Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Title Insurance in Patzcuaro

Three years ago, I could not find a title company operating in the State of Michoacán, where the colonial pueblo of Patzcuaro is located. In fact, title insurance is not commonly used in Mexico. Therefore I embarked on a practical project to make title insurance available for our real estate purchases here. At a seminar I had attended in Austin, Texas, I took note when a lawyer who practices in both the United States and Mexico stated that First American Title Insurance issues policies for Mexico. Subsequently, I obtained the name of another possible company. After some internet sleuthing and phone calls to both U.S. and Mexico offices, I decided to work with First American’s head office in Florida for Mexico, Latin American & The Caribbean. They employ knowledgeable bilingual attorneys who come from many countries in the Americas.

The first step was to find a local lawyer/Notario in Pátzcuaro who would be willing to make application to First American Title for approval to do title searches for them in Michoacán; at that time no one in the state had such approval. Arquitecto Luís Stamatio López, a friend with whom we do business in Pátzcuaro, helped me explore local prospects. Although the first few inquiries did not elicit a positive response, Licenciado Ignacio Sandoval Hernández of the Notaría Pública No. 90 in Pátzcuaro indicated his interest and willingness to go through the process. He became the first—and to my knowledge the only—Notario in Michoacán who is approved to do title searches for First American Title.
Being a pragmatic person, I like to see theory applied. My husband and I had purchased and closed on some contiguous properties in the historic center of Pátzcuaro. To test our system, we applied and paid for a single title insurance policy covering the parcels purchased. Lic. Sandoval issued his title opinion in the format required by First American Title, who requested a few documents. Arq. Stamatio and Lic. Sandoval assisted us to obtain these and in 2007 we received the first Title Insurance Policy from First American Title issued for a property in this area. It is in English and payable in U.S. dollars in the United States (Spanish, Pesos and Mexico, respectively, are options). This trial run was not difficult, but it was time-consuming for me to follow up on details to obtain this first policy.

To reconfirm the process, this year (2008) we again applied for and First American Title issued to us a title insurance policy for another property on which we had closed. It gives us satisfaction to know that we hold clear and insured title on our properties and that, should we wish to sell one of them in the future, we can do so with no problems in the chain of title for the buyer.

Arquitecto Stamatio, owner-manager of Re/Max 11 Patios and Licenciado Sandoval, both of Patzcuaro, make a good team for someone desiring to purchase title insurance for a Michoacan property.

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