Legal Information

Title Insurance

  • Competent parties- This is usually defined as "being of legal age and sound mind." In Mexico another factor comes into play--language. A person who doesnt understand Spanish, the legal language of the country, no matter how mature or intelligent, is not competent in any practical sense. Therefore, the contract must be translated into English.
  • Lawful Objective- This means that contracts can be voided if it is discovered that the intent has been to set up a drug business, a house of prostitution, or some other illegal operation. If one doesnt own a property, it cant be lawful to try to sell it.
  • Offer and Acceptance- This means that a contract must be signed by both parties. It must also have a date when it takes effect and must specify the place where it is signed.
  • Legal Description- Legal descriptions can take several different forms--metes and bounds, lot and block, government survey--but the key is that the property must be readily identifiable.
  • Consideration- Consideration accompanies a contract as an evidence of good faith. It usually means money, although it can take the form of a promissory note, another piece of property, an item of value like a car or boat, or even such an intangible as "love and affection."

Title insurance

Purchasers of Mexican real property can now receive Owners Policies of Title Insurance that can be issued on both sides of the border from various companies to both U.S. and Mexican buyers. Most title insurance policies today are U.S. contracts of indemnity guaranteeing ownership rights as vested in a fideicomiso (bank trust) for residential property acquired by foreign buyers in the prohibited zone, or for properties held in a Mexican corporation for non-residential purposes (i.e. industrial and commercial). Mexico is not unlike the U.S. in that there is a definitive legal framework for ownership of land by foreigners known as the New Foreign Investment Law (Dec. 28, 1993) and as mandated under Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution. In addition, there is formality and compliance in the development of real property. Regulatory statutes and procedures are mandated on a state-by-state basis and require a series of official approvals, permits, and authorizations, coupled with public disclosure and written notification by the governing public agency.

American title Insurance is available for Mexican real estate whether acquired directly or through a trust. The cost of the insurance depends on whether the property you are purchasing is covered by a master title commitment. The best way to protect yourself is to get title insurance. Most Mexican companies dont sell it, but Houston based Stewart title Guaranty, Lawyers Title, and Fidelity National Financial does. The insurance runs about $4 to $7 for every $1,000 of property value, versus $3 to $4 in most of the U.S. In addition to title insurance, property insurance is also available in Mexico and the rates are relatively low. we recommend 1st American Title Insurance.

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