Buying real estate in Chile?

We've created a guide to help you avoid pitfalls, save time, and make the best long-term investment possible.

Understand the title deed when buying a property in Chile

Last updated on 

All sources have been thoroughly verified for credibility. Furthermore, a local real estate expert has reviewed and approved the final article.

risks pitfalls buying real estate Chile

Everything you need to know is included in our Chile Property Pack

Exploring property investment in Chile is intriguing. The country offers diverse choices, from beachfront homes to vineyard estates, with great potential for capital appreciation.

However, international buyers may find it difficult to understand the Chilean real estate market, especially when they need to confirm if the "Escritura Pública de Compraventa," which is the official title deed in Chile, is genuine and legal.

We have actually covered this specific document (among others, like the sales contract) in our property pack for Chile.

In this article, we will give some insight to ensure a smooth and legally compliant property transaction in Chile.

However, please do not forget that this blog post is for informational purposes only and that we are not legal experts. It's always advisable to consult with one. They can indeed thoroughly examine your specific situation and provide you with the most appropriate and tailored advice.

What is the Escritura Pública de Compraventa in Chile?

The "Escritura Pública de Compraventa" is a crucial document in the context of real estate transactions in Chile.

This document is essentially a public deed of sale, which serves as the official and legal proof of the transfer of property ownership. It's important to understand its role and implications, especially in the context of Chilean law.

When you buy a property in Chile, the Escritura Pública de Compraventa is what legally transfers the ownership from the seller to you, the buyer. This document is not just a contract between the buyer and seller; it's a formal declaration made in the presence of a Chilean notary.

The notary plays a critical role here, verifying the identities of the parties involved and ensuring that the transaction complies with local laws. Once signed and notarized, the document is registered in the Real Estate Registrar. This registration is what makes the transfer of ownership official and public.

Now, how is the Escritura Pública de Compraventa different from other property documents? In Chile, you might come across documents like the 'Promesa de Compraventa' (Promise of Sale Agreement) or a simple private purchase contract.

These documents signify an agreement to sell or buy, but they do not by themselves transfer property ownership. Only the Escritura Pública de Compraventa, with its formal notarization and registration, can do that.

Owning an Escritura Pública de Compraventa gives you legal rights as the property owner. You have the right to use, rent out, or modify the property (within legal limits and regulations). It also allows you to sell or bequeath the property.

However, it's important to note what this document doesn't do. It doesn't, for instance, automatically clear all previous debts or liens on the property; due diligence is required before the purchase to ensure the property is free of such encumbrances.

For foreign investors, understanding the importance of this document is key. It provides legal security for your investment in Chilean real estate.

When it comes to resale and inheritance, the Escritura Pública de Compraventa ensures that the property can be legally transferred to new owners or heirs.

However, do keep in mind that as a foreigner, there might be additional legal steps or tax implications when it comes to inheriting or reselling the property.

Get the full checklist for your due diligence in Chile

Don't repeat the same mistakes others have made before you. Make sure everything is in order before signing your sales contract.

buying property foreigner Chile

How to verify a title deed in Chile?

The process

Verifying the authenticity of an "Escritura Pública de Compraventa" in Chile is a crucial step in ensuring a secure real estate transaction.

This verification process is important to confirm that the document is legitimate and the property ownership is clear and undisputed.

Firstly, to verify the authenticity of the Escritura Pública de Compraventa, you should contact the Chilean Real Estate Registrar (Conservador de Bienes Raíces).

Each municipality in Chile has its own Real Estate Registrar, and you need to approach the one where the property is located. This government body maintains official records of all real estate transactions, including details about ownership, mortgages, and other relevant legal encumbrances.

By comparing the Escritura Pública de Compraventa with the records at the Real Estate Registrar, you can confirm whether the document is genuine and if the seller is indeed the legal owner of the property.

Notaries in Chile also play a vital role in real estate transactions. They are responsible for the preparation and certification of the Escritura Pública de Compraventa.

Therefore, you can also verify the authenticity of the document by checking with the notary who purportedly prepared and notarized it. Each notary keeps a record of the documents they have processed. If the notary confirms the preparation and notarization of the document, it adds to its authenticity.

Lawyers specializing in real estate can be incredibly helpful in this process. They have the expertise to navigate the legal framework, can liaise with the relevant authorities, and help in verifying documents. A lawyer can check for any irregularities or legal issues with the property or the document itself.

