Buying real estate in Honduras as a foreigner?

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Buying property in Honduras as a foreigner: a full guide

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buying property foreigner Honduras

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

Honduras, with its breathtaking scenery, rich cultural history, and welcoming locals, draws in many foreigners looking for real estate investment opportunities.

But navigating the complexities of buying property in a foreign country can be tricky, especially when it comes to the legal framework and regulations in place.

That's why this guide is here to help! We'll outline how the property market works in Honduras in a straightforward and easy-to-comprehend way, covering everything you need to know.

Also, for a more in-depth analysis, you can check our property pack for Honduras.

Can you purchase and own a property in Honduras as a foreigner?

If you are American, we have a dedicated blog post regarding the property buying and owning process in Honduras for US citizens.

Foreigners interested in buying real estate in Honduras can indeed own property, but there are certain nuances and regulations that differentiate their rights from those of local citizens.

Firstly, as a foreigner, you can own land in Honduras, but there's a limit to the amount you can purchase directly. The law typically restricts you to 3,000 square meters (about 0.74 acres) in urban areas or an equivalent value in rural areas, particularly for residential purposes.

This limitation ensures that large tracts of land are not concentrated in the hands of non-residents.

However, your rights as a foreign property owner are quite similar to those of a local Honduran. You have the right to buy, sell, and inherit property.

But, it's important to note that there are areas, especially those near the coast and borders, where restrictions are more stringent. In these areas, direct ownership might not be possible, and you might need to set up a Honduran corporation to purchase land.

Regarding the difference in treatment based on your country of origin, Honduras does not generally discriminate against foreigners based on their nationality when it comes to property ownership. The rules are fairly uniform for all non-residents.

However, certain bilateral treaties or international agreements might influence specific cases, so it's always good to check if your country has any special agreement with Honduras.

Living in Honduras is not a prerequisite for buying property there. You don't need to be a resident, nor do you need to hold any specific type of visa or permit purely for the purpose of purchasing property.

This makes Honduras an attractive destination for investors and retirees who may not wish to live there year-round.

Regarding governmental authorization, typically, you don't need a specific permit from a government institution to buy property as a foreigner.

However, the process involves legal checks to ensure the property is free of liens and encumbrances, and this due diligence is crucial.

One aspect that differs significantly is the question of a minimum investment.

Honduras doesn't generally impose a minimum investment requirement for foreign property buyers, which is unlike some other countries that have investment thresholds for foreigners to qualify for property ownership or residency.

Can you become a resident in Honduras by buying and owning a property?

Gaining residency in Honduras through real estate investment is indeed possible, and it's a pathway that several foreigners take advantage of.

This process involves specific steps and requirements, which I'll outline for you.

To start with, Honduras offers a residency program for investors, including those who invest in real estate. To qualify for this program, you need to make a significant investment in the country, which can include purchasing property.

However, it's not just any amount of investment that qualifies; there is a minimum threshold that you must meet. The minimum investment was around $50,000 USD, but this amount can change, so it's important to verify the current requirement.

Once you've made the investment, the next step is to apply for residency. This process involves submitting various documents, including proof of your investment, a clean criminal record, and other personal documentation.

After submitting your application, there's usually a waiting period while your application is being processed. This can take several months, so patience is key. Once your application is approved, you're granted residency in Honduras.

Now, about the type of residency you get. Initially, you'll likely receive temporary residency, which is typically valid for a few years. During this period, you're expected to maintain your investment in Honduras.

After fulfilling certain conditions, including the duration of your temporary residency, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency.

Permanent residency offers more stability and fewer restrictions compared to temporary residency. And importantly, after holding permanent residency for a certain number of years, you may become eligible to apply for Honduran citizenship.

Gaining citizenship would grant you the full rights of a Honduran national, including the right to vote.

As for how many people have used this scheme, exact numbers are hard to pin down without current data, but it's a popular option among expats, especially those from North America and Europe, looking to retire or invest in Honduras.

Thinking of buying real estate in Honduras?

