Finding and buying property in Puerto Rico is a bit different than in the U.S. Here are a few things to think about when looking to purchase property.

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You don’t have to look too hard to find reasons why purchasing a vacation home or even a primary residence in Puerto Rico is a great idea. This island nation offers up the beautiful beaches, abundant greenery, and balmy temperatures (around 80 degrees Fahrenheit year-round) that one would expect from a tropical locale.

However, there are several other factors to consider before you jump into a major purchase like real estate. Here are a few things to think about when you’re interested in purchasing property in Puerto Rico.

Property Values

Like the rest of the globe, Puerto Rico suffered economically during the recent recession. This led to a significant drop in property values and a housing market that has yet to fully recover.

This, of course, is good news for anyone looking to purchase property. Whether you’re in the market for a beachfront vacation condo or you’re interested in a more permanent residence, you can still find incredible prices on property. Now is a great time to buy, before property values rebound.

Tax Incentives

It’s always best to understand the laws and taxation of any region before you purchase property, either with the intent of moving there or just visiting periodically. With the economic crisis over the last several years, Puerto Rico passed a number of acts aimed at economic stimulus.

The important ones for those interested in purchasing property in Puerto Rico are Acts 20, 22, and 273, all enacted in 2012. Act 22 provides income tax exemptions on passive income for those who become residents of Puerto Rico (among other things), Act 20 offers tax incentives and exemptions for certain businesses moving to Puerto Rico, and Act 273 provides tax exemptions to eligible International Financial Entities (IFEs), or businesses obtaining appropriate licensure.

All could make it easier for foreigners looking to move their residence and/or their business interests to Puerto Rico.

Infrastructure and Connectivity

A beautiful island atmosphere can make you feel wonderfully removed from the hustle and bustle of the mainland, and indeed, the rest of the world. This is why people visit islands on vacation. Most people still have to work, though.

Buying property in Puerto Rico provides the best of both worlds. Not only do you have world-class beaches and beautiful weather, but Puerto Rico also has the busiest airport in the Caribbean (with many direct international flights), the eighth busiest sea port in the United States and its territories, widespread broadband service (thanks to fiber optic cable running under the sea and state-of-the-art satellite technology), FDIC regulated banks, and a skilled and affordable workforce if you decide to move your business to Puerto Rico along with your residence.

In addition, because Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the U.S., it is easy for Americans to integrate (they use the U.S. dollar as currency and observe many U.S. laws). Travel back and forth is also a cinch since you won’t have to go through customs.

Getting Help

Finding and buying property in Puerto Rico is a bit different than in the U.S. For one thing, real estate agents represent properties, not buyers, so you may have to look at listings of reputable agents and interact with several in order to view all available properties.

The rest of the process is much the same. You can do online research to compare properties (via third-party sites like TasaMax), you should always understand contracts before you sign, and you need to hire a home inspector before you buy. With the right help, you can find your island dream home in Puerto Rico.