Southern California agents, listen up: new opportunities may await you just over the border.

Americans have had little opportunity to view Mexican coastal properties as anything other than vacation spots. Since California’s annexation in 1846, Mexico has banned foreign ownership of both coastal property and property within 62 miles of the international border.

A new bill proposes to lift that ban.  The bill passed the lower house of Mexico’s Congress, but still faces resistance in Mexico’s senate.

In the meantime, it is still possible to buy beachfront property in Mexico — sort of. The only way to do so is to structure an agreement through a Mexican bank trust, known as a fideicomiso. Essentially, a foreign buyer pays for the property and the Mexican bank holds title to the property in a renewable 50-year, irrevocable trust.  The buyer is the beneficiary of the trust.

Of course, there are fees involved. Owning property via a bank trust is more expensive than direct ownership. Further, a foreign buyer purchasing within the restricted areas (coastal and borderlands) acquires the usufruct of the property.

Usufructory property rights allow a group or an individual the use, enjoyment and ability to profit from someone else’s property. In this case, the trustee (the bank) technically owns the property and the buyer owns the right to its use.

Sound too risky? Many swear by the safety and ease of ownership, not to mention the insanely low cost of luxury coastal living. Nonetheless, entering into an agreement with a Mexican bank promising to hold title to your home just doesn’t sit well with most California buyers.

If the bill passes, the opportunity becomes much more tangible. The droves of Baby Boomers approaching retirement are looking for their slice of paradise on the cheap. Don’t stand idly by as they run for the border.