Martin surveyingThe reason you should choose our agency to work with is because we have been on the job in the Chilean real estate market since 2010. The way the market works here is somewhat different than what you are used to back in your home country. One of the main things to note is that there is no MLS system (Multiple Listing Service) here with realtors working cooperatively cross-agency. Rather each works independently to gather listings and create their own inventory.

There are a lot of legal and cultural differences as well as some customary quirks which can make buying real estate not only here in Chile but in most Latin American markets a major head spin. If you know nothing about the process (besides a few sentences that some blogger posted) and plan to act as your own broker then consider the following ages old legal adage.

 “A man who represents himself as his own lawyer has a fool for a client”

This famous euphemism about self representation in the legal field fits well when it comes to buying foreign real estate. You basically just don’t know what you are getting yourself into. Maybe you will be lucky and things will work out but let’s be honest...what you really are doing is gambling that you’ll get it right so that you can save on having to pay a commission. In that case…

“The venture you embark upon could become pennywise and pound foolish”

Our best advice for the uninitiated buyer to Chile no matter what part of the country you are seeking property in is to find a good broker to work with.

As a plug for ourselves we would like to tell you a little about Southern Chile Properties our agency. Besides being one of the few English speaking property brokerages in the country we would like to point out what services we offer to make the buying and selling of property go as smoothly as possible and ways that we are more professional than some of our competitors.

Customer.                                                                Customer.
International advertising.                                        International advertising.
Update all of our websites regularly.                           A quality, service minded agency.
Meet with the sellers, do a lengthy intake.                    Due diligence with all our titles studies.
Give the buyer translations of key documents.              Screened listings, serious buyers only please.
Have your foreign paperwork legalized in Santiago.         A proven track record and a number of sales.
We work closely with a proven, trusted and reasonably priced attorney.       Crucial attention to details.
Utilize a data service which helps us automatically calculate the daily currency market changes in pricing.
Document the property with large photo gallery, panoramas, specification sheet, videos and virtual tour.
Provide house and plot plans, satellite views, town overview & maps, other descriptions as appropriate.
Furnish currency converters based on the Bank of Chile & twelve other major FOREX markets data.
Maintain an escrow  service  administered by a  regional  attorney  at a well known bank.
Provide detailed written information to our clients about the purchasing steps.
Perform an initial inspection of the home and all of the outbuildings.
Accommodate our client’s individual circumstances.
Advise on Source of Funds paperwork.
Explain each step of the process.
FATCA assistance.
Being there.
Heart.
Us
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Jeanette & Martin PortraitBuying a property as a do-it-yourselfer in a country where you do not speak the language, know the law or the steps involved to securely import your funds is a fool’s errand. A broker working as your intermediary will most certainly assist you with the legal steps but will also help to save you money overall. Why? Because they can help you to avoid the many pitfalls that you are unaware of.

Just using the negotiation aspect as an example, it is much easier to have an agent finesse making an offer because if you don’t handle it well it can backfire. If a buyer does try to negotiate directly, tempers have been known to flare, sellers can feel insulted and buyers may be told off and the deal ends before it starts.

In the States for example realtors will advise sellers on price point and market properties at reasonable mid range prices set to avoid wasted time on the market. It’s all about business right? But here in Chile we are dealing with the Latin temperament and everything is not “just about business”.

Real estate in Chile is not just about “business is business”. Business here is part of the culture and as such customs intertwine with not only personal relationships & family, it is also about strength over weakness and intensely about pride. A Chilean friend once told me that haggling over property is one of the most popular national sports in the country… second only to following our soccer team.

Since real estate is a long term (hard asset) investment here, many families “put their money in the bank” by owning multiple pieces of land. These assets can be spread out in every direction of the country even including far flung corners of it. So whether buying a property in near-by Pucon or distant Patagonia you may still be dealing with an owner from the capital city of Santiago or even as far away as Miami or New York.
Santiago Panorama
We are not dealing with a bunch of back woods rangers here that are going to give their land away for a few dollars. Chileans are savvy, intelligent and very proud business people. They are not in a hurry to do things and they are not going to be forced into any deals where they need to be sub- accommodative to the buyer’s schedule…quite the opposite.

Things often take time here and you need to know when to push and when not to. If you are ever dealing with a title holder that is a family of people it can easily take a year to close the deal if everyone is not yet on board. Things get done here on a Latin time schedule and in a Latin way not according to the methods in which you may expect them to occur back where you are from.

When foreign buyers from other countries come here to buy property with their western sensibilities they can often run into problems. They do things their own countries way and often don’t even know that they may have come off as offensive or created an unwelcome environment for themselves.  That is just their first mistake…

We have seen first-hand multiple problematic situations occur in the real estate arena here in Chile because of this. So to proactively avoid the weak links in the sale process we have developed a specialized purchasing process. With an understanding of all of the cultural baggage that both buyers and sellers bring to the table we have slightly modified the traditional Chilean property purchasing steps.

