The Roles of The Notario Publico and The Lawyer in Mexican Real Estate
Canadian or American notary public is a public officer who is licensed to serve the public in non-contentious affairs and whose principal duties are to witness and authenticate certain documents, also known as notarization. A Notary may take testimony, affidavits, administer oaths, deal with matters concerning estates and perform other official acts depending on the jurisdiction. The term of notary public refers to common-law notaries.
The Difference between a Notary Public and a Notario Publico in Mexico is that the Notary in Mexico is an experienced lawyer who has been selected and appointed by the Mexican state after practicing law, completing a rigorous application process, passing a stringent exam and also meeting all qualifications set by the government. A Notario designation carries a great deal of responsibility as all real estate purchases must be registered with a Notario; they are legally responsible to ensure the deed title is clear and recorded at the Public Registry.
They provide security for original records and documents and are responsible for filing the documents with the Public Registry of Property. A Notario can be held liable in both civil and criminal terms.
If a Notario Publico is required to finalize my real estate deal, do I still need to have a Lawyer? The answer is yes!
If you are buying Real Estate in any country you will hire a lawyer to finalize the deal; it is also a crucial step here in Mexico. When purchasing property in a foreign country you need a professional on your side, someone that knows the rules and regulations.
There have been incidents in Mexico where people have unknowingly purchased property that is encumbered by liens or cannot be owned or titled, using a lawyer that is licensed to practice in Mexico could have saved the buyer a great deal of grief and money.
A local Mexican lawyer can not only protect your investment; they can save you time and money as they have many contacts and resources you will require, such as financial institutions, insurance companies, even recommending which Notario to use.
They are well informed of the market and will work to provide you with the best-priced options.
During the real estate purchase, the Notario Publico will authenticate all the legal documents, transfer of title, calculate the capital gains tax and ratify all Real Estate transactions in Mexico. If a real estate transaction was not recorded in the Public Registry by a Notario is not valid.
Although a Notario is a lawyer they will not function as your lawyer, their job in this situation is to be neutral, as the Notario is working for the buyer, the seller and the government, we recommend also using a lawyer to represent your interests.
The lawyer will also ensure there is no human error and that your property title is properly registered, verifying taxes and utilities have been paid in full. Be sure to hire a lawyer who will provide a Title Guaranty verifying the title is free and clear.