Anyone can purchase real estate in Uruguay, regardless of nationality as locals and foreigners are treated equally and enjoy the same legal protection. This applies to all individuals, local entities, or foreign corporate vehicles. All that is required is a valid passport and proof of the legitimacy of funds. The Uruguayan Government has clear rules and regulations, as well as many tax incentives for certain property investments. Foreigners can carry out any economic activities they desire.
It’s always a good idea to consult with a local real estate expert when considering buying property in a foreign country. When buying real estate in the county district of Maldonado, make sure your realtor of choice is a licensed broker as this is required by law. They should display their license No. on their webpage and on official documents. A good realtor should provide guidance tailored to your specific situation and needs, speak several languages, and also offer after-sales services.
The buyer, with their selected realtor, chooses a property and agrees through the agent on a price with the seller. The buyer’s “Escribano” (notary) drafts a “Boleto de Reserva” to secure the purchase terms based on this agreement. The buyer deposits 10% of the sales price into an escrow account. A penalty of 10% of the purchase price is set if either party breaches the contract, known as the “Escritura de Compraventa”. The seller provides all property-related documents, including the title deed, preventing a third-party sale. The title, history, and tax situation are reviewed over 30-45 days. A closing date is set for final payment, document signing, property transfer, and public registration, usually within a 2 months period.
- Realtor commission – 3% plus VAT
- Transfer tax (ITP) – 2% of the government-assessed cadastre value of the property (usually much less than the actual property value). Both the buyer and the seller will pay 2% of the cadastre value.
- Registration and stamp duties – 1-3%
- Notary – 3% plus VAT
- Translations of legal documents and other legal services (if needed) – price varies
- Occasionally, some sellers finance part of the purchase price for a short term of up to 2 years at the prevailing interest rate.
- Bank mortgages are difficult to obtain and only for a maximum of 50 % of the property value and with proof of income within Uruguay for a minimum 2 years.