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  • Writer's pictureSan Miguel Life

The Top Questions We Get About Buying Real Estate In San Miguel

What is the first step to buying a home in San Miguel de Allende?

The first step to buying a home in San Miguel de Allende is educating yourself on our market with a knowledgeable agent. Identifying the different neighborhoods and their attributes is crucial to finding the best fit for you and your lifestyle. The neighborhoods are unique to individuals' styles, and their price points differ depending on the area. However, interestingly enough, you can still find a hovel next to a million-dollar house in any area. Some neighborhoods are artistic, others pure residential and/or mixed, which is fun because you have your carniceria (meat market) next to a vegetable stand and then a flower shop around the corner. Once you understand the different areas and prices better, you will be able to find the house for you.

Your realtor should be a trusted advisor who makes you feel like you are in a professional's hands from their knowledge of the inventory, the process of buying, and their history in real estate in San Miguel.

What function does the public notary play in the real estate process?

A public notary in Mexico is different from a notary in the US. Here, notaries are appointed by the state, and the position is held for a lifetime. They are experienced lawyers that have passed through rigorous application processes and exams. Notaries are neutral parties responsible for delivering a clear title, registering it with the public registry, and ensuring the payment of the capital gains for the seller. Typically, the buyers choose the notary, but often, both sides work together to come to an agreement. There are about ten active notaries in San Miguel. The seller is responsible for paying the real estate commission and capital gains, and the buyer is responsible for paying the closing notary fees and costs.

Can I get a loan in Mexico?

Most of the sales are cash transactions. Occasionally, sellers will consider owner financing if it benefits both parties. Foreigners rarely use mortgages. However, that is starting to change. There are a couple of mortgage companies in our market, and your agent can give you more information.

If I choose not to live in San Miguel full-time, who can manage my property while I am away?

San Miguel has numerous property management companies, and we can give you a list of our top 5 property managers once you have purchased a home. The property manager will take care of everything on your behalf for a nominal fee. Their services range from finding domestic help to managing renovations, paying bills, and assisting you basically with anything you might need.

What is the typical buying process?

Once you have found your home in San Miguel, you and your agent will create an offer to purchase to present to the Seller. After you negotiate and have an accepted offer to purchase, you will have a series of steps that your agent will walk you through that are all very straightforward.

1 ) SRE Permit (Permission to buy property in Mexico as a foreigner)

Once you find your property and your contract is signed, you must apply for a permit to buy property in Mexico as a foreigner from the SRE (Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores). The permit identifies you with the specific property that you are buying. Applicants must present their passport and tourist visa or immigration card to apply, and your approved SRE will be in the deed. Each person on the deed will need their own SRE permit. The cost per person is approximately $150 USD.

2) Inspection

The inspection process happens simultaneously and is different from that of the US. It is more to give a general idea of the property's overall condition. The inspector will look for structural issues, check the electric and plumbing systems, and note if anything needs to be replaced or fixed (ie, the hot water heater). If the buyer is here, he is welcome to be on site. The written inspection report is delivered within 3 to 5 days.

3) Escrow Account

The transaction coordinator will open an escrow account. It is important to note that all monies are held in USD dollars in a US bank. The buyer and the seller split the cost of the account, and it is a minimum of $300 USD for each side, depending on which escrow company is chosen.

Once you have the SRE permits in process and the inspection finished, a buy/sell contact is created. You will be expected to deposit 10% of the agreed purchase price into an escrow account 3 to 5 days after signing the contract.

4) Power of Attorneys

If a buyer or seller cannot be at the closing, there is no problem creating a power of attorney. If you are not in San Miguel and need one, you can sign it and have it apostilled. An Apostille is easily obtained through companies in the US. An Apostille is a legal certification that makes a document valid from one country to another.

What is expected at the closing?

The closing usually occurs between 30 and 60 days after the signing of the buy-sell agreement. Some can be quicker and others longer, depending on their agreement. The remaining purchase price balance must be deposited into the same escrow account 3-5 days before the sale's closing. The closing costs are approximately 5% of the sales price, of which 4% is an acquisition tax that goes directly to the city and the notary fee is typically 1%. The buyer pays the notaries' fees and the closing costs. The seller is responsible for the real estate commission and their capital.

Our closings are a friendly meeting of the buyer and seller, sharing stories and experiences around a table in our CDR San Miguel | Forbes Global Properties courtyard. The deed is written in Spanish, and an official translator reads the draft in English. After the reading, all sign the document on official notary paperwork.

The signing is the fun part… everyone is happy and smiles as we make the official transfer of the keys. Then we take a fun photo with CDR’s mojiganga named Tita, who everyone knows!

Ann and Nancy’s Tips:

  • Remember, things in Mexico are done differently than in the US.

  • The best thing to do is find an experienced realtor you trust who knows about this market.

  • Have fun with the process.

  • Ask questions and be curious.

  • ENJOY!

Write to Ann and Nancy at with your real estate questions!


CDR San Miguel | Forbes Global Properties @cdrsanmiguel

Ann @anndolansanmiguel

Disclaimer: The above information is to the best of our knowledge.

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