Answer: ¡Night & Day!  

Hi there!

Homes are for sale in San Miguel de Allende.  It’s fascinating transitioning into this culture from the United States. So many misconceptions and misunderstandings about what it is to buy and hold real estate in the great Country of Mexico.  And if you’re one of the lucky souls that decides to buy a property in this strange Southern Country… What then?  

Perhaps first and foremost would be understanding the basics of buying and selling real estate in Mexico. Therefore, one of the first questions that will come up is what is a Notario in Mexico?  Let’s take a quick, “reader’s digest” view of these important differences between a Notary in the United States and a Mexican Notario. 

Bottom line: Mexican Notarios are lawyers with four-year degrees who go to school for an additional two years to become and be selected for the coveted position of a Notario, closing real estate transactions. 

The Relevant Romans: 

Mexico is a civil law jurisdiction based on Roman civil law, under which a Notario plays a much larger role than a Notary in the U.S. and with greater responsibility. To become a US notary all that is required is a weekend class, a short test, and a fee. For a Mexican Notorio, the requirements are VERY different.  A Mexican Notario must hold a Law Degree with a specialty in Notarial Law, have at least three years of experience at a Notario office, and pass a stringent final exam. Those who qualify and pass typically are appointed as a Notario by the Office of the State Governor.  These are selecting coveted and limited positions in the Country of Mexico.

These men and women have a sacred responsibility that they are personal guarantors for all the transactions that close and the tax consequences therein. When buying a home in San Miguel de Allende, the Notario will be very helpful in the process…  It is a very serious position here in Mexico and these folks are well respected within the community. When a home is for sale in San Miguel de Allende it is always better to have a Notario close the transaction. 

Comparatively, in the United States, a Notary does not need a Law Degree. And becoming a notary is a much simpler process involving filing the necessary documents, paying the applicable fees, and not having a criminal record. Therefore, it’s no surprise, this can be accomplished over a weekend!

It’s About Commitment to the Transaction & Liability: 

In the US it is not mandatory to be a lawyer to be a Notary. In fact, most Notaries in the US have only a high school education.  A U.S. Notary is therefore forbidden from providing any type of legal advice or drafting legal documents.

Powerful Amigos in Mexico
  • A notario can:
  • Provide legal advice.
  • Issue judicial opinions.
  • Oversee the drafting of legal documents.
  • Certify legal documents’ validity.
  • Intervene in judicial proceedings.
  • May act as an arbitrator or mediator.
  • And most important, a Notario can be held liable in both civil and criminal matters.

As you can see there are great and numerous differences between the roles and the scope of legal powers of Mexican Notarios and U.S. Notaries.

Having confidence and trust in your transaction is worth everything. Having smart capable, seasoned experienced professionals in Mexico is priceless…  Lucía and I know everyone in our town. We are great resources for all manner of referral once your house is closed:  painters, drivers, maids, gardeners, all types of workers, accounts, attorneys, etc.…  But wait, you say:  A house?  Good question!

What about a house? 

Lucía and I have the privilege of setting up the first RE/MAX Collection group in San Miguel.  This is the luxury specialty within RE/MAX international which focuses on high-quality properties. Even though it may be natural to assume that luxury real estate professionals only deal with multi-million-dollar properties or with high-end clients and estates that are out of reach of “normal” clients, nothing could be farther from the truth: 

Today, the designation of luxury pertains as much to experience and service as to the specifics of the property. Creative real estate professionals offer luxury service to their clients as a matter of course, believing that extending their reach depends not on the price of the property, but on the breadth and depth of their expertise and the services they provide. The financial value of a specific transaction becomes a secondary consideration.  That is as it should be.  Oh yea. You can check our Property page. 

What difference does a brand make?

Brand is important in Mexico because it offers a level of transparency and safety with the transaction that you’re not going to get with a local “mom and pop companies” here. At RE/MAX, we have standards and practices, licensing requirements, transaction oversight, continuing education, weekly meetings… It’s a very different emphasis when you’re dealing with agents that are with an international brand. In the United States I’m not sure that it makes much difference but in Mexico it absolutely does. There are lots of stories of transactions that go sour because the proper procedures and safety precautions are not in place. This is really something we specialize in.

RE/MAX has some impressive statistics.  We are an international company with offices located in 44 countries around the world. We have well over 100,000 agents and nearly 5,000 offices around the world. Nobody, absolutely nobody sells more real estate than RE/MAX.  The offices are independently owned. The office in San Miguel is called RE/MAX colonial. Lucía and I join the office several years ago…  we have never looked back!  It’s a great life, and we look forward to welcoming you when you’re ready.

“We’re here to help because helping you is what we do!”




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