Real estate agents, while useful in finding and negotiating property deals, might not be the best resource for verifying the authenticity of legal documents. Their role is more aligned with facilitating the buying and selling process rather than the legal verification of documents.

Ensure that the names and details on the Escritura Pública de Compraventa match exactly with those in the records of the Real Estate Registrar.

Be cautious if the seller pressures you to complete the transaction quickly without giving you time for due diligence.

Always use a reputable lawyer who specializes in real estate. They can provide valuable assistance in verifying documents and identifying potential legal issues.

Remember, taking the time to verify the authenticity of the Escritura Pública de Compraventa can save you from potential legal troubles and financial losses in the future. It’s a critical step in ensuring a secure and lawful real estate transaction in Chile.

What to check

Understanding the history of a property through its title deed, the 'Escritura Pública de Compraventa', is vital in a real estate transaction in Chile, as it helps in making an informed decision and avoiding legal and financial issues down the line.

To access and trace the property's history, you need to visit the Real Estate Registrar (Conservador de Bienes Raíces) in the municipality where the property is located. This office keeps a detailed record of all transactions, ownership changes, and legal claims related to each property.

By examining these records, you can trace the ownership history of the property and any significant transactions or legal events associated with it.

Understanding the property's past is crucial for several reasons. It helps ensure that the seller has clear ownership and the right to sell the property. It also reveals any patterns or issues that might affect your decision to buy, such as frequent changes in ownership, which could indicate problems.

Checking for outstanding debts or liens against the property is a key part of this process. Liens or debts tied to the property can transfer to the new owner upon purchase. You can find this information at the Real Estate Registrar.

Additionally, checking with the local municipality can reveal if there are any unpaid property taxes or other municipal charges.

If you inherit such encumbrances, you might be legally responsible for settling these debts. This can be a significant financial burden and can complicate the ownership of the property.

Verifying the property's measurements and boundaries as stated in the title deed is also crucial. Discrepancies in these details can lead to disputes with neighbors or legal issues.

To verify this information, you should hire a professional surveyor who can measure the property and compare it with the details in the deed. If there are discrepancies, resolving them might involve legal processes, negotiations with neighbors, or even adjusting the boundaries formally with the Real Estate Registrar.

Zoning laws and land use restrictions are another important aspect to consider. These laws dictate what you can and cannot do with the property.

To find out about these, visit the local municipal planning or zoning office. They can provide information on zoning classifications, building regulations, and other restrictions that apply to the property.

After our research and the feedback collected from our local real estate partners, we have written an article about the risks and pitfalls when buying a property in Chile, you might want to check it out.

Don't sign a Chilean document you don't understand

Buying a property in Chile? We have reviewed all the documents you need to know. Stay out of trouble - grab our comprehensive guide.

buying property foreigner Chile

How to update the title deed after the property transaction in Chile?

After purchasing a property in Chile, updating the title deed, known as the 'Escritura Pública de Compraventa', is an essential step.

This process involves several specific actions to ensure the property is legally registered in your name.

Once the purchase is complete, the first step is to have the Escritura Pública de Compraventa prepared by a notary.

This document is the formal record of the sale and includes details like the property description, the identities of the buyer and seller, and the sale price. The notary public plays a vital role in this process, ensuring that all the legal requirements are met.

After the document is prepared and signed, the next step is to register it at the Real Estate Registrar (Conservador de Bienes Raíces) in the municipality where the property is located. This registration is crucial as it officially records you as the new owner of the property. Without this registration, the transfer of ownership is not legally complete.

Regarding insurance and additional protections, once you have verified the title deed and purchased the property, it's wise to consider several types of insurance.

First, title insurance can protect you against any legal issues that might arise with the title that weren't discovered during the initial verification process.

Additionally, property insurance is advisable to protect your investment against damages due to natural disasters, theft, or accidents. In Chile, considering earthquake insurance is particularly important due to the country's seismic activity.

For foreign owners, understanding Chile's inheritance laws in relation to the title deed is important. In Chile, inheritance laws might differ from those in your home country.

For instance, Chilean law often includes forced heirship provisions, meaning a portion of your estate is automatically allocated to immediate family members, regardless of your will.

If you're a foreigner owning property in Chile, it's crucial to have a clear understanding of these laws and possibly draft a will in Chile that respects these regulations but also reflects your wishes.

Make a profitable investment in Chile

Better information leads to better decisions. Save time and money. Download our guide.

buying property foreigner Chile

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice. Readers are advised to consult with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions. We do not assume any liability for actions taken based on the information provided.