What documents should you request when buying a property?


June 24, 2020

Buying a property is a whole process. Begin by finding the ideal opportunity, analyze the area and the amenities, wait until the bank loan is approved - in case you have requested a loan or find an ideal lawyer who can help you review each line of your contract.

There is no doubt that this might seem a long process, that doing it for the first time and by your own, can become a tedious and exhausting experience for you. Fortunately, more and more real estate agents help their clients in this process and provide them with an accompaniment to guide them in the purchase-sale so that they know what to expect in this inter and what documents you must take to be able to do it faster, effective and satisfactorily.

In fact, it is very common that these processes are more agile and easier, especially when the property you are buying is new and does not have a previous owner, nor with previous debts. It can be a guarantee for you that your acquisition process will be quieter and sooner.

However, buying a house does not always involve having a direct relationship with a real estate agent.

That is why, one of the aspects that we must take care of is the legal part.

From having an adequate lawyer -or notary- to check that each of the property payments is up to date, the legal aspect of purchase-sale a property at the end is a guarantee for you, so you can feel comfortable with your purchase and your investment is protected.

Many beginner investors are afraid of the legal aspect when buying a property, not to mention if they are millennials who prefer digital treatment; the technicalities, the comings, and goings to get the papers and other necessary documents, as well as the waiting time that takes each of the procedures, this can scare a beginner buyer and make him believe that the process is more difficult than really is.

 What papers should you request when buying a property?
Buying a property is an investment that you need to insure. Checking that all papers are in order is an important part of the process, do not underestimate it.

What documents should you request when buying a property?

Acquiring a property requires planning, but it should not be something that takes away your sleep or worries you.

Before we review the documents you need to ask when buying a property it is important that we talk about the presence of the notary in this process.

In everything you need to know before buying a property in Mexico, we mention that the notary is the person qualified to give a legal seal to your purchase. It is very important that you have one since the lawyer can write the sale contracts, but the notary attesting to its good faith and legality.

There are services and notary offices where they help you to carry out all this process, they can even do all the writing of the sale purchase for you. This decision will depend on you and your needs. If you plan to buy a house that already has one or more owners, the process of finding the deeds may be more difficult for you. Or if there are any problems such as that the deeds are in the name of two or more people, to tell some examples.

With the help of a notary, you can check that there are no conditions that in the long run will harm you - such as these impediments - and you can guarantee the security of your purchase.

Official identification

The first step, no matter how simple it may seem, is to ask for the official identification of the people who are selling the property. The seller may be the sole owner but it may also be a property that he acquired together with his wife or partner through the joint property. In this case, it is necessary to ask for the identification of both and the marriage certificate.

Also, you may be acquiring the property from a mercantile company, in this case, you will need an identification of the representative of the company -who is registered as the legal representatives.

Likewise, it is important that you agree to give your own official identification.

Title of the property

The title of the property is a document that guarantees ownership of a property to a subject. Unlike a deed, the title of the property is a step to carry out the deed (ie the change of the owner). The property title is a document that guarantees the ownership of the property and we could say that it is a "copy" of the deed. In this document, we can verify and endorse who is the owner of the property, also it allows you to know if it's registered in the Public Registry of Property.

  • Some of the updated aspects that you should include in the document are:
  • Name of the owner.
  • The exact location of the property with the measurements in square meters.
  • Regime and date on which the property was acquired.
  • Name and signature of the notary who processed it.
  • Date and notary's office in which the title was processed

It is important that the property title information is up-to-date and that it is in the Public Registry of Property. Otherwise, you will not know if the person who is selling the property is the real owner.

When the whole process of purchase-sale is finished, it is very important that the owner change is made in the Public Registry of Property, since this is a protection for you, in case of suffering a scam, this record (as well as the title) is a guarantee against third parties that you are the legitimate owner of the property.

All this process can be done by the notary.

 What papers should you request when buying a property?
It is important to verify that the property does not have any debt, for this the Freedom of Lien certificates are requested, as well as the vouchers of payment of electricity and water services also the property tax payment of the last 5 years.

Certificate of Freedom of Lien

As well as the title of the property, the certificate of freedom of lien is a document that helps you to verify that the property does not have any debts. It is also a security for you since otherwise, you could be acquiring a property that is not even in good condition to be acquired.

This document lasts 20 years and you can request it at the Public Registry of Property, although it is very important to verify that all documents are updated to ensure the accuracy of the purchase and avoid any type of scam.

To request it is necessary to give the name of the owner, the address and the folio of the property -with which it was registered in the Public Registry of Property-. Otherwise, there may be problems such as that the property does not appear in the registry and you are denied the certificate, even if the property does exist and is free of debts.

Payment of “predial” and services of the last 5 years

As the Certificate of Freedom of Lien, it is important that you demand proof of payment for the last 5 years of services such as water and electricity, as well as the payment of the ”predial” tax.

The “predial” is a tax paid by the owner of a property, regardless of the type that it is –as residential or industrial-. This is calculated according to the size, location, and type of the property, as well as its age. This tax is used by the municipality to pay for local services such as lighting and paving.

That is why, at the time of acquiring a property check that all payments of the property - water and electricity - are up to date, because if you do not, you would be acquiring a property with debts and you would have to pay all those debts. This can damage your budget.

Credit release letter

In case the property has been acquired through a credit or if a mortgage was paid, it is necessary that you request the letter of the release of this, because without it you will not be able to verify that the property is free of debt or that it is property of the owner and not an institution that can seize it at any time.

What is my next step when buying a property?

Now that you have the documents, it is important that all the information is verified. In some processes such as property title, it is possible to do it right away. For example, if the notary goes to the Public Registry of Property and ask for the title of the property you intend to buy -or sell-, if you do not find the property registered or the names of the owners of the property do not match, you can begin this verification process, to see if there was no error in the folios or if the purchase is really safe.

Banner of real estate developments in Playa del Carmen.

Remember that the sale has to be done in the presence of the notary. Even when there are no real estate agents as intermediaries, the notary needs to be present to give good faith and legality to that acquisition. It has to be a registered notary because a lawyer does not have that authority to legitimize the deed or signature of the deeds, even if he has a lot of experience and even if he has written the documents of the sale.

Of course, this whole process depends a lot on the type of property you choose. We have already explained to you that it is not the same to buy investment land, buy a house in presale or try to buy a house that is already 20 years old. In our definitive guide for the real estate investor, we explain these differences to you, as well as other factors that you should consider when buying a property, but we also give you some tips of the elements that you should have in your contract if you are thinking of renting your property to a third person.

In the end, buying a property is an investment for you and your family and also to grow your savings or to obtain income from the rental of the property. Secure your investment in taking care of the legal aspect in this process to avoid complications in the future and start enjoying your property without any problem.

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