maintenance, paying utility bills, purchasing cleaning supplies, paying salaries, supervision of employees, greeting and assisting your guests, and coordinating the immediate repairs the property may need.
Can I bring my own furniture and appliances from a foreign country to Mexico?
Yes. You can bring in one shipment of personal belongings which includes appliances for the property. In order to eliminate problems, accurate paperwork is required. Usually, arrangements are made in Mexico prior to bringing or shipping your belongings. In the past years this was a common practice. Today, you can find a good variety of just about everything you need in Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Most often the prices of merchandise is slightly higher than the US or Canada. You must factor in the cost of shipping or transporting your belongings which can be expensive. The stores in Cancun include Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart, Costco, Home Depot, Sears, Office Max, Office Depot, as well as many Mexican stores and department stores. Playa del Carmen now has Sam's Club, WalMart, and other large grocery, furniture, hardware, and decor stores.
Can I import my vehicle from a foreign country?
Yes. According to the law, the maximum time you can import your vehicle is for a 6 months period. Recent legislation states that you do not have to leave the country and renew your vehicles papers as long as you have a valid tourist or FM3 visa. A trip to the southern border at Chetumal is only 2.5 hours from Tulum. In Chetumal you can renew your importation certificate. On the way there are some interesting places to visit. You can either drive your car into Mexico, or have your vehicle shipped from Miami to Puerto Morelos.
How complicated is it to move to and work in Mexico?
It is much easier than for a Mexican to get established in the States. You can either open a corporation or work for someone else. If you are going to work for someone else you will need a letter stating they are offering you the job, explaining your position in the organization and the salary you will receive. If you are opening a corporation you can get your immigration papers as the administrator of your company and you will need a notary and a reliable accounting firm.
Is there financing available for a real estate purchase?
Presently there are a few American institutions providing financing to Americans and Canadians in order to purchase houses or condominiums that are already built. In most transactions, the only financing is provided by the seller. Most transactions are by cash with the purchaser making arrangements back home. Mexican banks do not lend to foreigners.
More Frequently Asked Questions:
How difficult is it to retire in Mexico?
This part of Mexico is becoming ideal for retired people. There is a steady increase of American retirees that are attracted by the beauty of this area, the warm winters, and practically no crime. Cancun provides daily direct flights to the major cities of the United States and Europe. To obtain your immigration status as a retired person is a matter of a few days and about $500 if you hire a lawyer for the paper work. It is less expensive if you do it yourself, however we recommend using a lawyer or legal firm with experience to facilitate the process.
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