Buying Property in Argentina
Even though I've written about this in the past, I want to do another post on property ownership. This will be a summary post that gives the key points of each aspect of buying/owning property here.
I would like to retire in Buenos Aires. I just saw a great property that is for sale by owner. I will pay cash for it, so financing isn't an issue, but do they have title search companies? What is the procedure since I am buying it through the owner? Are there transfer taxes, and who pays them. Are there annual taxes, etc? What about home owners insurance, etc? As you can see I am starting on my quest and don't know much.
Foreigners should forget about finding financing in Argentina. It isn't available and when it is available, the interest rates are typically outrageous. If you don't have the cash, you'll have to get a loan in your home country and use the money to buy a property here in Argentina. The main problem is that if you can't show an income and a credit history here in Argentina, the local banks don't want to work with you. They don't care if you have income or assets in the U.S. or anywhere else.
There is a stamp tax in Buenos Aires of 1.25% for both the buyer and seller when transferring the title of a property. The stamp tax differs in the various provinces. This tax is waved for your first property purchase. So, generally expatriates do not pay this. If you plan to be buying more than one property then you'll be paying it.
Here the title search is done by a notary or "escribano". It is the notary's responsibility to uncover any problems with the title. Argentina has a sophisticated and complete title registry that allows for the easy tracing of property ownership. Your notary will inform you if there are any problems with your property's title. Notary fees will be anywhere between 1% and 4%, depending on what notary you choose.
There is an annual "asset tax" or "personal goods tax" that must be paid if you own property here. It will usually amount to 1% of the value of your property. The tax return must be prepared by your accountant here in Argentina and submitted on your behalf along with payment. Don't forget to pay your taxes!
Real Estate Agents
Real estate commissions are usually 3% for buyers and 3% for sellers. In my opinion, real estate agents here are not as good and not as ethical as the ones you'll find in the U.S. I would recommend using them only if you cannot handle buying or selling a property on your own.
Homeowners insurance can be purchased from almost any of the major banks here in Argentina. Expect to pay about 50% more here than what you'd pay for similar coverage in the United States.