I sense some mis-information here.
There is, in fact, a part of the Mexican constitution, that has been in place for almost 100 years, that says no foriegner can own land within 50 miles of the border of the coastline. There is no “waterfront” stipulation, that is totally made up.
The mexican government realized they were losing out on foriegn investment many years ago and can’t ammend the constitution without a complex series of votes, hearings, special votes, ballots, etc, so they voted to recognize a “land trust” that allows foriegners to own land in this “restricted zone”. The trust is irrevocable and lasts 50 years. Renewals can be made indefinately. Even if the law changes, the worst that can happen is the government refusing to renew your trust after 50 years. Without totally rewriting Mexican property law, they cannot simply “liquidate” your trust and declare it property of the state.
Hundreds of thousands of foriegners own beachfront land in Mexico through these trusts. They are set up with banks such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase Manhatten, among others. These places are willing to lend the money in the name of these trusts with the property as collateral. Do you honestly think that BofA would write a $500,000 mortgage without due dilligence on the laws of the area?
Most American real estate firms have brokers in Mexico. Many are US immigrants that have lived in Mexico for a decade or more, speak both languages and are familiar with Mexican law. Call up Coldwell Banker, Re/Max or many of the other larger brokerages and ask to get the contact information for a broker in Mexico, perhaps Puetra Vallarta or Cabo. There are dozens of offices along the coast.
It took me 40 seconds on the Internet to find US-based attornies in most US and Mexican states who specialize in Mexican real estate investment. They have JDs from prestigious universities and are members of the Bar organization. They are not slimy worms in the basements of sweatshops and they are not out to steal your money (not any more than any other lawyers).
Yes, due diligence is required. They don’t have as many laws mandating buyer protections. You have to protect yourself. With half a brain and a good advisor, you should be able to set up the proper Title Insurance (very important!), trust documents, purchase agreements and loan paperwork.
Also, to join the tangent, for those of you who are posting about some bull crap about american “jobs” being “lost” overseas, should notice that unemployment in the US is low, around 4.7 percent. It is also worth pointing out that macro-economists agree that an unemployment rate below 3 percent in our economy is a very dangerous thing and foreshadows massive inflation and other such problems. Your isolationist argument to “bring back” “lost” jobs to America is therefore, economically speaking, unwise, or even dangerous.
ooo I have more… but that’s all for today.