Real Estate in Chile – 5 Tips for Investors

With the traditional economies of the west seeing more and more uncertainty each year, some investors have been starting to look more closely at emerging economies. Apart from Asia, South America seems nowadays one of the most interesting spots to invest. The usual candidates all have their pros and cons. While Argentina suffers from legal uncertainty and Brazil from still widespread corruption and crime. Still they are by far the best known and biggest countries.

However, Chile has gained on them over the last 10 years or so. Chile offers a very balanced place: There´s high literacy and education, the highest average income (although still not evenly distributed), very good infrastructure, and well-working institutions. Also to be mentioned, the low levels of corruption on the institutional level.

On the other hand, Chile offers both for the institutional and private investor a wide range of interesting objects. For the institutional investor, or the investor who is primarily looking for rentability, Chile has Tourism projects, and more important, agricultural land and mines.

For the private investor who may be looking for a second home or a piece of land, there are some great deals out there, be it a lakeshore land in the south´s lakes region, prime agricultural land at less than 5.000 USD per hectar or just a beachhome in Vina del Mar or further North.

The five things you should know when investing:

1. Can anyone purchase land in Chile?

Yes. But what you need to purchase land in Chile, is a so called RUT, similar to a social security number. It´s emitted by the Chilean tax authority and it is easy to get. You will get it without any problems but you have to apply for it personally in Chile at the tax office (Servicios Impuestos Internos).

2. How can I make sure the property I buy is legally all right and the seller is the owner?

When you have found the property you were looking for, you should contact a lawyer to check the property´s legal limitations and ownership. The lawyer will ask for the information at the Conservador de Bienes Raices, the Chilean Institution that keeps all records for all properties. You can also ask for the record there yourself. What you need is the ROL-number, the property´s ID number.

3. Looking for farmland

If you are thinking about investing in farmland (because food prices ARE going to rise), it all depends if you intend to farm it yourself or would like to rent it out to other farmers. In the first case, probably you will want land that can produce exportable fruits, such as grapes, nuts or apples. Then, look in the Regions close to the Metropolitan Region: V. and VI. Region. If you would like to rent the land out, we recommend to look further south, where you will find land that is cheap and favours crops that do not require a long investment period such as maize or corn.

4. Have the Mapuches in mind

The major tribe of Chilean Indians are the Mapuche. They have been granted some land after it all had been taken from them earlier by the colonial rulers. Now the problem is that the Mapuche believe that land can not belong to nobody and they are legally not entitled to sell the land to people who are not Mapuche. If they sell it anyway, the contract may be illegal. If you buy in the south (VIII-X Region), have your lawyer check this point. In other regions it is usually not a problem.

5. How to know when is a good time to invest in Chile

After the Chilean central bank has announced to buy 50 millions of USD every day until the end of the year, the dollar has gained about 5% against the Chilean Peso. It looks probable though, that the peso in the medium term will make good its loss, and even rise to higher levels than ever before. The reason is Chile´s copper. It´s the major export of the country and its price has risen. The other major export, fruits, also have seen higher prices over time. If these trends continue, the Peso will rise further. This could make it more expensive for you in the future. Although – nobody can foresee exchange rates.

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