BUYING PROPERTY IN PUERTO RICO
The first step to enter into a real estate transaction in Puerto Rico is to understand the process of buying real property in this jurisdiction. It is important to be represented by a licensed real estate professional to guide you in every step of the process.
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You may purchase property individually or by setting up a legal entity such as a limited liability company or a corporation.
Identifying your property
Once you have identified the property you are interested in, our first step will be to submit a written offer on your behalf. Typically the offer is a one-page document outlining the price and any specific conditions the purchaser may have. Once the seller receives and once offer is accepted between both seller and purchaser, a formal Purchase and Sale Contract is issued for review and signature.
A standard Purchase and Sales Contract or 'Option' Contract if you are obtaining bank financing, will include the complete terms agreed upon by both parties, as well as the agreed upon closing date.
Offer and Contract
With your signature of the Purchase and Sale Contract or Option Contract, you will be asked to provide a good faith deposit. The typical rule of thumb is 10% of purchase price and this will secure the contract until closing, taking the property off the market until contingencies are met. Escrow agents in Puerto Rico are in most cases the seller's agent and are required by law to have a non-interest bearing escrow account, for such purposes.
Notary and Closing
In Puerto Rico, public deeds for the purchase and sale of real property must be prepared by a Notary and executed by the parties before the Notary. A Notary (not to be confused with a Notary Public as referred to on the US mainland) is an attorney at law licensed by the government of Puerto Rico specializing in real estate matters and who possesses the power to clear title and register the deed among other things. Puerto Rico Notarial Law imposes the obligation on the Notary to authorize only valid and recordable titles.
A typical transaction time may vary, but if extra time is needed due to process, the Notary will issue a time extension, in order to satisfy all requirements necessary to close.