Buying a home in Puerto Rico is a unique experience, to say the least. Every facet of the transaction brings with it some small wrinkle or curveball that you may not see coming. Don’t get me wrong, you’re still jumping through the same hoops and meeting the same requirements if you were to buy a house stateside. In Puerto Rico, however, they may just come at different stages of the process in some cases or the process itself is handled in an unorthodox manner. Some facets are skipped or omitted altogether.
Securing a mortgage for your home is just one of the steps that comes with its own set of challenges when buying property in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico law doesn’t necessarily hold the same mandates and conditions that you might expect to find anywhere else within the United States; things are just done differently. Here are some of the challenges you’re likely to face when you’re trying to obtain a mortgage in Puerto Rico.
You may be thinking to yourself that English is the official language in Puerto Rico, so how is there a language barrier? Just because English is the official language on the Caribbean island, classified as a U.S. territory no less, doesn’t mean that everyone who lives there is fluent in English. Far from it, in fact. So you’re going to find yourself with a decided advantage if you are fluent in Spanish. If not, you’ll want someone by your side to help. This can prove to be a problem when you’re trying to close a transaction that requires so much paperwork since communicating is much simpler to accomplish verbally.
You’ll find that getting a rate lock from a bank is next to impossible in Puerto Rico, so you’re never sure if you’re getting that 5% rate for the duration of the loan or if it’s going to jump up a half point or more just 45 or 60 days later. That can make getting into any deal an uneasy proposition fraught with confusion and worry.
The process for closing a deal on a home in Puerto Rico can be troubling and nebulous at best due to less than organized title-keeping. There is a lax approach to the requirements for saving these types of records. Documents are sometimes incomplete or missing entirely. Unless you have a firm grasp of Puerto Rico law you may not know what you need or what is missing from the chain of title on any property you’re interested in purchasing.
To overcome these obstacles, you’ll want to work with an expert fluent in Puerto Rico real estate law and mortgages. This is as true when purchasing Vieques real estate or property in San Juan.