Real Estate Closings – Part II: Costs and Obligations

By Jorge Chávez
Apr. 16, 2024

In the first part of this special article, the Vallarta Real Estate Guide editorial team approached Débora Espinosa, founder of Débora Espinosa Attorney at Law, a law firm located in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Nayarit, who kindly explained what a real estate closing is, the average number of days it takes to complete, who manages real estate closings, and whether they vary between Jalisco and Nayarit.

In this second and final part of the special article, we will review the most common costs of real estate closings, as well as the seller’s obligations and some additional considerations to keep in mind.


Débora Espinosa began by explaining that closing costs in a real estate transaction can vary depending on various factors, but there are some common elements that are usually present in most transactions. The most common costs include:

Notary Fees

These fees refer to payments made to the notary for his work in formalizing the public deed of the property. Generally, these fees represent 0.25 to 0.27 percent of the total value of the property and may vary slightly from one notary to another.

Real Estate Acquisition Tax (ISABI)

This tax, also known as the Property Transfer Tax, is applied to the value of the property at the time of acquisition. This tax can vary between 1.67 and 2 percent of the value of the transaction.

Property Appraisal

Before purchasing, it is necessary to carry out an appraisal of the property to determine its market value. This cost is borne by the buyer and can vary depending on the size and location of the property. Currently, the cost is between 2.5 and 3 pesos per thousand. For example, a house worth 2 million pesos (2,000 thousand) will cost between 5,000 and 6,000 pesos.

Certificates and Affidavits

Various certificates and affidavits must be obtained to prove that the property is free of debts and encumbrances, such as the Property Tax Exemption Certificate and the Lien Release Certificate. These documents may involve additional costs.

Maintenance and Service Fees

In the case of condominiums, there are usually maintenance and service fees that must be paid to the condominium manager. These fees may cover services such as water, electricity, security, and maintenance of common areas.


Débora Espinosa points out that, according to the law and the contracts established, the seller has certain obligations to fulfil regarding the closing costs. These obligations include:

Payment of Taxes and Fees

The seller must pay the Income Tax on the transfer of the property, as well as any other tax or fee applicable by law or by contract.

Termination of Trusts

In the case of properties subject to a trust, the seller must pay the costs associated with the termination of the trust, such as the fees of the trust institution.

Payment of Services and Fees

Until the moment of the sale, the seller remains responsible for paying any service or fee associated with the property, such as water, electricity, and internet services, among others.

Real Estate Commission

If a real estate agency has been used for the purchase or sale of the property, a commission must be paid for their services. This commission is usually stipulated in the contract signed with the agency.


“It is important for clients to be informed about the costs involved in real estate transactions from the beginning, as this will allow them to make more informed decisions and plan their resources accordingly. This includes requesting detailed information about notary fees and public registry costs, as well as anticipating and foreseeing additional expenses that may arise during the process,” concludes Espinosa.

Finally, efficient coordination and careful planning are key to ensuring that the closing process of a real estate transaction is carried out smoothly and without setbacks. With a clear understanding of the costs involved and the obligations of each party, buyers and sellers can avoid surprises and ensure that the transaction is carried out optimally.