frequently Asked Questions

One of the many services we provide when you buy a home from Chapala Realtors, is to set up your Telmex (Telephone) account.  We will then send you the account and password so that you can log in and monitor your monthly billing.

One of the many services we provide when you buy a home from Chapala Realtors, is to set up your CFE (Electricity) account.  We will then send you the account and password so that you can log in and monitor your bi-monthly billing.

In addition, here are the Area Codes for country, state and Lakeside Making a phone call can be confusing, especially for newcomers. Cell phone to cell phone or landline to landline is pretty basic, but did you know you have to dial different numbers if calling a landline from a cell phone? Or different again from a cell phone to landline? Did you know that Las Fuentes is a long distance call? Here’s a handy dialing guide that might help you sort things out

The English-Spanish Real Estate Glossary defines, translates and explains 787 real estate terms, up from 696 in the previous edition. Like its predecessor, it talks. Just click on the translated term and hear it spoken in Spanish. This is a must-have for anyone with Spanish-speaking real estate clients. Title companies in particular have ordered thousands of the previous versions since it was introduced in 1997.


It’s also available as a Kindle e-book from No Kindle? No problem. Free Kindle reading apps are available for several Windows and Mac-based products, including computers and telephones.

Closing costs are approximately 3.5 – 4.5% of the purchase price for most transactions.

Most notaries will provide a line item spreadsheet, prior to closing, itemizing each cost.  You cannot avoid these closing costs as a buyer.  They are an obligatory part of the legal process that allows a buyer to safely obtain property in Mexico.

The largest of the fees are the transfer tax, notary fees and the appraisal.  These fees are all based on the appraised tax value, not the actual purchase price.  In general, the appraised value is significantly lower than the actual purchase price.  When the appraised value comes in high, the overall percentage paid at closing will increase.  The appraised value often comes in quite close to the tax value you see on your annual predial (tax bill).  By law, it cannot be less than that.

Occasionally the Notary will negotiate their fee.  They do not have to.  Some Notaries charge more than others and in some cases even actually provide MORE or BETTER service and accuracy in exchange for the higher fees.

Mexican labor law can be quite confusing, but it’s very important to understand your rights as well as the rights of your workers. A good place to start is by reading articles such as this one at ICLG.

When in doubt it’s always best to contact a lawyer. Hiring, firing, promoting, deomting, raises, IMSS, etc. etc. can get complicated and land you into trouble if you don’t do things correctlty. Always be diligent!

Whenever you pay out cash for wages or contract work, you should obtain a signed receipt or recibo. If ever there is a wage dispute, the emphasis is upon the employer to prove that wages were paid. Mexican Labor law leans heavily towards protecting the employee, which is refreshing to see, but you also need to protect yourself. If you have a property manager or someone who handles payroll, ensure they have signed receipts filed for future reference.

You can buy a receipt book from any stationery store or papelería. As long as it accounts for the date paid, the amount, employee name, work completed and a place for a signature, you’re covered.

We have created a generic recibo in both Spanish and English for your use.  It is designed for part-time staff or contractors paid bi-weekly, weekly, daily or hourly. It can be used for extra or overtime hours as well. We have also accounted for the address where the work was completed. There are two receipts per page, one copy for your employee and one for you. 

Severance or Finiquito

When you sell your home, you will need to severe the employment of all your staff (maid, gardener, etc.).  They can then be recommended and re-hired by the new home owner.  You need to calculate each employee’s severance or finiquito, which includes severance days owed, vacation pay and Christmas bonus or Aguinaldo.

We highly recommend keeping receipts of all yearly vacation pay and Christmas bonus (including gifts), signed by your staff member, as you may be held accountable for past years at the time of severance.

Your best bet is to talk to a local accountant. A good accountant will know how to calculate severence, christmas bonuses, etc.

Feliz Navidad!

Your domestic staff will expect a Christmas Bonus or Aguinaldo before December 20th of each year.  How do you calculate that, you ask?  You can download this spreadsheet, input the required information in the blue boxes and voila! It will auto-calculate an estimate for you.

We highly recommend that your staff sign to acknowledge payment for each year, as you may be held accountable for past years at the time of severance.

It’s a good idea to talk to a local accountant, they will have all the information necessary and can help you do things correctly.

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