How to Buy Property in Argentina

Have you ever dreamed of owning real estate in Argentina? If so, you are not alone. There are many reasons why foreigners are attracted to the idea of living in this great country.

There is a multitude of factors that motivate people to visit Argentina. Among these are great options for food and drink, lovely landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. After engaging in these experiences first hand, some people are convinced that they should live in Argentina permanently, but they aren’t quite sure how to buy property in Argentina, yet.

Achieving this significant lifestyle change is surprisingly simple. There are just a couple of hurdles to overcome before you can realize your dream of owning Argentinian real estate. While somewhat detailed, the result of owning property in Argentina may be well worth the work.

Becoming a property owner in Argentina comes only after completing a few necessary steps. This includes everything from following governmental regulations to carrying out the buying sequence.

If you want to buy property in Argentina, you need to understand all parts of the process. This article will give you all the information you need to get started. Follow the guidance outlined here, and soon, you will be ready to fully immerse yourself in the Argentinian lifestyle.

Can Foreigners Buy Real Estate in Argentina? 

Yes, it is entirely reasonable to expect that a foreigner can buy real estate in Argentina. All you need to get started is an active passport.

The legal aspects and property rights in Argentina can be a bit more complicated. These complexities are even harder to overcome when you are unfamiliar with local and regional expectations.

Complying with all Argentinian legal requirements is nearly impossible if you don’t speak Spanish. As a first step, be sure to surround yourself with the right professionals.

Find the Experts You Need

As a starting point, there are two kinds of professionals you should find before attempting to buy Argentinian property on your own. Their titles in Spanish are: 

  1. Abogado An attorney
  2. EscribanoA public notary

Utilizing the services of these professionals may save you a lot of time. They can help you ensure that you are completing all the needed paperwork and doing so legally.

These professionals are also necessary for multiple parts of the buying process, as you will later see. For example, your Escribano will likely be responsible for holding your deposit while the rest of the transaction occurs.

Complete the Necessary Paperwork

It is no surprise that there is a lot of paperwork needed before you can buy a property. Here are two documents you will need as a part of the process:

  1. Clave De Identificación (CUIL)
  2. A valid tourist visa

You may be surprised to find that a tourist visa alone qualifies you to buy property in Argentina. But, indeed, you won’t need to prove any residency status before purchasing land. 

However, if you are not a legal resident of Argentina, you will need to find a representative that is. This is required to pay property taxes.

What is the Step-By-Step Process for Buying Real Estate in Argentina?

Buenos Aires, Argentina housing.

Let’s assume you have assembled the right team and completed the initial paperwork. You may be tempted to start looking at properties right away. But before you do, you should know about all parts of the buying process in advance.

Below is a list of the components of the Argentinian property buying process.

  • Offer (Reserva)
  • Contract (Boleto)
  • Down Payment (Sena)
  • Title Transfer (Escritura)

Odds are you are unfamiliar with those terms and their meanings. Let’s look at how each of those items plays a role in your pursuit of property in Argentina.

1. Initial Offer (Reserva)

A reserva, also known as a reserva de compra, is the same as an initial offer. Completing a reserva is the first after you have found the property you want to buy. This document will contain some essential information, such as the following:

  • The price you offer for the property
  • The closing date for the sale
  • The name of your Escribano 
  • Any special conditions for the purchase

Along with this vital information, you will want to include a deposit to show your seriousness in buying the property. Often, this number comes out to about 10% of the asking price. However, this number can vary significantly based on location and property value.

At this stage, the prospective buyer needs to do some due diligence. You should request any site plans, floor plans, or records of the property’s history. Neglecting this may cost you later on if the property comes into your ownership.

After completing your reserva, the seller has three options:

  1. Accept the offer
  2. Reject the offer
  3. Counter the offer

In many cases, the third option is most likely to occur. So, be ready to negotiate for the property you want.

2. Contract (Boleto)

After reaching an agreement, the next step is to draft a private contract known as a boleto. This is the official agreement between buyer and seller that lists all details of the potential sale.

In Argentina, it is common for sellers to receive 30-50% of the total property payment at this stage. The purpose of this high percentage is to help the seller find a new property to replace the one they are selling.

