Tips on Buying a Beach Condo in Puerto Rico (2023)

White sandy beaches, balmy year-round temperatures, glitzy hotels, an eclectic Caribbean-Spanishculture, and architectural remnants of its colonial past all make Puerto Rico a truly one-of-a-kind destination. For many U.S. citizens, these factors also make the island a compelling investment and lifestyle ideal. Because Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, there are no restrictions on Americans acquiring property on the island.

Another advantage is that U.S. citizens don’t have to go through customs when traveling betweenPuerto Rico and the U.S. mainland—this can be a big time saver.

Key Takeaways

  • You may have to deal with a number of agents in your property search in Puerto Rico; it's advisable to deal with reputable, certified agents, or nationally-recognized real estate brands.
  • You can use TasaMax, a third-party service, to acquire sales data about the local real estate market.
  • Determine what is and isn’t included in thehomeowners association (HOA) fee.
  • Hire a licensed home inspector to ensure the unit is in sound condition.
  • You can obtain a home equity loan on your U.S. residence or draw from a U.S. line of credit to purchase your Puerto Rican condo in cash.

The Risk and PossibleRewards

Puerto Rico has experienced a serious debt crisis. In 2019, the country filed for bankruptcy, in one of the largest bankruptcy filings in U.S. history. The island emerged from bankruptcy in 2022, causing a boom in the local real estate market.

(Video) Top 5 Tips For Buying Condos In Puerto Rico

Consider the risks, and if you decide to proceed, condos in particular offer foreign buyers access to some of the best beach locations at a fraction of the cost of purchasing a house or land. You can snag a two-bedroom waterfront condo for as little as $180,000, depending on the area and level of luxury you desire—not bad for a low-maintenance vacation home in a beautiful location.

Other condo drawsinclude the ability to generate rental income when you are not using the property, which can help offset ownership costs.

Buying Property in Puerto Rico

If you are looking to purchase property on the island, keep these six factors in mind.

1. Real Estate Agents

Buyer’s agents aren’t as common in Puerto Rico as they are in the U.S., as brokers acquire their own listings to which they steer potential buyers. This means you may deal with a number of agents in your property search. Once a broker has shown you all of its exclusive listings, you’ll have to move on to another broker and its portfolio.

As with any real estate purchase, it’s a good idea to deal with reputable, certified agents—or nationally recognized real estate brands. Local databases include the Multiple Listing Service of Puerto Rico.Other comprehensive sites worth checking out are Point2Homes and be forewarned: The databases may not be up to date.

Use agents who live and work in the area or community where you’re looking to buy, and who speak Spanish. They can advise you on local lifestyle and cultural issues. Burglary and drug-related trouble, for instance, are rife in some areas.

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One of the best ways to get connected with a reputable realtor is to ask around the local community. Keep in mind that if youattempt to do a property search on your own, you’ll need conversational Spanish. Even though English is also an official language, not everyone speaks it fluently.

2. Research

Chances are you’re unfamiliar with the local market and what constitutes a legitimate price point. Fortunately, there are third-party services like TasaMax that provide comparable sales data to financiers and real estate professionals.

You can subscribe to the service yourself (though much of the website uses the Spanish language instead of English). To be on the safe side, it is a good practice to obtain a report on any property that captures your interest. Be sure to compare the quality (and cost) against other condos in the area.

3. Management and Fees

Prior to purchasing, it’s important to determine what is and isn’t included in thehomeowners association (HOA) fee. HOA fees typically cover general maintenance for the building, as well as any common areas and facilities, insurance for the complex, and manned security.

Obviously, the more privileges provided and the more manpower required to operate the complex, the higher the cost to its owners.

4. Inspections

Whether the condo is brand new or has been lived in, a licensed home inspector can help ensure the unit is in sound condition. This should extend to the main condo construction and shared facilities. Be sure you personally visit and closely inspect the property. No amount of research is as reliable as seeing the condo and its facilities firsthand.

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5. Financing and Legals

While there’s no obligation to purchase in cash, you can obtain a home equity loan (on your U.S. residence, if you have one), or draw from a U.S. line of credit to purchase your Puerto Rican condo in cash. However, local lending is also an option. Just be prepared for an extraordinary amount of paperwork. Also, have a lawyer review your contract to ensure that your interests are protected.

Mortgage lending discrimination is illegal. If you think you've been discriminated against based on race, religion, sex, marital status, use of public assistance, national origin, disability, or age, there are steps you can take. One such step is to file a report to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

6. Tax Breaks

In 2012, Puerto Rico passed legislation shielding new residents from paying most federal income taxes. Since then, the island is swiftly emerging as a hot new tax haven for Americans.

