The Roles of a Notary in a Real Estate Transaction in Mexico
If you are considering buying a property in Mexico, you have likely heard that you will need to hire a notary. However, many foreign buyers are surprised to find out just how much the notary does throughout real estate transactions here. As a neutral, government-appointed third-party, they help facilitate the entire sale while making sure everything is done correctly.
What is a Notary Public in Mexico?
A Notary Public in Mexico serves as a representative of the Mexican government who certifies important documents (business and civil). They are also responsible for managing and securely storing original legal records. It’s important to note that the office of the Notary Public carries a larger legal responsibility in Mexico than in the U.S. and many other countries. To be a notary in Mexico, you must meet the following requirements:
- Mexican citizen
- At least 35 years old
- Hold a law degree
- Three years of experience working at a Notary Public Office (Minimum)
- Pass a stringent exam
Individuals who meet all of these requirements and pass the exam will be appointed by the state Governor’s office.
In comparison, in the U.S., the requirements are much more lenient, generally only requiring a minimum age of 18, residence in the state, no criminal record, paying a fee, taking a single-day training course, and passing a state-administered exam.
What are the roles of a Notary Public in real estate transactions in Mexico?
When it comes to real estate transactions in Mexico, the Notary Public plays a key role. His or her responsibilities will include:
- Drafting legal documents.
- Certifying and processing all of the necessary papers.
- Attesting to the agreement of all involved parties by having them sign agreements.
- Ensuring that the proper documents and permits are in place.
- Advising the buyer of any legal problems or liabilities they may face with the purchase.
- Ensuring the legal title is successfully passed from the seller to the buyer.
- Providing neutral counsel to all parties involved in the transaction.
- Collecting and reporting the fees and taxes related to the transaction.
- Arranging an official land appraisal (in some cases)
- Recording documents in the Notarial Register Book and with the Public Registry
What documents are often required by the notary during a real estate transaction?
- Official government-issued IDs.
- Official land appraisal
- Property tax receipts
- Certified deed of the property
- Permit to purchase for foreigners
- Certificates showing all the bills are up-to-date
- Proof all mortgages are canceled
- Bank details
Note, this is not an exhaustive list. Once all of the documents are prepared, all involved parties will meet with the notary to sign the deed and transfer the ownership.
Fees and taxes
When the ownership is transferred, all fees and taxes will need to be paid in full so that the notary can close on your sale.
These generally include:
- Registry of property fee
- Public notary fee
- Property acquisition tax
- Fee Fideicomiso or trust
- Lawyers fees if applicable
- Agent’s fee (paid by seller)
- Capital gains tax (paid by seller)
- Foreign capital gains tax (paid by seller)
Unless otherwise noted, the above payments will be the responsibility of the buyer.
Note that these fees vary by location and depend on the details of the transaction.
How do you find a Notary in Mexico?
You can check the official website for Notary Publics in Mexico to find a Notary Public in the area where you plan to buy. Additionally, an experienced and well-established real estate agent will be able to refer you to the notary they recommend.
If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Cozumel, Mexico, I am happy to answer any and all questions you may have about the transaction– including those concerning a notary.
After over a decade helping people buy and sell their island homes, I have a strong relationship with all notaries on the island of Cozumel and I’m happy to inform you of all your options.