By adding these extra measures as safeguards into the customary process we have created a system with more checks and balances and little room for any cultural misunderstandings to occur. Are things always perfect? No of course not but the process goes more smoothly than it previously ever did and makes special allowances for foreign buyers. Those needs for added paperwork can often slow them down due to the countries new banking laws and special requirements to conform to FATCA and other KYC (Know Your Customer) related international monetary rules.

So in summary let me just say that buying a property here is a good way to diversify your portfolio, get your money out of the risky financial vehicles of many failing first world economies.  Chile is a sound politically stable country and private property rights are constitutionally guaranteed. The law is in force, courts are just, contracts are well founded and the purchase of property system public, legally binding and straight forward.

Are we living in a utopia? Well no, of course not… not everything is perfect here. 
Wink

But nonetheless Chile is the best country in Latin America economically, politically, and socially. The country ranks seventh in the world on the 2015 Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom.

To date the banking system is sound, corruption is minimal, direct foreign investment is encouraged, real estate is easily purchased, property rights are well protected, contracts are secure. The legal system is transparent & efficient operating in a Latin construct utilizing a civil law matrix. 

It’s a great country to choose to make a foreign investment and an especially beautiful place to live.

Vista Panorama

 
Reasons to Work with Us
Southern Chile Properties
Reasons to Work with Us
World map made of spices

We live here year round.


…and we’ve been doing this work since 2010.



In Chile:

It might look generally the same… but real estate works somewhat differently here than what you are used to back in your home country. One of the major things to note is that there is no MLS (Multiple Listing Service) with realtors sharing listings and working cooperatively cross-agency. Rather each works independently to gather a portfolio of properties to offer and creates their own inventory. Where there are overlaps, sometimes the relationships can get adversarial…

There are a number of cultural issues to understand as well as the international banking policies that need attention. Also, Chile is not a common law country so the legal system functions distinctively.

Just because you signed a purchase and sale does not yet make you the property owner…there are further steps to complete after signing to ensure that a proper registration occurs. There are many nuances you may not be aware of…so if you want to stave off issues down the road someone you are working with needs to understand all of this. But the system is sound, in consonance with the nation’s goals of forthright legal & economic development and as such property rights are strong.

Buying foreign real estate is not a do-it-yourself kind of process for the uninitiated… it involves a bureaucratic slog. If you know nothing about the system (besides a few sentences that some blogger posted) and you confidently think you can ably proceed alone …you are really dangerously over confident…so please reconsider.

Jeanette PortraitUse a broker and a lawyer. Why? Because they can help you to avoid some pitfalls that you would otherwise be unaware of. What are these pitfalls you ask…?

Well, just using the negotiation aspect as an example, it is much easier to have an agent who understands the system finesse making an offer than trying it yourself. The reason is that if you don’t handle the bid well it can backfire.

When a buyer fumbles a direct negotiation, tempers have been known to flare and sellers are easily insulted by foreign buyers attempting low or poorly presented promissory contracts. In such cases it is not unusual for the prospects to be told off and the deal ends before it starts.

On the other hand, if things are going too smoothly, you might be buying a property with a title defect, some legal issues or paying way too much…but how would you know?

In some countries realtors will advise sellers on price point and market properties at reasonable mid-high range prices to avoid wasted time on the market. It’s all about business right?  But here in Chile we are dealing with the Latin temperament and everything is not “just about business”.

Business is an intertwining of customs, personal relationships, intensely about pride and strength of character. And so, there are many things about Chile you have yet to learn my young Padawan…

Real estate is a long term investment here. It is popular for families to “put their money in the bank” by owning multiple pieces of land. These assets can be spread out in every direction of the country even including far flung corners of it. So whether buying a property in a small rural town in the south or distant Patagonia you may still be dealing with an owner from the capital city of Santiago living ten hours away or even as distant as Miami or New York.

Chileans are savvy, intelligent, proud business people. They are not in a hurry to do things and they are not going to be pressured into any property deals where they need to be sub- accommodative to a gringo buyer’s needs or schedule…quite the opposite.

Things often take a lot of time here (more than you might expect) and you must know when to push and when not to. For example if you are ever dealing with a title involving a family of people it can easily take a year to close the deal if everyone is not yet on board. Things get done here on a Latin time schedule and in a Latin way, not according to the methods in which newcomers may expect them to happen based on where they come from.

When people from other countries arrive here to buy property with their western sensibilities they often run into problems. They bring expectations from their own countries’ way of doing things…and often run out of patience and into issues very soon.

We can’t do things as fast or as efficiently as property brokers back where you come from because things don’t work the same way here. But we understand Westerners and we also know the Chilean process and so we can better assist you than many.

Please read the other sections of our website to see if buying property in Chile makes sense for your particular goals and circumstances.

Welcome to Chile.

Vista of house and mountain

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 Southern Chile Properties
Real Estate Brokers