Featured in Vallarta Lifestyles Magazine, Spring/Summer 2006 issue.

You’re ready to commit to a property in Mexico – now comes the paperwork phase. Actually, this is pretty painless when managed by a competent Notario, or notary. One thing he will handle for you is the required appraisal process – that is, obtaining an opinion or estimate of value from a professional in the field. In Mexico the authorized appraisal is quite different from a commercial, or market, valuation.

As part of the purchase process in Mexico, an official appraisal of the land, or an avaluo, is required before any transfer of title and will be obtained after the sale contract is signed. The appraisal must be made by an official appraiser, usually an architect or a civil engineer, who is recognized as a Perito Valuador by the property tax authorities in the municipality where the property is located. In addition to the costs of the appraisal ($300 to $500 USD), a small fee will need to be paid to the public registry department for authorization of the appraisal.

In Jalisco and Nayarit, as in most Mexican states, there is a public entity that provides the “minimum legal value” of the property, or the Catastro. Although the Catastro is an essential number for tax liabilities and other matters related to the property, it is usually a fraction of the true commercial value of the property.

Purchasers wishing to obtain a commercial valuation of a property before contracting or those obtaining institutional financing should consult an independent appraiser. Organizations based outside Mexico, such as The National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers, which has members in Mexico, or another person involved in the transaction, such as the Notario, who is bound by law to be a neutral party, the mortgage broker or the real estate agent, may suggest someone. Alternatively, check the telephone book for Puerto Vallarta or Guadalajara under Avalúos en General.