Buying Property in Nicaragua: 8 Useful Tips
With excellent surf conditions, long golden beaches, and relatively low-cost real estate, real estate in Nicaragua has recently attracted increasing attention from international property buyers.
San Juan del Sur, in particular, has seen its real estate prices increase substantially over the past year due to strong demand.
If you consider buying property in Nicaragua, here are 8 useful tips based on our experience and knowledge.
1- Make Sure that All The Legal Documentation is In Order
In Nicaragua, there are specific procedures you have to follow when buying property. Make sure that the papers provided by the seller are all legal and in order:
- The title should be clean.
- If there is a mortgage on the property, make sure you know how much it is and who holds title to the land until it has been paid off in full by you.
- Make sure you find out from the seller whether there are any liens or claims against the property. This includes unpaid taxes, lawsuits, etc. You will have to pay these fees if they exist after transferring ownership.
- Check to see whether squatters/renters are still in residence on the property or whether the seller has lawfully removed them.
You should get proper legal advice from a qualified attorney.
Ensure that you hire an attorney specializing in real estate transactions to guide you through the process and ensure that you comply with local law.
You can also ask your attorney to do a title check to ensure that the property you are considering is free of liens or claims up to 300 years ago.
2- Hire a Knowledgeable Real Estate Agent in San Juan del Sur
Nicaragua uses an open-market system, so real estate buyers have direct access to properties for sale. Working with real estate agents to buy property for your new home, rental income, or investment can help you save a lot of time and quickly narrow down your choices. They can also tell you more about local culture, schools, hospitals…
Real estate agents have a more extensive listings database and actively help buyers find the perfect property. They can also assist sellers in selling their land, home, and business faster by reaching a bigger audience looking to buy a property.
Like in every country, purchasing property in Nicaragua entails knowing the local geography, culture, and legal implications involved in the process. Make sure that your real estate agent is experienced and knowledgeable.
Hiring a knowledgeable real estate agent is a good idea as they know the surroundings and real estate market well. Your real estate agent should have ample experience in the local area to help you find the perfect property and make all the necessary arrangements.
A reliable real estate agent will help you through the whole process of purchasing property in Nicaragua and ensure that your transaction is successful. Your agent can also recommend you a trustworthy lawyer and construction company.
Here are some qualities that your real estate agent should have:
- Is fluent in English and Spanish.
- Shows a good understanding of the local real estate market.
- Is well established in the industry/community and has a reliable reputation.
- Meets deadlines and is organized.
- Is willing to help you beyond just buying and selling and with moving, banking, and information.
3- Check the Neighborhood of the Property
Before buying a property in Nicaragua or anywhere, you must check the property’s neighborhood. You should be sure of the neighborhood’s safety, availability of public services, noise around the property, and the distance from town.
Discuss with your real estate agent how secure the area is and whether there have been any registered crimes. It is also important to look into local amenities such as healthcare facilities, local transport, pulperias, etc.
Check Water, Electricity, and Internet when Buying Property in Nicaragua
It is essential to check whether there is a water supply at the property, connecting to the city water or digging a well. You will also have to investigate if you can connect to the grid or opt for a solar system.
Disnorte and Enacal supply San Juan del Sur for electricity and water. A few internet providers cover different areas, depending on the property’s location. The primary internet providers in Nicaragua are T Comunica, Claro, WiFi Nic, and Tigo.
Home Owners Associations (HOA) Fees and Restrictions
There are many gated communities and Home Owners Associations in San Juan del Sur and Central America. This is an important factor when purchasing a property as it entails monthly or yearly association fees. Each gated community property usually contributes to 24/7 security, maintenance, and improvement of the roads and shared facilities.
HOA fees around San Juan del Sur vary between $50 and $900 per month. Be sure to ask your agent about HOA fees and if there are any construction restrictions.
4- Verify Accessibility to Your Property
Not all properties have direct access to a public road. When you buy a property in Nicaragua, ensure that the property’s location has good public access for vehicles. Your lawyer or agent can help you with this.
Another factor to consider is the state of the access road. Do you need to improve or yearly maintain it? Do you need a 4×4?
5- Survey The Soil and Terrain of Your Real Estate Property in Nicaragua
Investigating the terrain and soil of a property can give you an indication of what lies beneath. You will need to hire a geologist or topographer who can answer your questions about the soil of your prospective property.
Many properties around San Juan del Sur and Rivas have been built on loose soil and eroded hillsides. This can lead to damage to your property and eventually will need to be fixed.
6- Consider Flooding and Water Levels
Several regions in Nicaragua have been affected by the erosion of waterways due to deforestation. Although there may not be any reports or history of flooding, it is vital to keep this in mind when buying property in Nicaragua.
Ask your lawyer/agent about the risk of flooding for the area you are interested in.
7- Don’t Forget to Register Your Real Estate Property in Nicaragua
After buying it, it is important to register your real estate property under your name. If you don’t, you could face legal problems when you try and sell or mortgage your property in the future.
To register a property in Nicaragua, many requirements need to be completed. You should hire a qualified lawyer specializing in real estate law to help you with the process. It is also important for properties on the Pacific coast to secure Title Insurance.
You will pay transfer tax when registering your real estate property. The transfer tax in Nicaragua is paid to the city hall, called the Alcaldia, and can be anywhere between 3-9% of the purchased price.
8- Be Aware of Property Taxes and Pay Them On Time!
Like in most countries worldwide, all properties in Nicaragua are subject to yearly property taxes. Taxes in Nicaragua are paid to the Municipio or department of your town. Your real estate agent should be able to advise you of the required property taxes and how they work.
The benefit of paying your property taxes in advance.
In San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, you get a ten percent discount on your taxes if you pay your yearly property tax before March 31st!
The consequences of paying your property taxes late.
On the other hand, if you neglect to pay your property taxes on time, you will get a fine, and the fine rate will proportionally increase through the years.
Real estate in Nicaragua can be a rewarding and profitable investment, but you need to do your homework first, like any type of investing. Follow these 8 tips when buying property in San Juan del Sur for an easy and successful property purchase.
Real estate in Latin America is not exempt from theft and fraud; make sure you hire an experienced lawyer and real estate agent to help you through the process of buying property.
Contact us if you are interested in investing in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua! Our property is within walking distance to town, has 24-hour security, and has top-of-the-line appliances. Whether you are looking to retire in San Juan del Sur, looking for an investment property to rent, or moving your family here full time, we can accommodate you!