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.
Buying 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.