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buying property foreigner Honduras

Market metrics

You can find fresh and updated data in our pack of documents related to the real estate market in Honduras.

Based on the the the GDP per capita indicator, it is apparent that Honduran people have become 2.7% richer throughout the past 5 years.

If the population's wealth grows, it can lead to a heightened demand for real estate, potentially resulting in price increases in the future.

Looking at the data reported by Numbeo, we can see that rental properties in Honduras offer gross rental yields between 7.7% and 10.4%.

With such high rental yields, foreign investors can enjoy significant returns on their investment, making it an attractive avenue for wealth creation.

To know more, you can also read our dedicated article: is it a good time to buy a property in Honduras?

Daily life of an expat

The life of an expat in Honduras can be both exciting and challenging. On the one hand, Honduras offers a unique cultural experience, with its vibrant cities and beautiful beaches. On the other hand, the country has a high rate of poverty and crime, which can be a source of concern.

Living in Honduras can be quite different than life in other countries. For example, the cost of living is much lower than in many other countries, making it a great place to live on a budget. The climate is also warm and tropical, making it an ideal place to spend time outdoors.

Honduras is a very welcoming country, with people who are friendly and helpful. Expats can find a wide variety of activities to enjoy, from exploring the stunning coastline to taking part in local festivals. There are also many opportunities to learn Spanish and other local languages, as well as to experience the unique cuisine and culture of the country.

Overall, life as an expat in Honduras can be an incredibly rewarding experience. With its stunning scenery, vibrant culture, and friendly people, Honduras can be the perfect place to start a new life.

What are the best places to purchase a property in Honduras?

This table summarizes some of the best places to buy a property in Honduras.

City / Region Population Average Price per sqm (HNL) Strengths
Tegucigalpa ≈ 1.2 million 6,000 - 12,000 Capital city, business hub, cultural heritage, historical sites
San Pedro Sula ≈ 800,000 5,000 - 10,000 Industrial center, commercial activity, transportation hub
Roatán ≈ 50,000 8,000 - 15,000 Tropical island, coral reefs, tourism, scuba diving
La Ceiba ≈ 200,000 5,000 - 10,000 Caribbean coastal city, natural beauty, adventure tourism
Copán Ruinas ≈ 6,000 6,000 - 12,000 Mayan ruins, archaeological site, cultural heritage
Utila ≈ 4,000 7,000 - 14,000 Island paradise, diving destination, relaxed atmosphere
Gracias ≈ 15,000 5,000 - 10,000 Colonial town, Celaque National Park, coffee plantations

Do you need a lawyer to buy a property in Honduras?

When purchasing a property in Honduras, engaging a local lawyer can be essential to navigate the legal requirements and ensure a successful transaction.

One important document they can assist with is the Purchase Agreement (Contrato de Compraventa), a legally binding contract between the buyer and seller that outlines the terms and conditions of the sale.

The Honduran lawyer can also help with conducting a Property Title Search (Búsqueda de Títulos de Propiedad) to verify the property's ownership status and identify any potential legal issues or encumbrances.

Furthermore, they can guide you through the process of obtaining necessary permits and approvals, such as approval from the local municipality or relevant authorities.

They will ensure that all applicable taxes and fees, such as the Property Transfer Tax and Notary Fees, are paid correctly and in compliance with Honduran laws and regulations.

What are the risks when buying real estate in Honduras?

We've got an article dedicated to the risks associated with purchasing property in Honduras.

When buying a property in Honduras, there are several risks that may not be common in other countries.

One risk is the potential for land disputes. Honduras has a long history of unresolved land disputes, and it is not uncommon for individuals to claim ownership of the same land. In some cases, the legal dispute may be ongoing for years, making it difficult for buyers to determine who has legitimate ownership of the land.

In addition, Honduras has a high rate of crime and violence, which can make it difficult to protect a property from theft or vandalism. Buyers should also be aware of the risk of natural disasters, such as hurricanes and floods, which can damage property and cause financial losses.

