Costa Alegre Properties


Ejido Land

This is how the information used to read on the web site. It was replaced with the version you see there now on April 19 2005.

---- To the best of my knowledge this is the way things are in La Manzanilla, Jalisco Mexico (the town I happen to live in) as of May 11 2003. I assume no responsibility for the accuracy or inaccuracy of this information or my personal opinions, take everything I say at your own risk.

Costa Alegre consist of different counties and there may be more than one Ejido per county. Much of the Costa Alegre is currently Ejido land, parts are not. It is illegal for any Ejido to sell land to anyone.

All of Costa Alegre is located in the restricted zone, it is against the constitution of Mexico for individual foreigners to own land in the restricted zone unless it is held in a bank trust. Parts of Costa Alegre are in the process of going through Procede (which is a process where the Government of Mexico regularizes the land) And parts of it have completed Procede and a bank trust is available.

The way the regularization process (Procede) works is they measure off each property and make sure that everything is in order as far as where the property lines are for the individual properties and the Ejido land as a whole. Once that process is complete the Mexicans will get title to their land and the foreigners will be able to get a Bank trust (fideicomiso) for the property that they can then legally "buy".

As it stands now in La Manzanilla no foreigner has gotten fideicomiso (Bank trust) because you can't get a Bank Trust until Procede has completed the regularization process. So technically no one owns land or real estate in La Manzanilla, not even the Mexicans who have lived here their entire lives. The Procede process is supposed to be completed very soon, but then again we have been hearing that for a couple of years.

Still, people "buy" land and real estate when they come to La Manzanilla. Some use presta nombre's (borrowed name) or get a 99 year lease and others just have their name on the paper the Ejido gives you when you "buy" here. There is one set of homes that is set up as a corporation which is supposedly a legal way for foreigners to own property.

A couple years ago the Ejido of La Manzanilla called a town meeting for all of the foreigners living here. The meeting had several state officials, some local accountants and the ruling members of the Ejido (Ejiditario).

They said that it was basically a waste of time for everyone to be running around getting presta nombre's and doing the wills and power of attorney that usually go with the presta nombre method. They told us that we should trust the Ejido and put the property in our names, then when the Procede process was completed they would transfer the property to our name via fideicomiso for something like 5 pesos per square meter. Basically they were telling us to let the Ejido be our presta nombre.

I have not done an official survey of who is using what method of property "ownership" here in La Manzanilla. But I believe that most have the property in their name (I do) and are trusting the Ejido to live up to their word when the time comes to go legal. Each Ejido is a separate entity, the above information is about the Ejido of La Manzanilla. I have heard other stories about other Ejido's along the Costa Alegre that are not very favorable. Be very careful.

Presta nombre's are also known as "Straw men" and are illegal. If the Mexican government finds out that a foreigner owns property by using a Mexican as the pretend owner they see it as you trying to cheat them out of the fees you would pay if you did have fideicomiso and can take the property away as a penalty. But, since we (in La Manzanilla) currently can't get fideicomiso there is no real deception going on for those who have presta nombres since we couldn't get a bank trust even if we wanted to. Once Procede has finished and we can get fideicomiso it will be a whole different situation when it comes to presta nombres.

In the past there have been some horror stories of bad land deals in Mexico, some due to honest mistakes as to the legal ownership and some from mistakes that are more questionable.

I believe that the Mexican government is actively seeking foreign investment in Mexico and will do anything in its power to prevent any more horror stories or bad press in regards to foreign land ownership. But there is an election coming up and International relations are always in a state of flux so basically follow common sense and don't invest more than you can afford to lose.

A couple of years ago I did a lot of research on foreigners buying real estate in Mexico. I was going to build a website dedicated solely to this subject but never quite got it finished. So as an alternative to that I am going to list some of the message board and news group postings and link to the articles I found during that research here on this page. Keep in mind that some of the information may be a couple of years old and may have changed since then.

I am also going to list some rough notes I had for each of the sections the original website was going to contain. I will not extensively edit these notes because if I do I will never get this project completed just like the last time I tried to finish it.

If you find other relevant articles or information on this topic of foreigners buying land in the restricted zone please email me with the link. Please put something relevant into the Subject box of the email or I won't open it.

Contact Information

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