Guide to Buying Real Estate in Nicaragua as a Foreigner
As a rising star in Central America, Nicaragua is becoming an increasingly popular destination for real estate investment. The country boasts one of the fastest-growing economies in the region, with a growth rate of 5.2% over the past five years, and the tourism industry is thriving, with 1.4 million foreign visitors in 2015 generating $450 million. Moreover, the low cost of living in Nicaragua makes it an appealing destination for vacation, full-time living, or retirement real estate purchases.
Foreigners interested in purchasing real estate in Nicaragua should note that there are no restrictions on foreign ownership. However, it is advisable to find a reliable real estate agent and trustworthy attorney before proceeding. The legal process for purchasing real estate in Nicaragua can be tricky, and a good attorney can ensure that the seller has the legal rights to sell the property and that the land is not involved in any legal disputes.
It is also recommended to purchase title insurance when buying real estate in Nicaragua. Cadastral is the value given to a piece of real estate that is often lower than its actual value to keep taxes low. It is important to have a surveyor’s map duly approved by the Cadastral office to define the boundaries of the property and avoid disputes.
To finalize the purchase, certain documents such as a Public Deed and a No Objection Letter may be required, depending on the property's history. Once the purchase is complete, fees such as attorney fees, title registration fees, and transfer tax or property gains tax may apply. It is typical for a 10% deposit to be kept by the real estate agent until the final closing, and it may take 1-6 months to have the property registered.
Foreigners interested in buying real estate in Nicaragua should talk with other foreigners living or owning real estate in Nicaragua to learn about good deals, reputable agents and attorneys, and which regions or developers have been deemed worthy of doing business with. While regions or developers that have little foreign business may still be worthwhile to invest in, it is advisable to inquire about the reasons behind the lack of foreign investment.