The term “clearing services” is not commonly used in Puerto Rico when referring to a real estate transaction. As a matter of fact, unless one is deeply submerge in real estate transactions which are handled in the English language, the term is not used at all.
In Spanish, we do use the term “título limpio” which stands for “clean title.” We also use the term “limpiar el título” which translates as “cleaning the title.” I am being literal: “limpio” in Spanish is “clean” in English.
Having noted the differences, the end result is the same: A title which allows the new owner to properly records his/her title, and also grants him or her the opportunity to secure a loan to be guaranteed with a mortgage.
Clearing a title is normally seen as a legal task here in Puerto Rico. This viewpoint derives from the inevitable reality that (in Puerto Rico) the correct recording of a title falls upon the shoulders of the notary, and in Puerto Rico only a lawyer can become certified as a notary.
For purposes of this article, I am going to give you an example which I hope anyone reading this article can relate to.
Imagine that your car would not start one morning. The car has been behaving greatly. I had this happened to me about a week ago. I had been travelling from Clearwater, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia, then to Enterprise, Alabama and back to Clearwater in a period of 5 days. The car had been behaving greatly. The day after I completed the trip the car would not start.
Now, this car was a loaned to me by a good friend in Clearwater, but my friend was in California at the time. I could not reach him and I did not know what to do. I wanted to have the car handled, and I wanted to make sure that I delivered the car back to my friend in perfect condition. Nevertheless, since it was not my car and I am not a mechanic, I did not know what to do to resolve the situation.
I then decided to call the car dealer who had sold the car to my friend. The customer service person provided me with all the information on what I needed to do to handle the situation. By the end of the day, the car had been fixed, my friend was informed and I happened to return the car in a better condition than what it was when I received it.
When the car faltered I was in a condition of “not-knowing” what to do to handle the situation. At that point in time I was stuck, meaning that I could not make progress. I then figured out a way to find someone who knew what needed to be done.
What I described above is the same situation one can find himself with regards to title clearing services in Puerto Rico: not knowing what to do, an entity or an individual can find itself in a no-progress condition or, worst, may even decide not to benefit from doing business in Puerto Rico at all.
Someone who knows how to properly clear a title pursuant to the stringent demands of Puerto Rico Law, can have that title efficiently cleared, hence granting the parties the opportunity to close on their transaction. Once the transaction is closed under the watchful eye of the lawyer/notary, the lien release process can be executed, that being the subject of another post on this blog.
Please let me know if you have any questions on this subject, or if any ideas come to mind with regards to performing real estate closings in Puerto Rico. My e-mail address is SLampon@LamponLaw.com at your service. Remember that your questions also give me ideas for future articles.
Very truly yours,
Santiago F. Lampón