Everything you need to know about buying and selling real estate in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta, and the Banderas Bay region

My Letter to You

Becoming an Expat in Mexico

Hi, I am Harriet Murray from Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, México. PV has been my home for 23 years. It was not a planned stay….. I had come to Vallarta for a week in September for almost 10 years before the fateful extra trip in 1996. It occurred to me this time, since I was alone and not distracted by other friends, what would happen if I decided to stay and live, for the first time in my life, outside the USA.  My friends thought I was either crazy, or I would change my mind and not stay any longer than a few more weeks.

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Moving to Mexico

Adjusting to Life in a New Country

If you are living here in Mexico for several months or longer, you will most likely experience at some point a degree of culture shock. Many times, a very simple experience or interchange with a national, can throw you into alienation, confusion, or surprise from encountering unfamiliar surroundings.  This is a normal reaction. You can overcome the feeling by practicing patience and keeping a sense of humor.  You will find that getting enough rest and physically adjusting to the climate goes a long way in your mental attitude in adapting to a different culture and your ability to cope.

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Terms You Need to Know

Mexican Real Estate Definitions

Ejido:  Farming land owned by a legal entity, or group called the Ejido. Collective land that can now be privatized.  Foreigners cannot acquire rights to Ejido property.  Through a proper process, the Ejido can sell to a Mexican individual. The Mexican can then sell to a foreigner.

FM3: Foreign Immigration Visa for Foreigners. Issued for retirement or work purposes to non- Mexicans. Persons with FM3’s can stay within Mexico longer than the tourist visa permits. This document establishes residency and is renewable every year.

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Buying Property in Mexico

What You Need to Know About Escrow

Escrow as we know it in the US and Canada is not required in Mexico. The choice to use escrow is negotiated between buyer and seller.  Using a third party to hold funds is what most Americans and Canadians believe is the proper way to purchase or sell a property. A Mexican has a different experience.  A third-party holding purchase funds is a risk, to a national.  His experience is the opposite: If a buyer wants to purchase a property, he gives the seller a deposit, directly.  When the buyer has all his funds, two parties go to the notary and the deed is signed. Many times, there is no mortgage or trust, so what funds the buyer needs to pay, are paid directly to the seller with no third-party escrow.

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