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Fideicomisos: Unlocking Real Estate Opportunities in Mexico's Restricted Zones

Updated: 6 days ago

If you're looking for a place to experience a new culture, make a great investment, or simply enjoy some of the best beaches in the world, Mexico is the perfect destination.

However, non-citizens face certain restrictions when it comes to purchasing real estate in Mexico's restricted zones, which are areas located within 50 kilometers of the coastline and 100 kilometers of the country's borders. These areas are protected and administered by the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP)

Fortunately, non-citizens can use a fideicomiso to purchase property in these restricted zones.

Learn how fideicomisos work, why they are crucial for foreign buyers, and the step-by-step process of setting up a bank trust for your Mexican property investment.

What is a Fideicomiso

A fideicomiso is a real estate trust agreement created for the benefit of a foreign buyer that allows non-citizens to hold the property title in Mexico's restricted zones. This trust is established between the non-citizen buyer and a Mexican bank acting as the trustee. The trustee holds legal title to the property, while the non-citizen buyer is the beneficiary of the trust and has all the rights and privileges of ownership.

The buyer can be a person, a husband and wife or family, any group of people, or a stateside limited liability company, or LLC. This buyer/beneficiary will receive all the rights that go with the property

How to Set Up a Fideicomiso in Mexico

The process of setting up a mexico fideicomiso is straightforward. The non-citizen buyer must first choose a Mexican bank to act as the trustee. The buyer then provides the bank with the necessary documentation, including a deed to the property, a permit to acquire property in the restricted zone, and proof of payment of the required fees and taxes. Once the bank has completed the necessary paperwork and established the trust, the non-citizen buyer is free to use and enjoy the property as they wish.

Costs Associated with a Fideicomiso

It's important to note that the fideicomiso arrangement involves some additional costs, including annual and trust administration fees. However, these costs are typically modest and are outweighed by the benefits of owning property in Mexico's restricted zones.

The current cost of setting up a fideicomiso in Mexico is about $3,500 – $5,000, and the annual fee charged after the second year is currently about $600 – $1000. This covers the government fideicomiso permit fee, bank set-up fee, and one year’s fee. Charges may vary from bank to bank, and the annual maintenance fee depends on the value of the property.

Fideicomiso Renewal process

The trust agreement can be established for up to 50 years and can be renewed for an additional 50-year period.

When the term expires for those trusts created under Articles 18 and 19 of the Law, the Secretary of Foreign Relations will expedite, under the terms of the same laws, new permits requested for the same properties located in the restricted zone.

Benefits of a Fideicomiso

  • Non-citizens can own property in Mexico's restricted zones.

  • The trust agreement can be established for up to 50 years and can be renewed for an additional 50-year period.

  • The non-citizen beneficiary can use, sell, or transfer the property as they see fit.

  • The fideicomiso arrangement is a safe and legal way for non-citizens to own property in Mexico's restricted zones.

  • The process of setting up a fideicomiso is straightforward.

Downsides of a Fideicomiso

  • The fideicomiso arrangement involves some additional costs, including annual and trust administration fees.

  • The bank acts as the trustee and holds legal title to the property, which may be a concern for some buyers.

  • The trust agreement is for a limited period of time and must be renewed.

In conclusion, a fideicomiso is an excellent option for non-citizens who want to purchase real estate in Mexico's restricted zones. With a fideicomiso, non-citizens can enjoy all the benefits of property ownership in Mexico while complying with Mexican law.

By working with a reputable Mexican bank and following the necessary steps, non-citizens can own property in this beautiful country and enjoy its unique culture, stunning beaches, and warm hospitality.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is a fideicomiso similar to a lease?

No, a fideicomiso is different from a lease. A lease grants temporary use of a property for a set period. In contrast, a fideicomiso grants you beneficiary rights to the property, essentially like ownership, for a term of 50 years with the possibility of indefinite renewals.

2. Does bank size matter when choosing a fideicomiso provider?

Not necessarily. While large banks offer fideicomiso services, smaller institutions might provide more personalized attention since fideicomisos may not be a major focus for larger banks. Consider both factors and consult a lawyer for recommendations.

3. How much does a fideicomiso cost?

Fees for setting up and maintaining a fideicomiso can vary between banks. Be sure to request quotes to compare pricing.

4. What happens if the bank holding my fideicomiso goes bankrupt?

Your property remains yours even if the bank encounters financial difficulties. In such a scenario, your fideicomiso would be transferred to another bank, ensuring continued protection of your rights.

5. Are property taxes included in my annual fideicomiso fee?

No. Property taxes are separate from fideicomiso fees. The municipality collects property taxes, while the bank you choose charges fideicomiso fees.

6. Will I be notified about my annual fideicomiso fee?

Banks typically don't send automatic reminders or invoices for annual fees. It's your responsibility to remember the due date, which usually falls on the anniversary of your property closing. Contact your bank to get your fideicomiso account number for payments.

7. What are the consequences of missing a fideicomiso fee payment?

Missing annual payments won't result in property loss, but you will incur late fees and interest. Any outstanding balance must be settled before selling your property.

8. How can I pay my annual fideicomiso fee?

Payments can be made directly at the bank holding your fideicomiso or via wire transfer (instructions available from your bank).

9. How can I pay my fideicomiso fee if I don't live in Mexico?

If you don't live in Mexico full-time, explore online or wire transfer options with your bank. Alternatively, you can authorize a property manager, accountant, or lawyer to make these payments on your behalf. Always obtain and keep documentation of these transactions.

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