You hear it in the news how Puerto Rico is a buyers market, How there’s thousands of Repos, Foreclosed Properties ready to purchase at dirt cheap prices, or maybe you read an article where it states that PR is one of the top places to retire, or maybe your friends came from a vacation from PR and are hype on how you could save money by relocating your business and show you how can you legally save thousands on taxes on the law, Tax Act 20 & 22, sure sounds interesting.
Whatever the reason you may have to buy or Invest in Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico has it all. House hunting in Puerto Rico may be slightly different or challenging of what you’re acustomed in the states. To help you along your journey here’s some of them with posible solutions.
1) Narrow it Down to a Specific Town:
Puerto Rico is a small island in size but not narrowing down to a specific town may find it to be hard to find a Real Estate Broker to help with your big list of properties & with your house hunting search.
I’m from Jersey, In the states for example a Agent may show 5 properties in a a “few hours” where the distance is minutes away and is always local, rather here in the island 5 in a “Day” because the buyer “US Mainlanders”, may be interested in a house in Fajardo, another in Manatí and so on, to have an idea from Fajardo to Manati is roughly around 2 hrs in distance one way for just one house, and thats alot of time invested.
To solve this problem: I suggest for you to visit several times Puerto Rico and visit different areas and towns and when you’re sure of the places for whatever reasons, then call a Real Estate broker, having a specific town in mind.
2) Interview your Agents without them knowing:
Real Eatate Agents & Broker get paid when they make a sale in other words “commissioned base”.
After researching the best place that fits your needs from my recommendation is to research different agents, ask for referrals, search the Internet, check what others are saying about them. I’m not saying to become an FBI agent, but its just to get to know a little bit more about them.
After you have you’re list, ask questions for example: What areas they work at? Is there a specific area they concentrate in? Are they only showing there own listing or are they willing to cobroke and show a variety of properties even though that means that they may split there comision? Are they willing to work outside there comfort zone?
To solve this problem: Having all these questions answered will help you decide in what route to go, even though it’s a referral or not and will help you decide if you prefer to use different agents to help you along the way or maybe compensate one of them for there willingness to help you search a home in a expanded home venture.
3) The language Barrier:
Even though, Puerto Rico is a US Territory, English is a second language and believe it or not the mayority even though may not be fluent in English understand what you’re saying and maybe the person next to you could help you translate or is fluent in English.
To solve this problem: Ask for referrals & search the internt “Yes, use Google”. There’s alot of Agents that specialize in working with those Mainlanders Relocating & Also with Investors (Act 20/22) & have the knowledge in were they’re more Expats in a Specific area if that’s what you’re looking for.
4) Bad Reception in Puerto Rico:
You’ll find that you call a list of Realtors or Brokers to find that they don’t answer your calls. Here we have Claro, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, Open Mobile… and it doesn’t matter the company depending on the area you’re located you’ll have ZERO signal but you may say ” There’s no excuse because I left a text and a voice mail to call me back”. If that’s the case it could be due to two problems the language barrier or because you stated that you’ll be here for a short period of time and in those cases they won’t take you seriously because for there understanding you’ll be wasting there time.
The solution for this problem: I highly recommend you to download Whatsapp. Due to bad signal here in Puerto Rico, we use this app, its just like google hangouts, to comunicate with others via Internet and they’re mostly reachable.
5) Precualification letter or Evidence of Funds:
In order for a Real Estate Broker to show you homes you will need to coordinate ahead of time maybe weeks. Also, some will ask you for some paper work. You’ll need a Pre- Qualification letter from a bank or show them some kind of evidence of the existing funds if the purchase is cash.
If you’re not willing to cooperate, then more likely they’re not going to show you homes even though you may be a serious buyer and have all the money in the world to buy the whole neighborhood.
Because of those few that say they can buy but in reality they’re just here in Puerto Rico to only look. Therefore, it’s not fair for the Realtor to have him running all over the island wasting time and gas if you’re in fact not a serious buyer.
We should put ourselves in their shoes and be very cooperative. If the case is that you’re just looking or have curiosity, let them know and please compensate them for there time.
The solution for this problem: If you’re not a serious buyer, what I mean about serious is that you’re not thinking in purchasing any time soon. Send them your email they will gladly send you pictures and info on what’s currently on the market.
6) Real Estate Websites in Puerto Rico:
The MLS for locals is called Clasificadosonline. This website is an excellent place to sell your items absolutely free and also post any clasified ads. Favorite site to locate real estate properties wether if it’s to post a property, locate a rental or a home. This site is the go to place for locals. The problem here is that you’ll find after searching for homes that the mayority are already sold, the process could be a little dissapoining. Besides clasifcados online, there’s also Zillow.com, Point2homes.com, Craiglist.com, Realtor.com, Hudhomestore.com and many more.
The solution for this problem: Call A Real Estate Agent or a Broker. They specialize in Real Estate and know what’s the available inventory in Puerto Rico.
We love to hear how was your experience in buying property here in Puerto. We love to chat!!
The Five Star Real Real Estate Group