Finally, buyers should be aware of the potential for corruption in Honduras. There is a risk that officials may demand bribes in order to approve property transactions, or that they may engage in other forms of corruption that could lead to financial losses.

real estate Honduras

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

What are the documents needed for a real estate transaction in Honduras?

When buying a property in Honduras, you will need the following documents:

1. A valid passport for identification purposes

2. A certificate of title or deed of transfer for the property

3. A valid power of attorney, if the buyer is not present

4. A Certificate of No Encumbrance, to ensure the property is free of debt and other obligations

5. A Certificate of Tax Payment, to confirm that taxes have been paid for the property

6. A Certificate of Good Standing from the National Registry, confirming that the seller is the legal owner of the property

We review each of these documents and tell you how to use them in our property pack for Honduras.

How should you approach negotiations with people from Honduras?

Understand the local culture to negotiate a better property deal in Guatemala:

  • Establish a friendly rapport by greeting them with a warm "Buenos días" (Good morning), "Buenas tardes" (Good afternoon), or "Buenas noches" (Good evening).
  • Show genuine interest in their lives and ask about their well-being and family, as Hondurans value personal connections.
  • Demonstrate patience and avoid rushing the negotiation process, as locals prefer a relaxed and unhurried approach.
  • Engage in small talk before diving into business matters, allowing you to build trust and establish common ground.
  • Always be polite and use formal language when addressing locals, employing respectful terms such as "señor" (sir) or "señora" (madam).
  • Negotiate in person rather than relying solely on digital communication, as face-to-face interactions carry more weight in Honduran culture.
  • Be prepared for potential haggling, as bargaining is common in local markets and smaller businesses.
  • Maintain a flexible mindset and be open to compromise, as negotiation in Honduras often involves finding a mutually beneficial solution.

Can foreigners obtain a bank loan in Honduras?

Yes, foreigners can obtain property loans in Honduras. The Honduran government allows non-residents to apply for property loans, subject to certain conditions and requirements.

To obtain a property loan in Honduras as a foreigner, it is generally required to have a valid residence permit and meet the lending institutions' criteria in the country.

Some banks in Honduras that can grant mortgages to foreigners include Banco Ficohsa, Banco Atlántida, and Banco de Occidente.

However, it's useful to know that mortgage rates in Honduras for a 20-year term range between 10% and 14%, which may pose challenges for borrowers in accessing affordable funds. As a foreigner, you should explore alternative financing options for a smoother borrowing experience.

What are the taxes related to a property transaction in Honduras?

Here is a breakdown of taxes related to a property transaction in Honduras.

Tax Description Calculation Who pays
Rental Income Tax Tax on rental income generated from the property 25% of rental value for non-residents Owner
Capital Gains Tax Tax on the profit from the sale of the property 10% on the net capital gain (the difference between sale price and acquisition cost) Seller
Property Tax Annual tax on the property's value Between HNL 1.50 and HNL 5.00 per thousand depending on property value and location Owner
Property Transfer Tax Tax on the transfer of property or real estate transactions 1.5% of the property's sale value or appraised value Buyer
Municipal Taxes Local taxes imposed by the municipality where the property is located Typically calculated based on the property's assessed value and local tax rates set by the municipality Buyer or Seller (varies)

What fees are involved in a property transaction in Honduras?

Below is a simple breakdown of fees for a property transaction in Honduras.

Fee Description Calculation Who pays
Property Registration Fee Fee paid for the transfer of property ownership and registration with the Public Registry of Property 0.15% of the property's value Buyer
Notary Fees Fees charged by a notary for their services in overseeing the property transfer process Ranging from 3% to 5% of the market value of the property Buyer
Real Estate Agent Commission Fees paid to the real estate agent for their services in facilitating the property sale Usually 5% of the property's value Seller

Buying real estate in Honduras can be risky

An increasing number of foreign investors are showing interest in Honduras. However, 90% of them will make mistakes. Avoid the pitfalls with our comprehensive guide.

buying property foreigner Honduras