Mexico Real Estate

mexico-constructionMark Raven and Chris McDonagh have substantial experience serving their clients’ needs with respect to Mexico real estate*, including:

  • Commercial and residential real estate purchases and sales
  • Ownership entities and joint ventures
  • Financing for Mexican commercial and residential real estate
  • Real estate development
  • Marinas
  • Due diligence and title insurance
  • U.S.-based escrow agreements

For non-Mexicans, the ownership of interests in Mexican real estate often has legal and/or tax implications in the owner’s country of citizenship or residence, not just in Mexico. Our firm has extensive experience addressing the various legal and practical cross-border issues that confront U.S. owners of Mexican real estate, whether they be buyers and sellers of individual residential properties, commercial properties or developers.

Mr. Raven has handled over 150 transactions involving Mexican real estate, ranging from individual residential purchases and sales to serving as developer’s counsel in connection with large-scale commercial real estate projects.  Mr. Raven is fluent in Spanish and over the past fifteen years has traveled extensively to Mexico City, Baja California Sur and Sonora to negotiate and close real estate and business deals. He is a member of the Bi-National Board of Directors of the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce and Secretary of the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade. Mr. Raven has extensive experience working with companies and individuals with respect to real estate and economic development in Mexico, and has collaborated closely with Mexican local, state and federal government agencies in public-private partnerships and other collaborative efforts involving the Mexican government.

Mr. McDonagh‘s practice has included Mexican real estate transactions since 2004, when he obtained a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree in International Trade Law from The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. Mr. McDonagh’s LL.M. thesis analyzed legal issues regarding mortgage loans by U.S. lenders secured by Mexican real property and the securitization of such mortgages.  He is a member of the Financial, Business and Legal Services Committee of the Arizona-Mexico Commission.

Our firm’s role in Mexican real estate transactions is to act as general counsel, directly providing the services that we provide best and coordinating with other team members for the remaining aspects of the transaction. Our firm’s lawyers are not licensed to practice Mexican law, nor do we provide tax advice. We work closely with Mexican lawyers and Notaries (notarios públicos) and U.S. and Mexican tax professionals to protect our clients’ interests with respect to Mexican real estate. These team members review, prepare and file Mexican legal documents and U.S. and Mexican tax filings, and advise on Mexican legal issues and U.S. and Mexican tax issues. We have a network of trusted professionals with whom we have worked and are always glad to work with our clients’ lawyers and tax professionals.

There are several reasons why we think it is advisable for U.S. citizens and residents to start the process of a Mexican real estate transaction with our firm. These generally fall in two categories: (1) the need to address U.S. legal and tax issues, and (2) the advisability of including U.S.-style transaction protections and procedures.

U.S. legal and tax issues

Even though the property is in Mexico, U.S. individuals, companies and real estate brokers/agents that buy, sell, own, develop or finance Mexican real estate will need to address, or at least consider, certain issues involving U.S. law. These include liability protection, co-ownership issues, disposition/probate, tax, buyers’ rights, investors and securities laws, and financing laws and regulations.

U.S.-style transaction protections and procedures

Real estate transaction procedures in Mexico often do not contain certain protections for the parties (especially buyers) that are more common or even standard procedure in the U.S. These include, for example, (1) trusted, neutral escrow against whom there is legal and practical recourse, (2) due diligence contingency periods, (3) title opinion or title insurance, (4) delivery of title at closing or upon payment of the purchase price. If no problem arises either pre- or post-closing, then one can say in hindsight that these protections were not necessary. Unfortunately, problems do arise in some transactions, and it is tragic when a significant loss results that could have been avoided by building protections into the transaction process. Sometimes this occurs even when the transaction has been processed by a Notario. Often Mexican real estate professionals, lawyers, Notarios and sellers will not advise the parties (especially buyers) of the availability of some or all of these protections, or may advise that such protections are not needed when we would say they are needed.

Our role is to advise our clients of ways in which the transaction can be structured and certain procedures and protections included to help minimize risk and accomplish their goals. Mark Raven and Chris McDonagh are experienced with using reputable U.S.-based escrow and title companies to provide escrow services and title insurance for Mexican real estate transactions. We are also experienced in structuring, negotiating and confirming compliance with the overall transaction, escrow agreements, and payment and closing procedures to protect our clients.

* Although the firm’s lawyers are not admitted to practice in Mexico, they work closely with Mexican lawyers and Notaries (notarios públicos) to protect their clients’ interests with respect to Mexican legal issues and transactions.

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