The Home Ownership Process In Baja
The process in Mexico is different – in a great way
Your offer was accepted! Owning a home in Baja was not only a dream of yours, but a well-researched retirement strategy too. But even with all the information you have gathered about ownership in Mexico, you might have been unprepared for how different –and convenient, the process is here. From property taxes to the way the Bank Trust is set, everything works favorably for the homeowner and makes for an easy inheritance process too.
Heirs and beneficiaries
While filling out paperwork for a Bank Trust, one question probably struck you as odd: Beneficiary? Why do I need a beneficiary? It comes as a pleasant surprise to many Americans to know that in Mexico there is no Inheritance Tax (or “Death Tax”, as it´s known in the U.S.). Here, your beneficiaries are written into the Trust. In the event of your passing away, the Trust is transferred straight to these beneficiaries. Your U.S. Last Will and Testament does not have jurisdiction on properties located in Mexico.
In the case of a married couple with both on title, there is a right of survivor-ship, where the property will go to the surviving spouse. If both of you passed away, the property goes to your second beneficiary. The process is very simple for the heirs. A Mexican Notary can help through the paperwork (remember, these Mexican “Notarios” are government appointed attorneys, and all legal transactions must be signed in front of them.) Be aware that the Notary is also responsible for transferring title from one person to another.
If you have owned your home for some years, I recommend to check the Trust and make sure beneficiaries have been appointed. Then, save the deed in a safe place and let your heirs know where it is.
It is important to be aware of Closing Costs for acquiring property in México, and to get an estimate before you go into any sale contract. Your foreign ownership permits, bank fess, and numerous other smallish fees can catch you off guard.
A savvy real-estate agent will explain all the fees involved, and how even if it now feels like it´s adding up, the low cost of property taxes and homeowners insurance more than makes up for the initial expense –and is among the reasons why buying a home in Baja is such a good investment.
Here is what you need to know:
- The Closing transaction itself can cost up to 6% percent of the property value. It is usually paid by the buyer
- There is a 2% percent real-estate Transfer Tax
- The Notary fee should be between 1.5 to 2% percent of the property value
- If you are buying using owner financing, the closing costs go up, due to the need to record the lien for the loan
A detail usually left to the last minute is obtaining the tourist Visa, known as the FMM. This is important, since you cannot sign your title without it. But why do you need it? Well, this proves you are in the country legally. It is also the first step towards acquiring your permanent residence card.
All in all, there is a lot of information to take in. Still, your initial assessment is right. Living in Baja is a smart financial move, and a dream come true.
From the Baja Real Estate Group Marketing Staff. For more information, please contact Kathy Katz at Kathy.katz@BajaREgroup.com.
About Kathy Katz.
AMPI Charter Member-Rosarito Chapter Mexican Certified Baja Real Estate Agent Full Time Resident for over 20 years. Broker-owner for the Baja Real Estate Group with over 20 years of experience doing business in Mexico. Specializing in development, resort and retirement properties.