Buying Property in Margarita
Property in Isla de Margarita can be purchased by a foreign national easily, quickly and without many of the restrictions seen elsewhere in the Caribbean.
The Buying Process
To buy property in Margarita, you will need a passport, and a "RIF" number, which is a local document that can be quickly obtained through a local lawyer.
The buying process can usually be completed within 10 days and if necessary completed after you have left Margarita by giving your lawyer power of attorney to sign the purchase documents on your behalf.
The first step of the buying process is called "opcion a compra" or "option to buy". This usually requires the buyer to pay a deposit of 20% of the purchase price to the real estate agent, or lawyer acting on the buyers behalf. Once the deposit has been accepted, both the buyer and the seller are required to sign an agreement in front of a notary public. Once this agreement has been signed, both parties are legally bound to the sale of the property and the purchase price for the property fixed at the agreed sum.
The final document in the buying process can usually be signed within 10 days, when the remainder of the purchase sum needs to be paid. Both the buyer and seller are again required to visit the notary public and payment is usually made to the seller with a bankers cheque. The purchase agreement is then signed and the title documents handed to the buyer, who is now the legal owner of the property,
As with other matters, it is possible for the buyer to arrange for his estate agent or lawyer to legally represent him in all the above matters, by granting power of attorney.
The closing cost of buying a property in Margarita is US$450 if you sign a contract whilst on Isla de Margarita, but vary between US$1,600 and US$2,500 if you sign a contract in you home country - the costs varying between countries.
The closing costs are an additional cost and not included in the purchase price.
Mortgages are not available in Margarita for foreign nationals, and in any case carry very unattractive interest rates as high as 28%.
Margarita Entry Requirements & Residency
A valid passport and a visa or tourist card are required to enter Venezuela. The tourist cards are provided by the airlines on international flights to Venezuela.
Tourists are usually granted 3 months to visit Margarita. The 3 months can be extended by leaving the country and obtaining a further 3 month entry permit on return. This is most easily achieved by taking a short flight to Curaçao, Trinidad, or Tobago or any other foreign country.
To reside in Margarita, it is necessary to apply for a "Cedula", which once granted needs to be carried at all times and is used as an ID and social security card.
Obtaining a Cedula is relatively easy, but does take time. If necessary you may choose to obtain the assistance of a lawyer.
The Cedula lasts for one year and needs to be renewed annually. Once you have held a Cedula for 5 years, you may apply for residency. Please note that there are different Cedula's, depending upon whether you are working or retired etc. and therefore it is important to apply for the correct Cedula.