What is the Mexican Property Public Registry?


June 24, 2020

Investing in real estate has more benefits than investing in the stock market or opening a savings account.

Apartments, houses or even investment lots are part of the real estate offer that can help you secure your future and your money. Although real estate is one of the 5 safest investments you can make in your life, there is a possibility that you may be the victim of fraud.

But there is no reason to panic: real estate fraud can be avoided. 

Learn what is the Mexican Public Property Registry and why it is essential in real estate transactions.

What is the Public Property Registry?

In Mexico, the Public Property Registry is a public office that, as the name suggests, serves to provide legal certainty in real estate transactions. Also, the Public Property Registry can help you to know the legal status of a property, a fundamental step to secure your assets and avoid fraud.

Every State of Mexico has its own Public Property Registry. Although these offices serve the same purpose, each of them are ruled by the law and requirements of every State.

It is very important that you know the requirements in the Public Registry of Property of the State where you plan to acquire a property.

You don't necessarily have to do it yourself. As mentioned in ‘What documents should you ask for when buying a property?’, it is important to use a notary in a real estate transaction. In addition to give certainty to the transaction, the notary can go the Public Property Registry to know the status of the residence you want to buy.

Before acquiring a property, you need to check the public records of the property such as the name of the owner or if it is mortgaged.

How does the Public Property Registry work?

If you are in the process of buying or selling real estate, it is likely that you already know that one of the functions performed by the Public Property Registry is to advertise properties.

This can be confusing, especially because advertising is understood as all efforts to promote a product or service on television, radio or social media.

What is the Mexican Property Public Registry?
A notary will help you with your real estate transaction. In addition to give certainty to the transaction, the notary can go the Public Property Registry to know the status of a property.

In this case, advertising is a notification about an activity or fact from a natural or juridical person. And this type of notification -through the legal processes to register a property- is the one that can be consulted to know about the current legal status of a house, apartment, etc.

Thus, the Public Property Registry serves to give legal certainty and advertising to the property.

As you know, every State is ruled by specifics codes and rules. However, the Public Property Registry is responsible for the following actions:

  • Encumbrances
  • Leases
  • Mortgages
  • Acquisitions
  • Civil societies and associations.
  • Holographic Wills - those entirely handwritten -

In addition, in the Public Property Registry have the file notary documents and cadastre.

How to register my house in the Public Property Registry?

As mentioned before, the presence of a notary in a real estate transaction is essential. For example, one of the main concerns of buyers is the entire legal process that involves acquiring or buying a property in Mexico.

Although a notary can follow these processes for you, some of the process relating the property title are available online.

You can check property records in real time. In Yucatan it is possible to consult the records from March 2007 to date. A PDF reader will be required to open the records.

The service can help you if you want to know the current status of the property you want to buy and will let you know if there are more people trying to register the same property, which may be evidence of fraud.

To make a consultation, all you need is the address, cadastral area or the folio number of the property.

You also need to consider that some consultation -such as Freedom of Encumbrance- are not free of charge.

What is the Mexican Property Public Registry?
A notary can follow  for the legal process for you. There are notary offices that provide these services and have experience about real estate transactions, procedures and waiting time.

What documents do I need to register my house or property in the Public Property Registry?

The first thing to do is a registration request. It can be made on the Public Property Registry official website.

Then you have two options. If the house or apartment is registered by the previous owner, you will need the sale contract to change the property ownership. The second option is to present the notarized property title. It is important that in both cases you present a copy certified and signed by your notary.

Other documents that you need when registering your property are:

  • Encumbrance Certificate.
  • Property tax bills.
  • Property valuation.
  • Taxes on rental income and on the real estate acquisition.
  • Payment form: this varies depending on the type of property you want to register.
  • Official identity card with photo and copies of it.
  • Appointment: Scheduled by your legal representative or notary.

Remember that before making the request you need to pay for the procedure, otherwise it will be canceled.

If the registration is successful, you will receive the documents that certificate the property ownership within 20 days.

Banner of real estate developments in Merida.

The Public Property Registry can help you avoid fraud

As mentioned several times, the Mexican Public Property Registry provides legal certainty to your property. Trusted real estate agencies can help you to follow the registration process, which can be complicated if you do not live in the State where you are buying a property.

Following the registration process is important to ensure your property ownership, so you will also be acquiring the rights and obligations - such as paying taxes and services. Consulting the property records is a way to prevent fraud.

The Mexican Public Property Registry has made certain procedures more accessible for citizens in order to facilitate real estate transactions and prevent scams. So if you do not live in Mexico, real estate agents can follow this process for you. At the same time, expat communities in Mexico can help you by sharing their experiences or by recommending someone who has helped them during the acquisition of their property.

Buy a property in Mexico

Investing in real estate in Mexico can be more beneficial for foreign investors: real estate in locations with high surplus value is more affordable, the cost of living is low and the quality of life is higher.

Expatriates from Europe, Canada or the United States wonder how much money do you need to retire in Mexico? Foreigns consider that there are more and better opportunities to live a better and quieter life in cities like Merida or Tulum.

Living expenses are usually reduced if you own a property. This is why many expats are investing in real estate for retirement, since a house or an apartment can be listed as rental property before the owners retire or when they spend time in their countries. For example, Canadians living in Mexico usually inhabit their residences during certain seasons, so they list their properties when they are visiting their friends or family in Canada. That is also an opportunity to generate extra income for your retirement.

As you know, one of the reasons to invest in Mexico is the tourism flow in areas such as the Riviera Maya in Quintana Roo. Thanks to tourism, foreign investors in Mexico is growing every year.

In 2018, the Riviera Maya became the second tourist destination in Mexico. This year, Merida was chosen as the best small city to visit outside the United States.

Playa del Carmen - part of the Riviera Maya - is a popular town for retirees who want to improve their quality of life in one of the best cities for nightlife in Mexico. The proximity to places like Tulum and Akumal, has made Playa del Carmen the best town to live adventures.

Regardless of your reasons to buy a property, real estate investment will ensure your money and your future. The capital gain of your property will be benefiting if you decide to rent or sell it, so buying a property in Mexico must be a hundred percent transparent process.

In the end, the Mexican Public Property Registry is a public institution that is there to help you, so do not be afraid of the procedures, they will secure your investment, so you can live without worries.

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