1.) You need a Notary Public to intervene in the transaction. The Notary Public in Puerto Rico is always an attorney. This gives the real estate transaction a formality and assurance that the transaction has been done according to law.
2.) The Notary Public that is involved in the transaction is an impartial party to the transaction, which means that it doesn’t matter who is paying for his services, the notary cannot favor any of the parties involved.
3.) There is a Property Registry in Puerto Rico. It is the Notary Public’s responsibility to file (present) the deed in the Registry in order for it to be qualified and approved by the Registrar. When that happens the title (deed) gets recorded.
4.) You might still want an extra warranty. A Title Insurance Policy can be issued at closing or after the closing. In Puerto Rico this requirement is not mandatory for any closing. The rationale behind it is that there are protections and warranties that Puerto Rico’s Civil Code and Notary Law that compel the Public Notary to include in the Deed. However, even if these weren’t included in the Deed, you can still enforce them.
5.) The CRIM is the agency that is in charge of the property tax accountability for all municipalities in Puerto Rico. The value a property was given when appraised by the CRIM, will be the amount of property tax that has to be paid. This value varies by property and it depends solely on the CRIM appraisal of the property and is not necessarily, in most cases, correlated to the value of the transaction.
6.) Property Tax – Exemption of the first 15K: The CRIM confers an exemption on payment of property tax to the first 15K dollars exclusively on your main residence. Meaning it does not apply to second homes. If the CRIM appraisal of the property is below 15K, you may not pay property tax at all. It is a case by case situation.
7.) Execution of the Deed of Sale: Buyer and Seller have to appear in front of the Notary to execute the Deed. The notary will call and coordinate with the parties and their agents the execution of such Deed. 24-48 hours before closing date, a draft of the Deed of Sale and a Closing Disclosure Statement will be provided for the parties review.
8.) Power of Attorneys: The PoA in Puerto Rico receives the same treatment of a Deed, similar to that of a Sales and Purchase Deed or a Will. This means that after executing a PoA, the Notary has to present it for recordation at the Power and Wills Registry. This can be an inconvenient delay to the transaction, as it takes around 7-15 days to get recorded.