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Mark Eager of Eager & Asociados – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Home in a country club, near Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIf somebody’s looking for problems or ways to get out of a situation, anything’s possible. Buying real estate in reality can be as good as a handshake, but we know over the years that never worked because disagreements happen, and where we come from- Canada and the United States- there are a lot of legalities and loopholes and people take advantage. 
 
Here in Mexico, if I have a Mexican buyer and a North American seller, I’m obligated to produce a bilingual contract. A lot of times, we just use contracts in English. If somebody’s looking for a reason to get out of a deal after they’ve signed and gave the deposit, they can hire a really smart lawyer to come in and try to blow that contract apart. Once you have a deposit out of somebody, what most North Americans should be aware of is “buyer beware.” Do your homework before you fully commit. You’ve written a contract of the price you like, at the home you like. 
 
 
(Home in a country club, near Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Greg Gunter of Dream Pro Homes – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Greg Gunter standing by a CDMX sign – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingReaders, when you are in Mexico, only the native language (and native currency) are legally binding in a document, which is why your property deed is always in Spanish and your home price is recorded in pesos.
 
By law, Notarios are required to have a certified translator at all property closings if one or more of the parties involved are not Mexican citizens, even if they speak and understand Spanish. Documents leading up to the purchase and sale of a property are bilingual to assist non-Spanish clients, but ensure you are dealing with a reputable Realtor because if there is an error or difference in the two languages, the Spanish language will supersede in Mexican court.
Ariadna Delsol of COLONIAL REAL ESTATE – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Stone walled bedroom, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe Spanish version of the contract always controls if there is a difference from the English version. Expat clients are always given translations of the contract from Spanish to English. If they have an agent taking care of them, the agent will notice any type of discrepancy on the contract unless the agent is not doing his or her job.
 
You are not only purchasing shoes; you’re buying a house, so if you’re really concerned, I recommend that you get somebody to translate the contract from Spanish to English and make sure that you understand what the Spanish version of the contract says.  
 
(Stone walled bedroom, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, pictured.)
Joan Silver – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
 FERNANDO LÓPEZ ARIAS, attorney general of Mexico, 1958 – 1962. – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn purchasing real estate in Mexico where the sales contract is both in English and Spanish, you have to be careful that there is not a difference in the translation. Your contract would be in English and if the seller is Mexican, then his contract would be in Spanish. You should have both parties sign both contracts for the real estate purchase. If you have any suspicions of the accuracy of the English translation, then you would have a notary or a lawyer of your choice to review both contracts prior to signing. 
 
The notaries in Mexico are different than the ones in the United States and Canada because notaries in Mexico are more educated. The notaries are chosen by the Mexican government and given a district to represent. The real estate transactions are done with the notary, not with the lawyer.
 
Some of the notaries speak very good English. There are translators licensed by the government to do the translation and you can be sure they will give you an accurate version of the Spanish contract in English. You would have to pay the translators for their services but it is the notary who would look at both contracts and point out if there are any discrepancies in one contract versus the other. There are also other skilled translators who are not certified but that you can use and they wouldn't cost as much to translate. Disputes regarding the Spanish and English versions of real estate contracts don’t happen very often. If we change something in one contract, it has to be changed on the other. Sometimes things are misspelled or have minor differences but we’ve never had an issue between Spanish and English versions of the contract.
 
(Pictured:  Fernando Lopez Arias, attorney general of Mexico, 1958 – 1962.)
Francisco Araiza of interlago realestate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Patio home in Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingMexico is a Spanish-speaking country so the Spanish contract takes control in the court. However, normally the sales contracts are done in English. As an example, here in Chapala, we have a group and we use the same type of contract in all of our offices. We have the contrast in English and Spanish.
 
If you do not speak English and you are buying a house, you can ask your realtor and he would tell you what to do. Normally, we do the contracts in English because the contract is like a promise and therefore, you should be able to understand it. Your deed is the most important. It is what you sign so it is important that you understand what it says.
 
Most foreigners go to their lawyers and have it checked and most of the times they are assured not to worry and that they could use their English contract because it is a faithful translation of the Spanish contract, so it is not a problem.
 
(Patio home in Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Gary Coles of Paradise For  Gringos – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

Judge with paperwork – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingAny contract that you sign in Mexico, whether for real estate or anything else, will almost always be in Spanish.  It is possible that you may draft a contract with another person in English but if there is ever a dispute, it will be translated into Spanish for the judge to read. For that reason, it is important to get an official translation of any legal document that you sign. It also is a great idea to get  an attorney who is fluent in both English and Spanish.  He will be able to analyze the document in Spanish and then to explain it and answer any of your questions in English.

 

If by chance you do have a document in English, it is still a great idea to get a good translation.  Then you have something for your own reference.  Again, it is best to get a good bi-lingual attorney to go through both documents with you.  It is wise to consider that even an official translation may have subtle differences in legal interpretation so it is always wise to have your attorney carefully review the Spanish document.

 

There is one exception to the statement that all official documents are in Spanish. The government recognizes all indigenous languages and must provide official documents in those languages if requested. There is a possibility of a document being controlled by the indigenous language.


 
Ivan Castillo of Secure Title  Riviera Maya – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Popular expat town, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIf there are two versions of a contract for real estate purchase in Mexico and one is in Spanish and one is in English, the Spanish version controls.  This is another reason why, for example, if you hire Stewart Title to draft the purchase and selling agreement, we always do them in double columns, one in Spanish and one in English. The English version will contain an official translation of the Spanish version, but still, very importantly, the official language in Mexico is Spanish. Therefore, even if the contract is in Chinese and there’s a legal dispute, then a judge would have to order an official translation so that the judge is aware of the wording of the purchase and selling agreement. So it doesn’t matter if the contract is in English, Spanish, French, Italian, etc.
 
If there’s any dispute and it has to be taken to court then the judge will request an official translation into Spanish. For even greater clarity, many purchase and selling agreements will contain a special clause or declaration that will state that even though the purchase and selling agreement is drafted in a Spanish and an English version, for the interpretation for legal purposes the Spanish version will be the one that prevails.  
 
(Popular expat town, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, pictured.)
Carmella Peters Romero of Peters & Romero – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
 Mexico tourism sign – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe language of the courts in Mexico is Spanish, and therefore contracts will also be in Spanish.  You may have a contract translated into English, but because the Spanish contract controls in the event that there are discrepancies between the two, we recommend that you hire a translator to prepare a certified copy of the Spanish contract. 
 
Foreigners making use of certified translators can feel confident that a certified translation will accurately reflect the original version of the contract – we have used certified translators many times in our business without problems.  Non-Spanish speakers might also consider hiring a bilingual attorney to help them with contract negotiation process.
 
(Mexico tourism sign, pictured.)

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Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadUse the menu on this page to go to categories of Stories.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadUse the menu on this page to go to other categories of questions.
The Best Places In The World To Retire Location Advisor makes personalized recommendations for where to live and retire overseasGet matched to your ideal location to live abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadAnswers about living, working or visiting abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadStories by expats & others about their life aborad.
Best Places In The World To Retire - MarketplaceFind for profit, non-profit and religious organizations.
 

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