Lake Atitlan real estate blog is the platform of information and discussion for all the subjects related to real estate at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Living here for 21 years and founder of the most service oriented real estate company, Atitlan Solutions, gave us a great deal of experience to share. To do real estate in Guatemala is not easy and this blog is to educate you about real estate in Guatemala and Lake Atitlan
The 4 most common forms of ownership of Real Estate in Guatemala
Buying as a foreigner in Guatemala…
Guatemala is a new destinación for retirees or investors and
you will find out that a lot of places offer great deal. From Guatemala City,
the modern one, to the beautiful Colonial Antigua Guatemala, without forgetting
Rio Dulce the tropical área, as well as Lake Atitlan the living country of the
All these áreasoffers real estate properties that are great for vacation rentals or to
just retire in style.
What many people do not realise when they make the decision
to buy real estate in Guatemalais that
the process and rules may be different than what they are used to. The general
say: “It is never a good idea to make a
significant investment in real estate unless you understand all of the things
that are involved and that have to be done” is good as well for Guatemala. Particularly
if you are not used to invest outside your own country and if on top of
everything don’t speak spanish.. Before buying in any country it is highly
recommended to get to know the country and what it means to be owner…And it is fundamental to know whatto expect and what the process is for buying
real estate in Guatemala when you are a foreigner.
In Guatemala some land are own collectively by the
indigenous population particularly in the Highland. Called ejidos municipales ,
they are extensive size of territory that has been given to the mayan
population over times for several different reasons. The problema with them is
that very often they are not properly registered in theNational Registry of Land. So you might be
buying a piece of landwhich might be
challenged in the future.
In Guatemala barely 20% of the territory issurveyed by the government. It is in process
but it is a slow process..
The National Reserve
of the State called or “las áreas de reservas del Estado”
Under this category foreigners can’t purchase the property
as the land belong to the Guatemalan State. But you can lease it. The lease are
for 30 years and can’t be renewed un definitively. Actually in the contract the government extend you it
says that you are required six months prior the termination of the contract to
manifest by writing that you want to renew it.
You lease the land and you own the improvements you are
making on it.. You have all the rights of ownership and can sell your house and
the rights of the contracto or pass it to your heirs in a will.
Rights of posesión or
This is the most common form of owner ship in Guatemala.
They are rights acquired over times and they can be sold and acquired. Now
these kind of properties are very difficult to be guaranteed.. and if you buy a
house on a land with rights of posesión your security is higher as you can show
continuous un disturb ownership. Acquiring rights of posesión doesn’t prevent you
to comply with other laws like the one with discuss above.. As if your land is
in 3.5 kms from the ocean shore line, 200 ms of a lake, 100 ms of a navigable
river you have to get a leasing contract with the government.
These are the most secure you can acquire as the government
by his registration and control guarantee it.. You find them mostly in cities
and in farming áreas. Before buying a certificate from the Registry is required
to show if the property doesn’t suffer any mortgage or lean. They are more
valuable and are taxed differently than the squatters rights.
The Buying Process
There are several source to find real estate in Guatemala as
any other countries.
It is strongly recommended to work with a legally authorised
real estate agent as they know better the market and should speak english in
order to help you understand what will happen. Prices are almost negociable
before making an offer check what is in the market in the área to give you a
sense of what you are betting on. Once the price is agreed on ,unless you have
cash on hand immediately available , a down payment of 10% is paid by the
No permit are required to own a property in Guatemala.
Once the buyer has the funds ready the buyer and the seller
meet at the buyer notary. He will have checked the legality of the papers
proving the ownership of the land. There is no escrow in Guatemala so it is
strongly recommended for the buyer to open a bank account to transfer the money
to his account. It makes the closing much easier.
If you are buying aproperty with a deed it takes less than 6 months to have it registered
in your name.
Besides the agreed upon price of the property, there are
other costs that have to be paid. All the cost associated with a real estate
property are supported by the buyer.
Typically the buyer pays:
Registration fees, other fees
The seller pays the Real estate agent fees unless agreed
We strongly recommend that foreigners work with certified
Realtors and as well members of the Guatemalan Chambers of Realtors , a
guarantee of professionalism.
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