What is the process of buying a house in any Latin American country that anyone is familiar with for a U.S. citizen? I know the 50km border/shore zone law, but what does the process entail. How do I know the person actually owns the house and how do I get registered as the owner.

I preferably want an answer for Mexico, but if anyone has actually gone through the process elsewhere I am interested as well.

  • 3
    Mexico, Central and South America is literally 20 countries. It's unreasonable to assume that this doesn't require at least close to 20 different answers. I think you need to narrow it down.
    – user71659
    May 16 '19 at 5:40
  • @user71659 I wasn't expecting to get even a single answer so if even one country gets an answer I will be surprised. I've been to multiple real estate agents outside the U.S. and none of them even knew. They gave conflicting vague answers and suggested I see a notary who then tells me it's not even possible with is false. The "specialists" here don't know anything about foreign citizens purchasing. May 16 '19 at 5:43
  • @user71659 There, I edited it. May 16 '19 at 5:45
  • Some of them didn't even know about the 50km border rule and this was their full time job! May 16 '19 at 5:48
  • Could just be they haven't encountered it yet. How many US agents get calls from foreigners asking about the rules of foreign purchase? Maybe some, but unless they have a reason to look it all up then who can blame them for not knowing those details?
    – Kai Qing
    May 16 '19 at 20:45

If you have never done this before, consider that major real estate companies may have foreign offices. Look up ReMax for example. These companies are well versed in exactly your situation, and many of them know how to circumvent the 50km rule so you can technically buy property near a coast line (via a bank trust).

First time shoppers should look into multiple agents and compare the data they give you. If one is talking about excess fees and the other isn't, then you know something's fishy. No insight as to what or how, or if there is something fishy at all.

Consider renting first. In many places it can be inexpensive and will give you a feel of the land before you make a huge commitment. Consider places like Cancun where vacationers see a beautiful Caribbean beach in their all inclusive resorts and never consider what the rest of Cancun is like, then decide to move there. Nothing wrong with Cancun per se, but it gives you some day and night perspectives. Like going to Vegas and assuming everything off the strip is just like it is on the strip. A couple months of renting and you would know in either location.

All of this will be much easier if you learn Spanish too, as if you didn't already assume that. But often Spanish speakers get treated differently in many situations.

Now, as for the process itself, there are so many resources online that fully explain the process in detail. Here's one: http://www.mexonline.com/propmex.htm

But you should brush up on those details and still talk to a real estate agent to go over them with you and answer any questions. If they aren't familiar with foreign purchases, they probably haven't had to facilitate that yet and you may want to find one who has. Like any place, there will be no shortage of agents doing this.

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