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Understand the Compromiso de Compra Venta in Uruguay

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When it comes to buying real estate in Uruguay, making sure you fully grasp the property sales contract is essential.

Indeed, not fully understanding the document you will sign can lead to financial losses, including the forfeiture of deposits, payment of penalties, unexpected costs, legal expenses, and potential poor investment decisions.

We've heard countless stories of people making costly mistakes when signing their property agreement in Uruguay. We want to help you avoid the same experience.

We'll give here a very brief overview regarding the property sales contract in Uruguay ; if you want a full checklist, please check our property pack for Uruguay.

What is the Boleto de Reserva / Compromiso de Compra Venta in Uruguay?

In Uruguay, the property purchase agreement is known as the "Boleto de Reserva" or "Compromiso de Compra Venta".

This agreement is an essential part of the real estate transaction process. It outlines the terms and conditions of the property sale, including details like the price, payment schedule, and any other specific conditions agreed upon by the buyer and seller.

The Boleto de Reserva is a legally binding document. Once signed, it commits both the buyer and the seller to the transaction under the agreed terms.

For the buyer, it serves as a guarantee that the seller will not sell the property to someone else, while for the seller, it confirms the buyer's intention to purchase and secures the transaction.

One key aspect of the Boleto de Reserva is the deposit. Typically, when this agreement is signed, the buyer pays a deposit, usually around 10% of the total property value. This deposit is an integral part of the purchasing process and demonstrates the buyer's commitment.

If the buyer decides to back out of the deal without a valid reason, they risk losing this deposit. Conversely, if the seller backs out, they are usually obligated to return the deposit to the buyer, often with an additional penalty.

For international buyers or non-residents, the process is largely the same, but there might be additional considerations. It's important for foreign buyers to be aware of any legal or financial implications in their home country when purchasing property abroad.

They might also need to obtain a tax identification number in Uruguay (RUT) and open a local bank account for transaction purposes.

The Boleto de Reserva is typically signed after the buyer has decided on a property and has agreed on the price with the seller, but before the final deed (Escritura) is signed and the property is officially transferred.

This stage is crucial as it formalizes the intent to purchase and sell the property, setting the stage for the final legal transfer of ownership.

Compared to other countries, the property purchasing process in Uruguay is relatively straightforward, but it still involves several legal steps to ensure the rights and obligations of both parties are clearly defined and protected.

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What should be included in the property purchase agreement in Uruguay?

In Uruguay, the property purchase agreement, known as "Boleto de Reserva" or "Compromiso de Compra Venta", must adhere to certain requirements to be legally valid.

The overarching law governing real estate transactions in Uruguay is the Civil Code (Código Civil), which outlines the general requirements for real estate contracts.

A typical property purchase agreement in Uruguay should contain the following mandatory clauses:

Mandatory Clause Description

Identification of the parties

Full names, identification numbers, and addresses of both the buyer and the seller.

Description of the property

A detailed description of the property, including its location, size, boundaries, and any relevant physical characteristics.

Purchase price

The agreed-upon price for the property.

Payment terms

Details on how and when the payment will be made. This often includes the amount of the deposit and the schedule for any remaining payments.

Transfer of ownership

A clause stating that the ownership of the property will be transferred from the seller to the buyer.

Date of possession

The date when the buyer will take possession of the property.

In addition to these mandatory clauses, several additional clauses can be included:

- These might relate to obtaining financing, the sale of another property, or satisfactory results from property inspections.

- Clauses outlining penalties if either party fails to fulfill their obligations under the agreement.

- Any other specific terms agreed upon by the buyer and the seller.

The agreement can also include various conditions or contingencies. For example, the sale might be contingent upon the buyer obtaining financing or selling their current home.

Another common contingency is the satisfactory completion of a property inspection.

In Uruguay, it's essential for the property purchase agreement to be authenticated. This is usually done by a notary ("escribano público"). The notary plays a crucial role in the transaction, ensuring that all legal requirements are met and that the agreement is duly recorded.

The role of the real estate agent in Uruguay is primarily to facilitate the connection between buyer and seller and to assist in negotiating the terms of the sale.

However, the real estate agent does not usually play a direct role in drafting the legal agreement. This is typically handled by the notary, who ensures compliance with Uruguayan law.

What's the signing process like?

In Uruguay, the signing process of a property purchase agreement, or "Boleto de Reserva"/"Compromiso de Compra Venta", involves several key steps and requirements.

Both the buyer and the seller must sign the agreement. It is a bilateral contract, meaning it involves two parties - in this case, the buyer and the seller.

However, "the buyer" or "the seller" can indeed be multiple people.

For example, a married couple or business partners can jointly buy or sell a property. In such cases, all individuals involved must sign the agreement.

Both parties need to provide certain documents and information for the signing process. This typically includes personal identification (like a passport or ID card), proof of address, and any other relevant documents pertaining to the property, such as title deeds.

Here is the signing process timeline:

Signing Proces Description

Agreement Drafting

Initially, the agreement is drafted, often with the help of a notary. This stage includes negotiation and finalization of the terms.

Review and Approval

Both parties review the draft and make any necessary adjustments.


