Buying real estate in Uruguay is a straightforward matter. This country has an excellent system of property registry and a well-organized process for property purchase; buying here is very low risk. Every property transaction is processed by an escribano, who is a hybrid of a real estate attorney and a notary. The escribano’s role is defined by law and includes title verification prior to closing. In a way, due diligence is built into the purchase process.
But keep in mind that the escribano is only verifying that the transaction is safe and sound… not that the property you’ve chosen is necessarily the best for your intended purpose. You’ll need to decide this on your own, or with the help of a broker or attorney who is accustomed to working with foreign investors and clients.
Finally, if you are buying with any agricultural land, make sure you know the land’s productivity rating and that you’re paying a fair price in accordance with that rating. You can check the rating of any piece of land in Uruguay by looking it up on the government’s CONEAT rating map.
A productive land purchase in this country is an appealing option for investors. Uruguay’s strong commodity sector, lack of natural disasters, and abundant water supply combine to create a strong argument in favor of an agricultural investment in this part of the world.
Real estate in Uruguay is typically priced in dollars because of a history of fluctuations in the value of the peso. You can find some rentals in pesos, but even in rentals, at the high end it’s usually rented in dollars. Uruguayans do not usually invest in title insurance, but it is available.
Uruguay has no restriction on foreigners owning property.
If you are seeking to diversify your life internationally, owning a chacra in Uruguay may fit the bill perfectly. A chacra in Uruguay is a piece of land smaller than 100 hectares (can be as small as a half-hectare; bigger than 100 hectares or so (247 acres), and a chacra becomes an estancia in this part of South America.) This investment can often be self-sustaining and generally costs less than other types of property purchases, as they are often found away from the more expensive beach areas. This is an option that is right for an increasing number of individual investors.
While a chacra may serve as a vacation home for the time being—or a normal residence—they can often be set up to operate off the grid, for those who would like that independence. Finally, chacras generally cost less, as they are often found away from the more expensive beach areas.
Shopping for a chacra in Uruguay, you’ll find that the most expensive ones are often part of a development, rather than off on their own. Both approaches offer advantages. With the developed version, a chacra typically comes with electricity and a maintained road, as well as a front gate. But they can also be quite high end (usually near the coast) with elegant club houses, restaurants, and pools. We’ve seen 5-hectare chacras go for US$55,000… but we’ve also seen them priced at US$350,000.
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