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If you reside on the island for a minimum of 183 days annually—and meet other qualifying criteria—you may pay minimal (if any) taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains under the Act 22 tax law. These tax incentives are attracting more entrepreneurs from the U.S. mainland and plenty of new, luxury developments.

If you reside on the island for a minimum of 183 days annually and meet other qualifying criteria, you may pay minimal, if any, taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains under the Act 22 tax law, passed by Puerto Rico in 2012.

The Bottom Line

Buying real estate in Puerto Rico offers a number of logical investment perks for Americans, including flexible finance possibilities, zero immigration concerns, and amazing tax breaks (should you qualify). And while the island’s money crisis may turn up some appealing real estate deals, the instability does come with great financial risk.

If this doesn't deter you, it is always advisable to work with reputable, certified professionals who are bilingual in Spanish and English. Obtain comparable sales data to ensure the price point is reasonable. Organize a property inspection from a licensed contractor. Visit the property personally. And clarify all fees associated with managing and purchasing it upfront. If the local economy and real estate market regains momentum, you may reap financial rewards (in addition to the lifestyle perks) for your investment.

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Correction: July 19, 2022—This article has been edited to clarify that both Spanish and English are official languages in Puerto Rico.


Is buying a beach condo a good investment? ›

A beachfront condo has the potential to be an excellent long-term investment. Over the course of many years, you could easily earn several times what you paid for your investment. Not only that, but most owners of beachside real estate enjoy the added bonus of having a vacation home for their personal use.

What to look for when buying a beachfront condo? ›

What to Consider When Purchasing a Beach House
  • Construction and foundation. ...
  • Property management or HOA fees. ...
  • Roof. ...
  • Proximity to water. ...
  • Window durability. ...
  • Outdoor living area. ...
  • Flood risk. ...
  • Potential rental income.
Jul 27, 2018

Is buying property in Puerto Rico a good investment? ›

Buying real estate in Puerto Rico offers a number of logical investment perks for Americans, including flexible finance possibilities, zero immigration concerns, and amazing tax breaks (should you qualify).

What is the best time of year to buy a beach condo? ›

The best deals on vacation homes tend to be at the very end of peak season. For beach homes this falls right around Labor Day. Many time sellers will be locking up their properties for months knowing there won't be many renters and might be looking to get it off of their own hands.

Can you make money off a beach condo? ›

Generally, though, successful beach house vacation rentals could typically earn anywhere from $20,000 up to $50,000 in yearly rental income, although some could make less, and others, way more.

What are the pitfalls of buying a condo? ›

The cons of buying a condo
  • Fees. The luxurious amenities provided by condo complexes come at a cost to the residents. ...
  • Condo association regulations. Choosing to live in a condo means you have to abide by community rules. ...
  • Resale challenges. ...
  • Lack of privacy. ...
  • Delinquency. ...
  • No land ownership. ...
  • Limited storage.

What adds the most value to a condo? ›

Five Tips to Improve Your Condo's Value
  1. Purchase new appliances. Old appliances can make a beautifully decorated room look archaic. ...
  2. Paint and redo flooring. Floors, walls, and ceilings are the first things that people notice in a room. ...
  3. Touch up the bathrooms. ...
  4. Finish the basement. ...
  5. Upgrade the kitchen.
Dec 28, 2022

What is the best month to buy a beach house? ›

Fall. According to a Trulia study, the best time to buy in coastal markets is in the early fall, particularly September and October. The reason for this is there are still a number of houses on the market, but also a lot less competition. Less competition will mean there is a better chance for negotiating a better deal ...

Do condos always go up in value? ›

Yes, condos generally appreciate in value. That's true of any piece of property—as long as it doesn't have wheels or come from a trailer park. But, if you're trying to decide between a condo or a house, keep in mind that a single-family home is usually going to grow in value faster than a condo will.

Are property taxes high in Puerto Rico? ›

The applicable tax rates range from 8.03 to 11.83 per cent depending on the municipality where the property is located. Property taxes collected by CRIM are deposited into a trust fund at the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico.

Are property taxes paid in Puerto Rico? ›

Any person engaged in trade or business in Puerto Rico, who on January 1th of any given year owns personal property used in such trade or business is subject to the personal property tax in the municipality where it is located, unless otherwise exempt.

What are the disadvantages of living in Puerto Rico? ›

Cons of Living in Puerto Rico
  • Poor Economy. Unfortunately, Puerto Rico has a somewhat poor economy. ...
  • Cars are More Expensive. Cars are much more expensive in Puerto Rico than on the mainland. ...
  • Private Schools are Necessary. ...
  • Cultural Differences. ...
  • Difficulty Shopping Online. ...
  • Dangerous Hurricane Season. ...
  • Poor Public Transportation.

