The path to home ownership in San Miguel de Allende is not the same for everyone. My husband and I moved to San Miguel de Allende 3 years ago and like many others, we had a dream of owning a home. The challenge for us was we weren’t finding what we wanted available on the market. There were plenty of beautiful homes for sale, but finding the right combination of a home we loved, location, and a price we could afford was proving really difficult. Then one day while reading the local English newspaper I spotted an ad for a generous sized lot at a price I knew was below market for the neighborhood. We called on the lot, a professional realtor gave a tour, and a week later we made an offer and bought the land.
Buying San Miguel de Allende real estate for sale is basically the same process whether you are buying land or a house. Once you’ve found a property that you like, you make a written offer through your realtor to the seller. If the seller accepts your offer a buy/sell contract is created that both parties sign. Once the buy/sell contract is signed the buyer is expected to deposit 10% of the purchase price into an escrow account, and the remainder needs to be deposited at closing.
As a foreigner buying real estate in San Miguel de Allende you will need a special permit issued by the Mexican government and this takes several days to acquire and costs around $2,500 pesos. The permit is handled by your Notario which is Mexico is a special type of attorney authorized by the government to write legally binding contracts and other official documents. Your Notario will check to make sure that whoever is selling the land has the legal right to sell the property, confirm there are no liens or problems with the title, and confirm that you the buyer are purchasing the property legally. At closing you will meet at the Notario’s office along with the seller or his representative to sign documents, a new title will be created, and at the end of the day, you own the property.
Though you legally own the land, you can’t build on it yet. After closing, you won’t actually have possession of the official title (called an escritura) until the transaction is registered with the state and this can take two months or longer. And without the escritura in hand, you won’t be able to get a building permit. During this waiting time it is a good idea to be working with a recommended architect on plans, and it is also a good time, to get a contract with the water company (SAPASMA) as this contract is necessary to get a building permit.
Once you have your escritura and your architect has drawn up plans, you can proceed with getting a building permit (you architect will likely handle this) and begin building. In Mexico, it’s common for your architect to also supervise the building process and employ the building contractor.
It is recommended that you remain in the country during the time your house is being built to answer questions that might arise and watch for unexpected or unwanted changes in the building plans.
Building a home in San Miguel de Allende can be a very rewarding experience but careful planning pays off. You should always work with a trusted realtor who will handle the purchase or your land and advise you on the building process. Ernesto and I are both experienced realtors and have gone through the process of building our own home in San Miguel de Allende and we are here to assist you with any real estate transaction.