Interested in buying a home along the sapphire seas of Los Cabos? With its tropical vibe, warm temperatures, and rich culture, it’s not surprising to see Americans eyeing property in Mexico.
Los Cabos, which sits at the southern tip of Baja’s notorious peninsula, offers a wealth of inviting homes. Whether you’re looking to buy property on the outskirts of the Tourist Corridor or have your heart set on a beachside villa along the quiet shores of East Cape, buying luxury homes in Los Cabo is a worthy pursuit.
To help you understand the buying process, here are frequently asked questions that Americans often ask when buying a home south of the border:
Can Americans buy property in Mexico?
Yes, Americans can buy property in Mexico. However, if you want to buy near the coast or the border, you must buy the property through a trust with a Mexican bank known as a fideicomiso; a renewable 50-year land trust that comes with a yearly fee and is usually set up during the closing.
Yes. In fact, some foreigners who buy land inland and don’t need a fideicomiso, choose to use one anyway for its benefits. Advantages of this trust include:
- Simple transfer of control of the property
- More than one beneficiary can be listed on the trust
- You can name an heir
- With the trust, you can avoid inheritance tax
Can you buy a home without residency?
Foreigners must have an RFC, or Registro Federal de Contribuyentes, to make any transactions in Mexico.
The first step is to apply for temporary or permanent residency in Mexico. Once granted, you’ll also receive a CURP, which is Mexico’s equivalent to a social security number. With residency and a CURP, you can apply for the RFC.
This process can take some time, so if you’re serious about buying a home in Mexico, it’s best to get started right away.
What are the steps to buy a home in Mexico?
Whether you’re browsing luxury homes in Los Cabos or a quaint two-bedrooms in Tijuana, consider following these steps to find your dream home south of the border:
- 1) Make a list of priorities and features that you’re looking for
- 2) Conduct a cursory search online to see what’s available
- 3) Select a realtor that’s well-versed in the area you’d like to buy in
- 4) With the help of the realtor, make an offer on a home
- 5) Sign an initial sales agreement, which will be in Spanish and may require translation
- 6) Pay for the property
- 7) A fideicomiso is formed and you take possession of the property
- 8) Pay closing costs, taxes, and fees
- 9) The Public Registry issues the deed, known as an escritura
What does a notary do in the home-buying process?
In Mexico, a notary is an experienced lawyer and ensures that the transaction is completed lawfully. He or she will draw up and review the closing documents. Typically, your real estate agent suggests a notary to work with, but as a buyer, you can research and find one you’re comfortable with too.
How do closing costs work in Mexico?
The buyer is responsible for the closing costs, which can range between 4-6% of the purchase price. The notary will calculate these fees and explain them to you before any money is exchanged. A closing coordinator may be involved in this process too.
Can you finance a home as you do in the States?
Financing isn’t as plentiful in Mexico as it is in the States. You won’t find 30-year mortgages available, and the few options you do have are difficult to come by and usually include high-interest rates.
In some cases, developers offer financing, but only after a sizable amount, like 50%, of the home is paid for. As a result, most home sales in Mexico are cash sales.
How do property taxes work in Mexico compared to the U.S.?
There are property taxes in Mexico, but they’re often much lower than what you’d pay in the U.S. In Mexico, there are three types of property tax:
- Acquisition tax: 2% tax charged when you buy a home
- Annual property tax: Charged yearly, known as predial
- Capital gains tax: Charged when you sell a property
When it comes to annual property taxes, many Mexican states use a property’s assessed value, which is often lower than the property’s market value. As a result, taxes are lower.
What’s ejido land?
Ejido land is zoned for agriculture. Even if the land is no longer used for this purpose, once it’s zoned as such, it remains agricultural land for life.
Mexican citizens can buy the land, but not without permission from the farming community. For foreigners to own the land, it must be privatized, transferred to a Mexican citizen, and then sold to a foreigner. The process is known to take a long time and isn’t always successful. As a result, many foreigners stay away from ejido land.
A notary can tell you whether or not land is considered ejido land or not.
What amenities can you expect with a home?
Today’s buyers aren’t just looking for a place to rest and relax; they’re looking for a home that complements their lifestyle.
Certain upscale communities offer amenities that enrich your home purchase. Buying luxury homes in Los Cabos, like Casa Blake homes located in the heart of Marina Village at Costa Palmas, for example, gives you access to on-site dining and shopping along with an invitation to an exclusive golf club and beach and yacht club.
Are there properties available with a dock or marina?
Yes. As you might expect, the coastal shores of Mexico attract many boaters, sailors, and yacht owners. You can certainly find a property with a private dock, or you can buy a slip at a local marina.
If you’re looking for something more high-end, Four Seasons Private Residences offer luxury homes right near the marina. The recently-built marina has quickly become a port-of-call for affluent yacht owners, which can accommodate boats up to 250 feet long.
Want to learn more about buying luxury homes in Los Cabos? Explore the real estate options within Costa Palmas to see which one fits your needs and lifestyle.