A boleto typically appears within fifteen days of the seller accepting your reserva. However, in some cases, there may be no need for a boleto. This happens most often when the buyer and seller agree on a price and want to complete the transaction as quickly as possible.

3. Down Payment (Sena)

The sena is equivalent to what we call a down payment. At times, the sena can serve as a replacement for the boleto.

A sena typically falls between six and ten percent of the total property cost. It is also a way of legitimizing both sides’ commitment to the sale.

If the buyer backs out after making a sena, they lose the money they put down. If the seller backs out at this point, they must pay double the sena to the would-be buyer.

4. Title Transfer (Escritura)

This is the final part of the buying process. The escritura is the title transfer that happens between the buyer and seller on the closing date.

Here the Escribano must have the old property deed. They also must have all preemptive research complete before this date.

It is important to know that, as a buyer, you will need to pay the entire offered price in cash at this time. You should also know that you can usually pay for the property in pesos or US dollars. 

If it is not convenient to do so, you do not need to be present at the escritura. As an alternative, you can grant power of attorney to your abogado, Escribano, or another third party.

Cost (fees) Associated With Buying Real Estate in Argentina 

A picture of Argentina real estate transaction costs with checkmarks next to the fees.

Along with the cost of the property itself, there will be several additional expenses you need to pay. Here are most of the common payments you will have to complete.

  • Cost to hire a notary – 2% of the closing property value
  • Additional notary fees – 2% of the closing property value
  • Realtor fees (if applicable) – 3-4% closing property value depending on the region
  • Stamp fee – 1.8% of closing property value
  • Registration fee – .2% of closing property value

Along with these fees, there are some that the seller must cover. These include an equal stamp fee and the title transfer fee.

Further Tips and Restrictions

We have covered the process and fees associated with buying a property in Argentina. Now let’s go over a few tips that will make you that much more successful in purchasing Argentinian real estate.

Paying Property Tax

After purchasing your property, you will need to pay taxes on it each year. Luckily these taxes are not astronomically high.

There are two parts to your annual property tax. The first is the asset tax, and the second is the personal goods tax. When combined, these two amounts rarely exceed 1% of the total value of your property.

An Argentinian accountant must complete your tax payment on your behalf.

Financing

Don’t bother trying to finance your property purchase in Argentina. The interest rates for foreigners are exceptionally high. 

There is a good reason for this. Since most foreign buyers don’t have any proof of income in Argentina, Argentinian banks are hesitant to approve any loans. To resolve this, simply apply for a loan in your home country.

What is the Zona de Seguridad?

Generally speaking, buying a property in Argentina as a foreigner is not too complicated. The exception to this is the property in the zona de seguridad.

The zona de seguridad is an area of protected land along the border of Argentina. Whether you are a foreigner or not, purchasing land in this secured zone comes with far more legal restrictions. This leads to a far more complicated buying process.

How to Find Properties for Sale in Argentina (what websites to use)

The final step is here. Now that you know how to buy property in Argentina, start your search with one of these websites:

Those are the three most popular real estate sites in use in Argentina. With thousands of listings, you are sure to find a property that meets your needs.

Conclusion

If you want to buy property in Argentina as a foreigner, there is little standing in your way. Use the guidelines described here to help you as you progress through your buying process.

Begin with hiring the correct professionals to help you. Make sure you have the few prerequisite forms to begin making offers.

Then work your way through the four common steps in the property buying process. After that, all you need to do is cover your fees and keep up with your taxes. 

If you follow these steps, buying Argentinian real estate shouldn’t be too difficult. In less time than you might expect, you’ll realize your dream of owning a beautiful property in Argentina.

Related: Cost of Living in Nicaragua

Sources:

https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/real-estate-purchase-process-in-buenos-aires-argentina-in-2020-30505

http://www.bbiargentina.com/services/buying-real-estate-in-argentina#:~:text=Foreigners%2C%20under%20most%20circumstances%2C%20must,financing%20offered%20by%20a%20seller.&text=There%20is%20an%20annual%20%E2%80%9Casset,you%20own%20property%20in%20Argentina.

https://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Latin-America/Argentina/Buying-Guide 

https://foreignbuyerswatch.com/2019/10/03/the-3-best-real-estate-websites-in-argentina/

southamericaliving.com/argentina-living-abroad-guide-purchasing-real-estate-listings/