What to know about buying in Mexico
Mexican real estate ownership is controlled on the state level. However, there are areas where the federal government becomes involved, especially in ecological protection, i.e. wetlands, and the federal zone, which encompasses a strip of coastal land twenty meters (66 feet) above the high tide level, where building activities, such as a pier, require special permits. Additionally, almost the entire state of Quintana Roo falls within what is commonly called the restricted zone, land located within 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the border or 50 kilometers (31 miles) along the coast.
In most cases,foreign individuals obtain ownership of real estate located within Mariposa Estates through a corporation. A commonly held myth is that the Mexicans want to maintain control of the best parts for themselves. In reality, the prohibition is based on strong historical grounds relating to the loss of half its territory and several invasions on the part of its neighbor to the north.
Though land tenancy tends to be comparable among the Mexican states, tracing land titles in Quintana Roo, because of its history, can be complicated. That is because prior to 1974 it was a Federal Territory; in 1974 it became a state,
However, because Quintana Roo was, until recently, an under-developed region, the Mexican government made it easy to create a foreign corporation for the purpose of acquiring real estate; this process is easier than in other states. Forming a corporation in Mexico is not difficult.
With the advent of closer economic ties between the US and Mexico, foreign purchase of real estate has become common practice in Mexico. Though excluded from freehold ownership within the restricted zone, foreigners can still enjoy the benefits of real estate ownership through a sociedad (Mexican corporation).
Land ownership in Mariposa Estates is possible through the establishment of a sociedad (a Mexican corporation). A foreign corporation in Mexico requires two or more individual investors, none of whom must be Mexican, who control 100% of the corporation. There are, however, exceptions to this rule with regard to certain specific industries, such as the oil industry, radio and television and fisheries, where foreign participation is restricted. Through a corporation, foreign owners acquire the right of domain, in addition to possession and benefit. In other words, the foreign corporation owns the property with same rights as if it were a Mexican entity.
There are instances when forming a corporation is obligatory. For a foreigner to have a business in Mexico, they must establish a Mexican corporation. Foreign individuals, [in Spanish: personas fisicas], cannot operate a business in Mexico unless they are incorporated. If the property you wish to purchase is a business, i.e. hotel, apartment complex, retail space, etc. you must incorporate. Additionally, if the property lends itself to potential business activities, for example, a large tract of coastal land, the authorities will require incorporation. And within a specified period of time, the business must be up and running.