Owning Property Problems

There are at least 1 million foreigners now living in Mexico, and there might be twice that many. Some stay for years, others go back and forth. Many rent and many more purchase their property in the restricted zone (31 miles from the coast, 62 miles from the border) via a fideicomiso – a bank trust where the bank is the actual title holder and the foreigner is the beneficiary who can buy, sell or build on the property. And there is sometimes the option of leasing land and building on it for up to 10 years and is renewable.

Every few years we hear of something going sideways, usually in northern Baja, and it is happening again in a place called Cantamar about 35 miles south of Tijuana on the coast. You can research the details online, but the bottom line is that people should not invest their money on leased land. Often there has not been a proper title search on the property and legal ownership is in dispute. Or it is found that it is “ejido” land. Or the developers flake out after banking down payments (just ask the people who lost their money on the Trump-endorsed project south of TJ a few years back).

The best advice is never throw your money into a leased land deal. I know it always sounds like such a great opportunity, but if you lose all your money you won’t get it back. You have to understand that Mexico has different laws and they don’t usually protect the interests of non-citizens. That’s just the way it is.

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