Thinking about a permanent getaway to Puerto Rico? You are not alone; according to a report published by CNN Español in February 2016, quite a few prospective buyers from the mainland United States have been attracted by a real estate downturn in the island, which now offers three-bedroom homes in coastal communities for less than $100,000. Here are five tips for you to consider as you plan to acquire property in Puerto Rico:
Retain a Real Estate Professional
Although the process of buying a home in Puerto Rico may seem very similar to that of the mainland, Alaska or even Hawaii, you are likely to be surprised by certain nuances in the housing market. First of all, you are bound to be confused by contracts drafted in Spanish and you may also encounter owner-financing offers that sound complicated. Your best bet is to contract an experienced real estate expert like The Home Town Team to protect your interests.
Conduct a Property Inspection
Once you have retained a realtor to help you find and buy a home, insist on a property inspection before moving forward with the purchase contract. The Puerto Rico housing market is in the path of tropical storms during each Atlantic hurricane season; this is a meteorological factor that makes property inspections a necessity.
Get Title Insurance
The legal concept of registered land ownership in Puerto Rico dates back to the days when the Spanish Crown ruled the island; as such, there is always a potential of property disputes, encroachments, liens, and other issues that you are better off not having to deal with. A title insurance owner’s policy can protect you from such issues after closing; moreover, if the title insurance agent returns from the Registro de la Propiedad or the CRIM with bad news, you may want to look at a different property.
Look for Bargains
According to news daily El Nuevo Día, there were about 8,000 repossessed homes in the real estate-owned (REO) portfolios of Puerto Rican banks as of November 2015. One institution that held quite a few REO properties in 2016 was Firstbank, and portfolio managers were eager to talk to potential buyers looking for bargains. Best of all, these repossessed properties are free of liens or encumbrances.
Prepare for a Different Life
Puerto Rico can be a sharp yet pleasant change of lifestyle for you and your family. You should make it a point to learn Spanish even though just about everyone speaks English, and you may want to start talking to shipping companies before the closing so that you can budget accordingly.
In the end, you should know that Puerto Rico is beautiful and the people are super nice, so get ready to enjoy your new life in the sun.
December 13, 2016