Think buying a house is scary?
Try buying a house in a foreign country. Legal documents in any country are horrible, but sorting through the billions of pages in a foreign language is agonizing. Lucky for us, the house we bought was on the market through Prudential, which made me feel more at ease. I was damned to be the gringa who had the story of loosing everything when I tried to buy a house in Mexico. Although, we did; for just a brief week, have nearly 100,000 US dollars go astray. Let me be clear, by my definition of brief in regards to this passing event; rotting in eternal hell would of felt like a short two day weekend on a lush tropical island. It was torture. Each moment I was not checking my bank accounts online or calling a cheery Bank of America employee to try and track the money, I was envisioning my life of mortgage payments on my new Mexican home...that I never bought, because the flippin; money went AWOL! The money eventually appeared when the Mexican Central Bank decided they had collected enough interest off of our measly little transfer; oh, and when the exchange rate was no longer in our favor.
We picked up our deed to our house yesterday. It is official! The two people whom I never imagined having the 'cahones' to purchase anything alluding to the idea of commitment, own a home. Which always brings about one of two questions: "So you are going to be in Mexico forever"? Our answer; 'there's no telling'. The house was purchased as a way to invest money. We just signed contracts to come back and teach for the 2014-2015 school year, so it is our plan to be here another year.
"I thought foreigners couldn't own land in Mexico" is the subsequent question. [Pause for a short Mexico history lesson, Jen Farrell Style]....back in the day, it was seen as perilous to allow foreigners to establish themselves along the coasts and borders of Mexico. So, the Mexican government made a constitutional amendment prohibiting non-Mexicans from owning land within 50 kilometers of the coast and 100 kilometers of the nation's borders. For the peeps who are metrically deprived...that is 31 miles from the sea and 62 miles from the borders. At some point, the government woke up and realized money could be made by allowing foreigners to purchase land. A 'fideicomiso'; a trust, is now used as a way for foreigners to invest in property in the restricted zones. It is a loophole in the constitution allowing for ownership of the property in all but name. Meaning, I own the property, but it shows up as the banks to 'hide' the fact that a foreigner owns in the restricted zone. It is my property to sell and do as I please. In fact, the trust legally gives the property to my mom and Sam's parents if something were to happen to both of us. Currently, the Congress' lower house passed to change this constitutional amendment and is awaiting approval from the Senate and all 32 state legislatures for the law to pass.
So, to answer your question. Yes, you can own property in Mexico.
Now, if we can just figure out why we have had electricity for 3 months, but nobody at the electrical company has a record of the account we set up.