Are condos a good investment 2022? ›

Buying a condo can be a great investment if you use it as your primary residence. Rather than paying monthly rent, you'll be building equity with each mortgage payment. Condos are also relatively low-maintenance, so they are a great option for first-time homebuyers.

What are the pros and cons of buying a condo? ›

Pros and Cons of Buying a Condo
Build home equityNo land ownership
May be easier to afford than a single-family homeHOA and maintenance fees
Location, location, locationAbide by the HOA rules
Increased securityMay have limited parking
3 more rows
Jul 15, 2021

Do condos appreciate as fast as houses? ›

In general, condos appreciate in value at a slower rate than single-family homes. The median sales price of a condo was up nearly 10% year-over-year in October 2020, according to a report from Redfin. But the median sales price of single-family homes was up more than 15% in the same timeframe.

What are the 5 benefits of owning a condo? ›

7 Benefits of Owning a Condo
  • You'll Have Access to Amenities.
  • There's a Welcoming Community.
  • Find the Perfect Location.
  • Never Worry About Maintenance Again.
  • They're Safe and Secure.
  • A More Affordable Option.
  • Freedom.
Nov 14, 2018

Are there benefits to owning a condo? ›

Condos offer residents the opportunity to embrace homeownership without the hassle of yard work, snow shoveling, or home repairs. Building hallways, entryways, and community spaces are also taken care of by a cleaning or maintenance staff, so you only have to worry about your living space.

Is it a good idea to buy a beach house? ›

Buying a beach house can bring an excellent return on investment, a reliable income stream, and access to a delightful vacation spot. Many beach house investors purchase homes that they subsequently rent out during peak tourism times.

Why are condos higher risk? ›

Condos pose a higher risk to lenders because the complex is governed by a homeowners association, which oversees daily maintenance, performs major repairs and maintains the budget for the entire complex.

Is owning a condo better than a house? ›

Less maintenance – If you own a house, all of the upkeep of the property falls on you. If you don't want to worry about maintenance as much, a condo might be a better fit. More perks – Unlike a house, many condo communities come with amenities like a pool or playground, and features like security systems.

What decreases property value the most? ›

These 19 things can hurt your property value
  1. Deferred or neglected maintenance. ...
  2. Home improvements done wrong or not built to code. ...
  3. Outdated kitchens and bathrooms. ...
  4. Shoddy workmanship. ...
  5. Bad or ugly landscaping. ...
  6. Frail or damaged roof. ...
  7. Noise pollution. ...
  8. Registered sex offenders in the area.
Jan 28, 2022

Do condos hold their resale value? ›

Resale Value

Condominium resale values have been increasing since the end of the housing market crisis in 2007. Incredibly, resale values have seen five consecutive years of positive growth, paving the way for buyers and sellers to increase their ROI over a short period of time.

What upgrades are worth it in a condo? ›

5 Simple Upgrades to Increase Your Condo's Market Value
  • Go Granite. Minor kitchen upgrades are one of the changes that can bump your condo to the top of the list with buyers—while also boosting your asking price. ...
  • Refresh Appliances. ...
  • Bring On the Bathroom. ...
  • Reflect on Flooring. ...
  • Step Up Your Storage.
Sep 28, 2021

What are the cons of having a beach house? ›

Maintenance Costs

One of the biggest concerns among homeowners near the ocean is the cost of upkeep that comes with owning beach property. The corrosive nature of saltwater, potential flood damage, and expensive insurance threaten to cut holes in your pocket.

What are the cons of living in the beach house? ›

9 Drawbacks of Owning a House on the Beach
  • High price of homeownership. For starters, beach houses are expensive. ...
  • High taxes. ...
  • High insurance costs. ...
  • Storm and flooding risk. ...
  • Sand…everywhere. ...
  • Saltwater corrosion. ...
  • Noise and people. ...
  • Maintenance and renovation costs.

What should you not do 6 months before buying a house? ›

Don't buy anything before you close on your home. Avoid car shopping and don't apply for any new credit. Don't add to any existing balances leading up to a home purchase. Your goal is to reduce debt and keep your credit report clean.

Are condos good long term investments? ›

Condos are often seen as an excellent investment because they tend to appreciate value at the same pace as real estate. That means if you buy a condo for $100,000 today and sell it in 10 years for $150,000, you've made a solid profit — especially compared to single-family homes.

Why do condos not appreciate in value? ›

On the other hand, when you purchase a condominium, you only own the specific unit. No land = less value. Also, it's likely that more condominium units can fit on single plot of land than single family homes, as condos are often built up instead of out. This higher supply of condos can in turn drive prices down.


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