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Hasta la vista

Bob Price Large

Bob Price: A vacation home in Mexico wasn’t beyond my reach – and increasing numbers of Canadians are testing the waters south of south of the border.

Have you ever considered purchasing a vacation home in the sun belt? This is the time of year when thousands of Canadians flee the Great White North for the warm beaches and towns of Mexico. A growing number of Canadians have made the land of sombreros, tacos, and tiny dogs their home away from home.

As one of them, I’m often asked whether purchasing a vacation home in Mexico is difficult. The answer is no.

“It is a very protective document,” says Francine Goldberg, a long-time realtor in Manzanillo while explaining that foreigners purchasing property in Mexico within 50 kilometres of the sea or within 100 kilometres of the border are required to have a fideicomiso or beneficiary rights trust. “

The life of a trust is 50 years and can be renewed for a modest fee.

“With a fideicomiso, you have full rights of ownership…you can live in it, sell it, it really is quite simple,” says Goldberg, who has been selling real estate in Manzanillo for 36 years.

Unlike Canada and the United States, real estate transactions in Mexico are conducted nearly entirely through a notary instead of a lawyer.

“A notary in Mexico is a very prestigious appointment by the federal government and they have been appointed to conduct legal matters such as trusts, wills, and property transfers,” explains Goldberg.

Partners Don Allen and Paula Esselmont of Kamloops are currently considering the ownership plunge in Mexico.

“We happen to own a place in Phoenix, and the cost of being in America with the low Canadian dollar is making it prohibitive,” laments Allen.

They admit that interest in a Mexican condo is a bit sudden as a result of being impressed by Manzanillo.

“This is something new for us…we’ve come down back and forth to the point where we have now settled on Manzanillo as the best location in terms of lifestyle, warm ocean water and nice developments.”

Don and Paula’s affection for Mexico and their interest in establishing a part time residence in the country is nothing new to Goldberg.

Don and Paula do their homework.

“It’s a very easy lifestyle, the cost of living is very low in comparison to the United States and Canada…and we of course have beautiful weather and very friendly people.”

That said, Goldberg urges prospective buyers to be careful, as not all real estate agents in Mexico are licensed. That requirement is apparently in the works, but in the meantime, Goldberg cautions buyers to use common sense, just as they would at home:

“Don’t get involved with people who aren’t reputable…ask for references and make absolute sure that a notary is part of the process.”

Asked whether local property taxes can be a concern, Goldberg advises prospective purchasers that while generally very affordable, property taxation levels are subject to change.

“When you purchase property here, it is re-evaluated based on the selling price.”

As Don and Paula write the script for their own version of House Hunters International, Goldberg advises non-Mexicans considering buying a winter get-away to be flexible and to expect a different way of doing things.

“You can’t say that we do things this way in Canada or the United States and expect the same process here. You are in a foreign country and it’s very important to obey the laws and customs and be respectful. When you are respectful of the people here, they are very respectful to you.”

As always, I welcome your comments and criticism on Twitter @kammornanchor and email bob@theorca.ca.

Bob Price is a veteran B.C. broadcaster who anchored the morning news on CHNL radio in Kamloops for the past 30 years. Bob is also a past Webster Award winner whose previous stops included Vancouver and Calgary.