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REAL ESTATE AND TIME-SHARES: U.S. citizens should be aware of the risks inherent in purchasing real estate in Mexico, and
should exercise extreme caution before entering into any form of commitment to invest in property there. Investors must recognize
the absolute need to obtain authoritative information and to hire competent Mexican legal counsel when contemplating any real
estate investment. Mexican laws and practices regarding real estate differ substantially from those in the United States.
Foreigners may be granted the right to own real property only under very specific conditions.
The Mexican Constitution prohibits direct ownership by foreigners of real estate within 100 kilometers (about 62 miles)
of any border, and within 50 kilometers (about 31 miles) of any coastline. In order to permit foreign investment in these
areas, the Mexican government has created a trust mechanism, in which a bank has title to the property, but a trust beneficiary
enjoys the benefits of ownership. However, whether investing through a trust mechanism in border and coastal areas or by outright
purchase in Mexico's interior, U.S. citizens are vulnerable to title challenges that may result in years of litigation and
possible eviction. Title insurance is virtually unknown and untested in Mexico. In addition, Mexican law recognizes squatters'
rights, so homeowners can spend thousands of dollars in legal fees and years of frustration in trying to remove squatters
who occupy their property.
American citizens also should exercise caution when considering time-share investments and be aware of the aggressive
tactics used by some time-share sales representatives. Buyers should be fully informed and take sufficient time to consider
their decisions before signing time-share contracts, ideally after consulting an independent attorney. They should resist
pressure to sign a contract the very day that they see the model unit. Mexican law allows time-share purchasers five days
to cancel the contract for unconditional and full reimbursement. U.S. citizens should never sign a contract that includes
clauses penalizing the buyer who cancels within five days.
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