A constant challenge for my practice as a real estate lawyer, has been explaining to a non-resident of Puerto Rico how a real estate transaction in Puerto Rico works. My biggest “enemy” in doing this task, are the misconceptions some individuals have on the subject.
To help you have the answers that you need, here are some misconceptions which I normally have to handle.
The Puerto Rico Registry is seriously backlogged
Unfortunately, this statement is absolutely true at this point in time. The reason I consider this to be a “misconception” is because the backlog does not stop future transactions from occurring. The reason for this lies within the involvement of a title insurance company. Whenever documents have been pending too long, at Lampon & Associates we involve a title insurance company who in turns reviews all pending documents and, if it approves the transaction for closing, it is in fact assuming all responsibility for the unrecorded documents. In reality, title insurance companies only approve transactions for closing when they are confident that the pending documents can and will be recorded.
Real estate transactions in Puerto Rico are too complex to understand
I grant that real estate transactions in Puerto Rico are characteristically “complex” when compared to the manner in which most real estate transactions are handled across the United States of America, with the noticeable exception of the State of Louisiana. Nevertheless, whenever I hear someone utter this misconception to me or any member of my team, I know there is one certain way in which this confusion can be erased: through knowledge. The only way I know someone who is not from Puerto Rico will reach a reasonable level of comfort about realizing a real estate transaction in Puerto Rico, is by carefully and mindfully presenting that person with the knowledge it needs to understand the proposed transaction.
Documents for transactions in Puerto Rico are only done in Spanish
Anyone wishing to purchase a property in Puerto Rico and is told that the closing documents will only be drawn in Spanish, should walk away from that office or person and look for someone else to help him or her with the transaction. While Puerto Rico law allows for documents to be prepared in Spanish and the laws themselves are in fact written in Spanish, real estate documents can be drafted in any language favorable to the parties, as long as they are also translated into either Spanish or English, or maybe even both is convenient to the parties. At my law firm, as a general rule we draft documents in English. Whenever one of the parties does not speak English, we draft the documents in both English and Spanish.
Nobody in the Puerto Rico Government speaks English
Perhaps a true statement would be that a majority of government employees do not speak English, but nowadays I am not even sure such a revised statement would be true. We are regularly finding that many agencies we deal with on a daily basis, are enjoying the support of bilingual staff. Nevertheless, it is usually not a problem for us at all since all our staff members are fully bilingual and we usually serve as the clients’ representatives.
Contact us today
If you want more information on this or help with your real estate transaction, contact us and we will do what we can to help you.