A Guide to Buying Property in Puerto Rico for Foreign Buyers
With its golden sand beaches and world-class surfing conditions, rich history and culture and advantageous tax incentives, Puerto Rico is an investor-friendly destination unlike any other.
If you are currently considering investing in real estate in Puerto Rico but you are wondering “where are the best places to buy property in Puerto Rico?” or “how do I go about owning property in Puerto Rico as a foreign buyer” then this guide is for you.
Our guide takes you through the process of buying property in Puerto Rico from beginning to end, including an introduction to the real estate market, the buying process and the taxes you will need to be aware of.
Like many destinations in the Caribbean, the island of Puerto Rico (together with smaller sister islands Vieques, Culebra and Mona) offers spectacular white sand beaches, reefs ideal for snorkeling and diving, world-class surfing conditions, majestic mountains and forests such as the El Yunque National Forest and a unique history and culture blending American, Latin and Caribbean traditions.
What sets the island apart from its Caribbean neighbours is its status as an unincorporated self-governing territory of the USA. As a US territory, Puerto Ricans are citizens of the USA, English is an official language, the territory is subject to US federal laws and the official currency is the US Dollar. Citizens of the USA can therefore travel from the mainland without a passport.
The allure of a Caribbean island combined with the security that comes with being a territory of the USA has established Puerto Rico as one of the top tourist destinations in the region, with a vibrant economy and high quality infrastructure. For property buyers, this unique combination offers peace of mind to invest in Puerto Rico real estate with confidence and has provided the foundations for Puerto Rico’s sophisticated luxury real estate market.
Additional stimulus has come in the form of a range of tax incentives for high net worth individuals and businesses which have succeeded in luring affluent property buyers from the mainland and beyond. Several prestigious resort developments hug the island’s stunning coast offering high quality homes alongside golf courses and condos overlooking the beaches which come with access to world-class amenities.
While Puerto Rico has much to offer investors, the territory has also faced many a challenge too, including Hurricane Maria which caused severe damage to the island in 2017. With strength and determination the island has slowly rebuilt since then and the property market is now showing strong signs of rebounding with demand once again surging, prices increasing and the number of transactions rising considerably.
Can foreigners buy property in Puerto Rico?
Yes, foreigners can buy property in Puerto Rico and the Government of Puerto Rico welcomes investment from overseas buyers. There are no restrictions on foreign buyers acquiring real estate in Puerto Rico. Title can be acquired fee simple (pleno dominio) and property can be purchased in the name of an individual or a corporation.
Buying property in Puerto Rico is a relatively simple process, which typically involves the following steps:
- Begin your property search.
- Find your perfect property and submit a written offer.
- Once you have made an offer on a property and that offer has been accepted, you will typically need to pay a deposit of 5% to 10% which will be held in escrow.
- You should engage an attorney to assist you with the buying process.
- You will need to sign a public deed for the purchase of the property which should be prepared by a notary, executed in their presence and then filed at the Registry of Property of Puerto Rico.
- The transaction will be complete upon transfer of the balance of the purchase price and payment of all required taxes and fees.
Registration and Filing Fees
Several fees must be paid by the buyer to different offices including the Municipal Revenues Collection Center (CRIM), Treasury Department and Registry of Property of Puerto Rico.
These fees typically amount to less than 0.5% of the purchase price.
The sale and purchase deed must be prepared by a notary whose fees are covered by the seller.
The maximum allowable fee is 1% of the value of the property for the first US $500,000 plus 0.5% of the value over $500,000.
We would recommend you seek the advice of a respected local attorney to assist with the transaction. Legal fees typically amount to 0.5% to 1% of the purchase price or, in some cases, a fixed or hourly fee.
Each party covers the cost of their own legal fees.
In Puerto Rico real property is subject to an annual real property tax which varies from 8.03% to 11.83% according to value and location of the property.
As specialists in luxury Caribbean property, we can introduce you to a wide selection of the finest residential property in Puerto Rico.
