Five most important things to do when buying real estate in Guatemala

5 most important things
to do when buying  property
 in Guatemala

Guatemala is probably not your usual investment destinación. Unless you are a Guatemalan expatriated or have relatives that are Guatemalan you will have Little or no knowledge about how to buy property in Guatemala. Investing in real estate in a foreign country is a serious mater.

But for a foreigner deciding to buy real estate here might be a challenge and a whole new experience.

-       First thing you need to work with a Realtor.
      An authorised realtor that has a proper license to represent you.  Yes it does exist in Guatemala. Realtor profession is regulated and it is your best guarantee against scammer, unethical and unprofessional ones. You will hear of people that have managed to buy without a realtor but it all depends of your level of investment and willingness to take financial risk. The bigger the investment the more you want to be protected from any bad surprised. Don 't hesitate to check with the Chamber of Realtor of Guatemala for professional ones.

Why? Because he will  represent you and working with non legal realtor might turn out to be a nightmare if anything goes wrong.Now a realtor speaking your language is a must as you might not fully dominating the local language.

-       Second get legal assessment with a lawyer – notary that does regularly real estate transactions.  And preferably one that speaks your language.
In Guatemala lawyers are also notaries and some decided to work more the notary part of their professions, others the lawyer part and the gran majority both. Laws do change and a lawyer not versed regularly in real estate transaction might miss some important information. In Guatemala real estate has complex consequences better to be well informed.

-       Third you have to understand that you will be confronted with a diversity of way of owner ship that might disconcert you. In  Guatemala you will encounter several way of owning real estate as for example..:  land lease from  the government through the OCRET office, proper register titled backed up by the government, rights of possession that you can  compare to squatters rights and some times comunal land…
Depending the status of the property you are buying you will have to decide if it is worth your money to rely on less than a proper registered title. Now if you buy in urban áreas most probably you will encounter proper registered title.

-       Fourth consult with your notary which limitations can affect your property.  Guatemala doesn’t have a lot of institutions having a say on the use of a property but they do have some like OCRET, MARN, CONAP, Consejo de Protection de la Antigua (if you buy in Antigua Guatemala)…  So for example if you buy on ocean or lake front you will find out that the lease you will get from the government  only lease you the land up to 20 mts from the waterfront as you have to leave 20 mts of public space. If you buy in certaines áreas or steep hills you might be in an área of mudslides and classified by CONRED (the Government Agency for Civil Protection) as inhabitable  and therefore might not get the building permit you seek. If you buy in a city with strong colonial history like Antigua or in the Center of  Quetzaltenango then you will find out that you can’t do what you want with the property you are trying to acquire. Know what you are buying and what you can do with your real estate project.

-       Fifth under which legal form you want to acquire your property: single owner, under a Guatemalan C Company, a foreign company… Depending your choice, it will influence  your taxes during ownership, at the moment of sell, or for your heirs if you plan to inherit it to them.Not being familiar with the Guatemalan taxes frame  you need to get proper advices in order to optimize the fiscal impact of owning real estate.

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