Certificado de Tradición y Libertad? Promesa de Compraventa? Escritura Publica? Paz y Salvo Predial?
Certificate of Tradition and Freedom? Promise to Buy and Sell? Public Deed? Peace and Property Rescue?
Certificado de Tradición y Libertad
When buying a property in Colombia, there are some important terms to know. The first is the Certificado de Tradición y Libertad (this is also known as the Title Study). The title study is a document that contains all the ownership records of the property, a history of any mortgages, any liens or legal claims against the property, and whether the owner had registered to conduct work on the property.
This document is essential to go over with your lawyer, as it can be a deciding factor on whether you will continue with the purchase of the property.
When doing the Title Search on my apartment, my lawyer found that there had been a lien on the apartment. One of the previous owners had not paid a bill and so the apartment was not able to be sold until it was paid. This meant an extra month and a half of waiting until the bill was paid, the payment was registered, and the new documentation was issued. I could have decided at this point to move on and find another apartment, but I decided that it was worth the wait.
Read the Documents Closely
Once you are ready to make the purchase agreement on the apartment, you will need to sign the Promesa de Compraventa.
This is the legal document of what is included in the purchase, any repairs to be made, who the contract is between, how much to pay, important dates and any other stipulations before the final payment can be made.
Again, this is the document that you will go over closely with your lawyer, and I recommend choosing a bilingual lawyer to help with clarifying any concerns and doubts.
In addition to the Promesa de Compraventa, you will also need your lawyer for the Escritura Publica, the final step to buying a property in Colombia. This will confirm you as the new legal owner of the property.
Finally, the Paz y Salvo Predial refers to the is a certification from the administration (HOA) board that the apartment has no pending payments or debt to the association/building. It is important to make sure that the previous owners have paid all outstanding bills and administration fees.
Get the Paperwork Right
Be prepared with your paperwork. It is important to decide ahead of time how you will arrange your money and banking.
In Colombia, you can open a bank account which takes about two weeks from start to finish. Banco de Bogotá, Davivienda, BBVA, Banco de Occidente, Banco Popular and Colpatria are some of the largest banks in Colombia.
I used Bancolombia because I had been banking with them and was able to open an account using my cedula (Colombian ID card) and labor contract.
Having a bank account in the country is important because it creates more trust between the seller and the buyer.
In addition to my Bancolombia account, I also used Alianza Valores, a Colombia-based securities firm. I decided to use Alianza Valores because they are the best option for transferring large quantities of money into the country.
They are experienced in working with foreign investors, and they have an English-speaking staff.
With Alianza, you only need a passport to open an account. With the help of Felipe Chavez, I set up an account with Alianza to transfer the money from the United States to Colombia.
Remember to Breathe
Whether you are buying a property in your home country or abroad, there will always be challenges, frustrations, and confusion. I had to remind myself to breathe, find humor in the process, and think of it as a learning opportunity.
I felt confident that I was supported by my agent as well as my lawyer, who were both working as hard as they could to make this opportunity possible. From start to finish, the process took about five months, which is why it is important to be patient and enjoy the process!
Buying an apartment in Medellin was an incredible celebration of my independence and ability to face new and uncertain challenges in my second language. Experiencing the joys and challenges of buying an apartment made me realize that the process can be just as gratifying doing it on your own as it is accompanied by a partner.
Have you bought an apartment in Colombia (or your chosen country?) What challenges did you face?
by: Erin Colton-Enberg