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Closing Coordinators for Baja Real Estate Transactions

Responsibilities of Baja Real Estate Closing Coordinators in Simple English

When there is an accepted offer to purchase Baja real estate, it is the closing coordinators responsibility to gather all the documents and paperwork necessary to close, in order to allow for the transferring of title as agreed upon by all parties.

The closing coordinator is usually not a Baja real estate agent.  Here in Baja, a closing coordinator usually works for an independent business that specializes in a number of services related to real estate transactions.  Many closing coordinators are attorneys with experience in local real estate closings.  The closing coordinator will be responsible for reading a multitude of legal, title, financial, tax, and other documents to make sure they are fair and well-written to protect all parties.

There are several closing coordinators here in the Rosarito area of Baja, and many notarios also offer closing services.  Since most Baja Real Estate transactions deal with buyers and sellers from various countries, a good command of English is mandatory.  Here in Baja, the closing services can run from $800 to $1500, and these are costs are the buyer’s responsibility

The closing coordinator should keep in direct email and phone contact with all parties involved.  Most importantly, the closing coordinator needs to keep in touch with the buyer, because the buyer is the party that has hired his services.  

In addition to the buyer, the closing coordinator also needs to keep in direct contact with the seller, the real estate agents of both the buyer and seller, the notario, the bank issuing the bank trust or fideicomiso if one will be issued, the appraiser, the financial institutions involved if a loan is to be paid off or created, and all government agencies involved in producing the closing paperwork.  Because of this, a closing coordinator must be very people-orientated and have the ability to communicate and maintain excellent relations with all parties involved, while still keeping these relationships on a professional level.

The closing coordinator is not to be confused with the escrow officer, these are distinct services.  However, it is not uncommon for the closing coordinator to also do the job of the escrow officer.  If this is the case, then this person has the responsibility of being completely impartial to all parties not only while closing the transaction, but also when acting as the escrow officer.

The actual “nuts and bolts” responsibilities of the closing coordinator are many. First is the gathering of buyer’s and seller’s personal documentation (such as FM3’s or “credenciales”) so it can be presented to the notario, proving that all parties are legal to do business in Mexico.

The closing coordinator’s second responsibility is to gather title documentation of the subject property from the seller to begin the writing of the new escritura publica or bank trust.  The closing coordinator will acquire from the different agencies the certificates and documents needed to show that there are no taxes due at the local, state, and federal level, mechanics’ liens to be paid, utilities or HOA fees due, or pending lawsuits if the title policy has been purchased.  The closing coordinator will hire an appraiser for tax purposes and get the land surveyed.

Third, the closing coordinator will assist in providing the needed information to the bank if a bank trust will be issued.  This involves getting buyer permits from the Secretary of Foreign Relations, which grants a foreigner the ability to obtain Mexican property with a bank trust, within the Restricted Zone.

It is NOT the closing coordinator’s responsibility to consult with the seller or to assist him in selling capital gains free.  However, if the seller qualifies to sell capital gains free, then the closing coordinator may help him organize the needed documentation to sell without incurring taxes.  It would not be fair, however, for the seller to expect the closing coordinator to perform special research or incur travel time for the seller unless the seller pays for these services.

The last responsibility of the closing coordinator is on the day of the closing.   On that day, the closing coordinator should be present in front of the notario with the buyer, seller, and all involved real estate agents.  At the end of the closing, the closing coordinator will immediately have the notario fax all of the closing documentation to the escrow officer, who will then wire funds to the seller and all other parties appointed to receive funds, such as financial institutions, real estate agents, and attorneys. 

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