Once the terms are agreed upon, the parties meet to sign the document. This usually happens within a few weeks after the initial agreement to buy/sell the property.

Remote signing is possible, especially with advancements in digital technology and considering the needs of international buyers.

However, this often still requires the involvement of a notary and adherence to specific legal protocols to ensure the validity of the signatures.

There is no fixed deadline for signing the agreement - it depends on the mutual agreement of the buyer and seller.

Once signed, the agreement is valid until the conditions within it are fulfilled, typically culminating in the transfer of property ownership.

After signing, the contract must be registered with the local authorities. This is usually done by the notary, who ensures that all legalities are properly observed and the contract is recorded in the public registry. This registration is crucial as it serves as official proof of the transaction and the change in ownership.

Amendments to the contract after signing are possible but require the consent of both parties. Any changes must be formally documented and, depending on their nature, may also need to be registered.

The timeframe for completing all necessary paperwork and approvals can vary.

Generally, it takes a few weeks to a few months from the signing of the "Boleto de Reserva" to the finalization of the sale, which includes the transfer of funds, the final deed signing, and the registration of the new ownership.

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How is the payment handled when signing a property purchase contract in Uruguay?

When entering a property purchase agreement in Uruguay, understanding the financial aspects is crucial.

Here's a breakdown of what you need to know.

When you sign the sales agreement, typically known as "Boleto de Reserva" or "Compromiso de Compra Venta", a down payment is usually required. This down payment is often around 10% of the total property value, but this can vary depending on the agreement between the buyer and the seller.

In addition to the down payment, there may be other upfront fees or costs associated with the signing of the sales agreement. These can include notary fees, real estate agent commissions, and any legal fees if you are using an attorney. These costs vary and should be clarified beforehand.

The payment is generally made to an escrow account managed by the notary or the real estate agent. This adds a layer of security to the transaction, ensuring that funds are only released when all conditions of the sale are met.

The due date for the down payment is typically at the time of signing the agreement.

However, the schedule for the remainder of the payment will be outlined in the agreement and can vary.

There are tax implications for both the buyer and seller.

The buyer is usually responsible for property transfer taxes, which can be a percentage of the property value. It’s important to clarify this beforehand as it can be a significant cost.

The down payment amount can sometimes be negotiated with the seller. This depends on the seller's willingness and the market conditions.

If the sale falls through, the conditions under which the down payment is refundable should be clearly stated in the agreement. For example, if there's a failed inspection or financing contingency, the agreement might specify that the down payment is refundable.

It’s possible to use a mortgage loan for the down payment, but this depends on your financial arrangements and the lender's policies. Some buyers use their personal funds for the down payment to simplify the process.

An attorney or real estate agent can play a crucial role in handling the payment process. They ensure that all financial transactions are conducted legally and properly, and they can offer guidance on the due process and any potential financial risks.

You should definitely request a receipt or confirmation of payment when making the down payment. This serves as proof of the transaction and is important for your financial records.

Both parties have tax implications to consider. The seller may be subject to capital gains tax, while the buyer should account for property transfer taxes and any other associated fees.

What are the potentials risks and pitfalls?

You might be interested in reading our article about the common risks and pitfalls surrounding a property transaction in Uruguay.

Understanding the risks and pitfalls in the property purchase agreement during a real estate transaction in Uruguay is important to avoid potential complications.

Both the buyer and seller can withdraw from the property purchase agreement, but the circumstances and consequences depend on the terms outlined in the agreement itself.

Generally, if a party withdraws without a valid reason stipulated in the contract, they may face penalties.

Unlike some other countries, Uruguay does not typically have a legally mandated cooling-off period for real estate transactions. Once the agreement is signed, it is considered binding unless specific contingencies within the contract allow for withdrawal.

If a buyer cannot secure financing and this was specified as a contingency in the agreement, they can usually back out of the deal.

However, if there was no such clause and the buyer fails to complete the purchase due to lack of financing, they might lose their deposit or face other penalties.

If one party fails to fulfill their obligations as outlined in the agreement, the penalties will depend on the terms of the contract.

Typically, the non-complying party could lose their deposit or be required to pay compensation. The specifics would be detailed in the agreement itself.

Real estate transactions in Uruguay might differ from those in other countries, particularly regarding cooling-off periods, deposit requirements, and the legal process for registering property.

For example, in some countries, a cooling-off period is mandated by law, giving buyers a few days to reconsider their decision without penalty.

Buyers and sellers should be aware of risks such as misrepresentation of property conditions, issues with property titles, and unforeseen legal complications.

Ensuring clear and detailed contracts, conducting thorough property inspections, and verifying property titles are essential steps to mitigate these risks.

Disputes arising during the agreement are typically resolved through negotiation between the parties, often with the assistance of their legal representatives. If a resolution cannot be reached, the matter might be taken to court.

Discovering defects or issues with the property after signing can be problematic. The course of action largely depends on the terms of the agreement and whether the seller disclosed these issues beforehand.

In some cases, the buyer may seek legal recourse if it's proven that the seller knowingly withheld information about property defects.

Disputes are not uncommon and can arise over issues like property boundaries, defects not disclosed, or failure to meet contractual terms.

These are usually resolved through legal means, either by renegotiation, mediation, or court proceedings.

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.