There are only so many Notarios in Mazatlán. Most real estate agents have one
or two Notarios with whom they usually deal. Unlike the U.S., closing is not
handled through a Title Company.
In order to obtain the trust deed, the Notario will:
Check the Land Registry Office to ensure the property is free and clear.
Additional checks are made for outstanding utility bills and municipal taxes.
Get a permit from the Minister of Foreign Affairs to establish the trust deed.
Put together all the documents for both the buyer and seller. The entire
process takes between 30 and 60 days.
Closing the deal: Closing was kind of interesting on our house. A couple
days after we agreed on a purchase price, the sellers, our real estate agent, and
my wife and I met in the office of a Notario. The five of us sat around a rec-
tangular table. Neither the sellers, a nice Mexican couple, nor the real estate
agent could speak English. My wife and I are not bilingual. The only one that
was bilingual was the Notario and he was only in the room for about two min-
utes. The initial contract had not been completed ahead of time and the office
employed the world's slowest word processor. After four and one-half agoniz-
ing hours in which we all sat across the table and smiled at each other, we final-
ly paid 10% of the agreed price, signed some contracts, (that were in Spanish)
and were on the road looking for a place to get a cold drink.
About six weeks later, I received a message from the real estate agent that the
final papers were completed and I would have to return to Mazatlán. I was also
told that I could use a power of attorney in place of my wife. This time I found
an interpreter to go with me to be sure what I signed was what I originally
agreed to. The sellers were not present at this meeting in the Notario's office. I
brought the balance of the agreed upon purchase price to the office. I paid the
closing costs, which included:
-A transfer tax of two percent of the assessed value of the home.
-A registration fee of .05% of the assessed value of the home.
-Fees for the tax certificate, title search fees and property appraisal, as well
as miscellaneous office expenses.
-The other cost was two percent of the assessed value of the property for
Notario fees. He wanted it paid right away, but when I found out that I would
not walk out of the office with a signed deed, I paid him half, with the prom-
ise that the other half would be paid upon receipt of the deed. He reluctantly
agreed, and it was a good thing because later I found out that a telephone bill
of about $300 U.S. was overdue and Telmex would not connect my phone until
the bill was cleared.
The Notario initially said that I would have to pay the bill because the con-
tract had been signed. When I told him that it was his job to check the utilities
M a z a t l a n I S P a r a d i s e