The Notary and the Real Estate Transaction
You’ve found the perfect place to purchase in The Riviera Maya. Although the translation of “Notario” is “Notary Public,” the Notario in Latin American countries has a very different role than the notary in the United States or Canada, who authorizes signatures.
The Mexican Notario is an attorney, who has passed a stringent examination, has at least 3 years experience working in a Notaries and has been appointed as a Notario by the governor of the state in which he is practicing. The Notario has the power to witness and certify documents that require absolute authenticity and handles wills and business contracts, as well as real estate matters. In addition, the Notario has the responsibility for the management and storage of original documents.
Under Mexican law, the deed to property must be prepared by a Notario, who will ensure that all documentation and permits are in order and that there are no liens or judgments against the property, so that the transaction can proceed. He will also calculate the seller’s capital gains taxes and the buyer’s acquisition taxes. In short, everything official to do with your transaction should be done by the Notario.
Because of the responsibility and potential liability the Notario may incur, notary fees are significantly greater in Mexico than those of notaries in the USA and Canada. These fees are based on a rate schedule set by an official commission and are tied to the amount declared in the property transfer and are about 1.5% of the transaction value. There is also the 11% I.V.A. to be paid on the services.
Your real estate agent or lawyer may suggest the Notario with whom he usually works, or you may ask for references from people who already own in The Riviera Maya. Notary fees can vary because of the “service” component of the charge. Find someone you’re comfortable with because you may be calling on him (Her) again for other matters.
The Notario who handled your real estate purchase is, indeed, a highly trained attorney. These special lawyers give up private practice to become agents of record, their duties including authenticating documents, examining wills and contracts as to proper form, and acting as official recorder in connection with real estate and other business. Although he cannot represent you in litigation or act as your advocate, only advise to prevent litigation, the Notario can probably recommend an attorney, for your particular need, perhaps someone from his own office.