Generally speaking the utilities and other bills will be transferred into your name as a part of the process when you’re buying a home in Puerto Vallarta. If they are not, however, you can fix this by asking the previous owner to sign a letter which authorizes the changeover. Just remember to register the changes with the appropriate utility companies. Most of your bills will arrive monthly, but your electricity will come once every two months.
Generally speaking there will be an option to “pre-pay” your bills which is useful if you’re going to be away from home for extended periods of time. If you’re going to do this you’ll need to open up a bank account for yourself in Puerto Vallarta. To do this you’ll need a copy of the deed (escritura) you just signed for your home, a form of photo ID and one of those bills we just talked about. The best thing to do is find a bank that will let you pay your bills online. Likewise a bank that is rated highly for its customer service would be recommended. So, if you head to your local branch and see a line right out the door because there’s only one teller on duty in the middle of the day you should consider switching banks.
Your monthly condominium maintenance fee will usually include the price of your homes gas and water, but to be sure you should ask your buildings administrator! This maintenance fee is paid monthly for most Mexican properties, but some will offer the chance to pay quarterly or fully in advance. Your property taxes (Predial) will be due yearly and can be paid at the City Hall. You’ll need to provide your Property Tax ID number (or “Cuenta Catastral”) and bring your bill from the last year if you have one. If you don’t have one bring a copy of your deed. You can also pay this online and you’ll generally get a discount if you pay it in January or February.
You’ll need to check with your building administrator to see if there’s an insurance policy in place to deal with damage to the structure of the building. You should take out your own contents cover, too, though and we recommend that you use an established company that offers more comprehensive cover and support. Keep in mind that your policy will be written in Pesos so you’ll need to double check that you’re getting the right amount of cover. Mark your calendar with the date you need to pay your yearly bank trust fees by, too, because they won’t send a bill to you.
Renting out your Puerto Vallarta home to vacationers while you’re away can help you to cover the cost of these bills while you’re out of the country. Just remember to pay your taxes on what you earn; some people will tell you that you don’t have to pay taxes on this, but they are still counted when you’re home in the USA. Get yourself registered with the Mexican tax authority (Hacienda) and declare your rental income or run the risk of putting having a lien on your property.
If all this sound like a huge amount of work and no fun at all you’re probably right. This is why we have property managers; to do the hardest work with skill! There are a huge amount of bilingual property managers in Puerto Vallarta who will be able to take care of every one of your properties needs. Property managers do come at a price, but by renting your property for an extra day per month you can probably cover the cost with ease.