How to find out who owns a property in Mexico

Gone are the days when consulting the public property registry was complicated. With technological advances and the digitization of files, it can now be as easy as using an online search engine or making a request by filling out a virtual form.

So, if you are about to buy a house in Mexico or an apartment in DF, go ahead! Now you can know who is the rightful owner of a property in the public registry in minutes.

Why is it necessary to find out who owns a property?

Knowing who is the owner of your next home is a fundamental step to avoid any unexpected surprises. Some people have only one property attempt with a private contract signed before a Notary; a document that, according to Mexican law, is not valid before third parties.

Of course, this does not mean that everyone who has acquired a property through the signing of a simple contract of sale has no rights. In fact, you can go to the Public Registry of Property and Commerce to register your property with a certified copy of the contract.

What is the Public Registry of Property and Commerce and how is a property registered?

The Public Registry of Property and Commerce is a body attached to the Mexican public administration that is in charge of keeping public books with everything related to real estate for personal or commercial use, that is:

  • Inheritances
  • Donations
  • Buying and selling
  • Constitution of mortgages
  • Disposal prohibitions
  • Etc.

There is a public registry for each state and its main function is to give publicity or public character to any legal act of transfer of property. When a private contract of sale is registered with this body, the registrant becomes the legitimate owner of the property; a condition that you can challenge before third parties.

How do you know who owns a house or property?

The first thing to do to find out who owns a home is to gather as much information as you can about it:

  • Location of the property

The draft of the sales contract that the seller has sent you is essential to discover the location of the property according to public records. Remember that many offices date from before 1900 and have changed their coverage radius.

In the first clauses that deal with the property for sale, the exact address of the house, premises or department must be outlined. If you are buying your home with the help of a real estate agency, ask them to send you a copy of the property registration and so you will have everything you need at hand.

  • Cadastre number and cadastral file

Each town has a Virtual Land Registry Office that you can use to find out more about the property. Enter the website and request the cadastral data. In them you can verify who is the legitimate owner of a property in Mexico, the use of the property, its type and class, square meters and information about its registration in the Public Registry of Property and Commerce.

  • Other information, such as previous owners or square meters

It may be that, if the current owner has not updated his data with the cadastre office, the cadastral file is in the name of the previous owner. However, this will serve you for your search as well as the characteristics of the property; such as number of bathrooms and rooms, building materials, and square footage.

Public property registry online consultation. What you should know

Once you have as much data as you can about the property, it is time to ask the Public Registry of Property and Commerce. Here, you can take two ways:

  • The first, to go with a copy of all the documents to the Property and Commerce Registry office and fill in a form with the data of the property, the book, volume and date of the property registry, etc. You can ask the registry assistant for help to verify if there have been no changes to the property in recent years.
  • The second, make your inquiry online through the page of the Property and Commerce Registry of Mexico City or Baja California. The procedure is free and is carried out by creating a user with a password on the portal and then going to the electronic window. The response about the property will reach your email in 1-3 months.

How is the consultation carried out in the Public Registry of Property and Commerce?

If you do not want to start the process on your own, either due to lack of time or ignorance, hire a lawyer to help you with the process. Remember that the procedure is free unless you request a certified copy of the books or a Certificate of Encumbrances to know if the property has any precautionary measure or mortgage.