Buying Property in Mexico: The Essential SRE Permit

When it comes to buying houses in Mexico, especially in sought-after areas like San Miguel de Allende, the most common question is, “Do I need a special permit or visa?” The simple answer is yes! It’s called a SRE permit, and whether you’re dreaming of purchasing a holiday home or planning a permanent move to San Miguel, understanding the critical role of the SRE permit is key. To help you out, we’ve compiled a simple guide to explain all the details and how to obtain one and buy a house in Mexico in five simple steps.

What is the SRE Permit?

The SRE permit is a legal requirement for expats buying property in Mexico. The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues the SRE permit, which is required for foreign property buyers to legally register property deeds. Basically, it’s your ticket to being treated on par with Mexican citizens in property transactions.

Surprisingly, even on a tourist visa, you can purchase property in most parts of Mexico, San Miguel de Allende included. However, after your offer on a property is accepted, obtaining the SRE permit becomes a non-negotiable and crucial first step. By obtaining this permit, you agree not to seek intervention from your home country regarding property disputes in Mexico. On the other hand, your government will not be able to touch or appraise the property in case you have any issues in your home country.

The Cláusula Calvo Agreement

The Cláusula Calvo is the essential legal agreement within the SRE permit document for foreigners buying property in Mexico. By signing this, you agree to abide by Mexican laws and taxes in any property-related disputes. It’s a commitment to respect and follow the local legal framework during your property ownership.

The Cost

The total is around $7,500 pesos per permit per person. You will pay the total sum to your notary or attorney, who will then allocate the majority to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs (SRE) and retain a small fee for notary services.

Buying Property in Mexico: Restricted Zones

Restricted zones in Mexico are situated within 100 km of land borders with the USA, Guatemala, and Belize and 50 km of any Mexican coastline. These areas have special rules where foreigners can’t directly own land there but can invest through a bank trust or by establishing a Mexican corporation. Understanding these distinctions is crucial when considering buying property in Mexico’s restricted zones. 

Check out our Essential Guide to Owning Your Dream Property in San Miguel de Allende.

Get Your SRE Permit in 5 Simple Steps

Follow these simple 5 steps to obtain your SRE permit efficiently and stress-free:

  • Step 1: Contract Signed: Once both parties have signed the buy-sell agreement and deposited earnest money, immediately initiate the SRE permit process.
  • Step 2: Application: Your real estate agent, lawyer, or notary public will help you apply for the SRE permit, which requires your signature.
  • Step 3: Property and Notary Specifics: Note that the permit application is specific to the property.
  • Step 4: Waiting Period: The processing time for the SRE permit ranges from 3 to 6 weeks. In most cases, buyers can proceed with the purchasing process using only a “folio number,” which serves as a unique identification number assigned to a specific legal document or case file.
  • Step 5: Incorporation into the Deed: The SRE permit details are integrated into the property deed, acknowledging your agreement to the terms as a foreign buyer.

Pro Tip: Power of Attorneys

If, for some reason, you know you won’t be able to be in Mexico to sign the request for the SRE permit, or if you won’t be able to attend the closing with the notary, you can always opt for a Power of Attorney (POA). It’s advisable to assign it to either your attorney or someone you really trust. If you’re in Mexico at the time, it’s best to do it before leaving.

If you have already left the country and didn’t have time to sign the POA, you can get it drafted by a Mexican attorney or notario and signed before a public notary in the US or Canada. Once signed, you will have to get the Apostille from the Secretary of State where you live. This can be easier with Apostille Pros or Apostille.net as suggestions. Once you have done that, you have to send back the original document via DHL shipping or FedEx to the notary’s offices.

Last Thoughts

Buying property in Mexico as a foreigner is an exciting venture, and getting your SRE permit is a crucial and simple part of the process. By understanding and following these steps, you’re well on your way to owning your dream property in Mexico.