Homes for Sale & Condos for Sale
Land for Sale
You can also browse undeveloped land. Purchasing a lot of land provides you with a blank canvas and the opportunity to build your dream home in Puerto Rico.
Whether you are looking for beachfront land or a centrally located lot, we’re here to help you find the perfect lot of land for sale in Puerto Rico.
For larger parcels of land for commercial development, please see our commercial real estate listings.
Hotels for Sale
Searching for hotels for sale in Puerto Rico? Browse hotels, B&Bs and guests houses right here.
Finding the Perfect Property for Sale in Puerto Rico
Discover the most sought after real estate investment opportunities and benefit from unrivaled insight into the market.
To find your perfect property in Puerto Rico, search our Puerto Rico real estate listings.
Aguada & Aguadilla
Discover Aguada & Aguadilla – Read our guide to buying property in Aguada & Aguadilla.
Discover Bahia Beach – Read our guide to buying property in Bahia Beach.
Discover Cayey – Read our guide to buying property in Cabo Rojo.
Discover Cayey – Read our guide to buying property in Cayey.
Discover Culebra – Read our guide to buying property in Culebra.
Discover Dorado – Read our guide to buying property in Dorado.
Discover Fajardo – Read our guide to buying property in Fajardo.
Discover Isabela – Read our guide to buying property in Isabela.
Palmas del Mar
Discover Palmas del Mar – Read our guide to buying property in Palmas del Mar.
Discover Rincon – Read our guide to buying property in Rincon.
Discover San Juan – Read our guide to buying property in San Juan.
Discover Vieques – Read our guide to buying property in Vieques.
How long can a foreign citizen stay in Puerto Rico?
As Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the USA, US citizens do not require a passport or a visa to visit Puerto Rico.
Citizens of Visa Waiver Program countries including the UK and member countries of the EU who wish to visit the USA (including Puerto Rico) for a vacation or on business must apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) prior to departure.
How do I become a resident of Puerto Rico?
American citizens are free to move to Puerto Rico without the need to produce any new documents such as work visas. Citizens of other countries who would like to become a resident of Puerto Rico are required to secure a resident alien status, a work visa, a student visa and/or a temporary visa as is the case in the US mainland and US federal immigration regulations apply in Puerto Rico.
To become a resident of Puerto Rico an individual must spend at least 183 days during the tax year (January 1st – December 31st) in Puerto Rico and have a physical residence on the island. Becoming a resident of Puerto Rico can offer significant tax advantages under Act 20 and Act 22.
How do I become a citizen of Puerto Rico?
As Puerto Rico is a territory of the USA, Puerto Ricans are citizens of the USA.
A foreign national aged over 18 who has lawfully resided in the USA with a Permanent Resident (Green) Card for a minimum of 5 years (3 years in the case of a spouse of a US citizen), is able to understand English and has passed the Naturalization Test may be eligible to apply for citizenship by naturalization.
You could save money when investing in Puerto Rico real estate by using a foreign exchange expert to get the best rate for your property purchase. We have partnered with Halo Financial, a specialist in foreign exchange, to help you get the best exchange rates when making one-off or regular international payments for a property purchase in Puerto Rico. To see how you could save money, read more: Foreign Exchange.
There are direct flights to Puerto Rico from various cities across the United States, Canada and Europe (Spain).
Most international flights to Puerto Rico arrive at San Juan’s Aeropuerto Internacional de Luis Munoz Marin Airport – a major regional transport hub.
From the USA, fly from Atlanta (Delta), Charlotte (US Airways), Chicago or Miami (American Airlines), Newark (JetBlue) or Philadelphia (United Airlines).
From Europe, there are direct flights to San Juan from London (British Airways), Madrid (Iberia) and Frankfurt (Condor).
Atlanta to San Juan: 3 hours 40 mins
Chicago to San Juan: 4 hours 55 mins
Madrid to San Juan: 8 hours 20 mins
Miami to San Juan: 2 hours 40 mins
Newark to San Juan: 4 hours 05 mins
Toronto to San Juan: 4 hours 40 mins