Are you dreaming of owning your own piece of paradise in Bogotá, Colombia? Look no further! In this guide, I will take you through the exciting and yet often frustrating process of buying an apartment in one of the most vibrant and beautiful cities in South America.
This guide is based on my own experience. As I’m currently going through the process of buying my own property in Bogotá. And while I’m finding it exciting and relatively straight forward in theory, the reality is if you’re not prepared for the process it will have you tearing your hair out in frustration.
With that said, Bogotá has a rich culture, thriving economy and stunning landscapes. Offering a unique opportunity for investors and homebuyers alike. So, let’s dive in and uncover the secrets to unlocking your paradise in Bogotá!
How to buy an apartment in Bogotá as a foreigner?
Can foreigners buy property in Colombia?
If you are a foreigner like me and wondering whether you can buy property in Colombia, the answer is a resounding yes!
The Colombian government welcomes international buyers and foreign investment. And it has implemented policies that make the process relatively straightforward in theory. In practice, the currency controls and local perception of all foreigners being ‘rich’ complicates the process. But only a little.
If you have all of your home country tax returns up to date and can show those returns along with three (3) months of bank statements from the account you’ll be sending money from, the currency controls become a non issue.
As for the local Colombian perception that all foreigners are ‘rich’ or ‘suckers’ to be fleeced with inflated prices, using a local to negotiate on your behalf is highly recommended.
Whether you are looking for a vacation home, an investment property, an airbnb or you are planning to relocate to Latin America, Bogotá is the ideal destination. The real estate market in the city is booming, offering a wide range of options to suit your needs and preferences.
Benefits of buying property in Bogotá
There are numerous benefits to buying property in Bogotá, Colombia. Though for me it’s the social aspects of the city and the quality of life that make Bogotá the perfect home base.
Bogotá’s vibrant cultural scene, including world-class museums, theaters and festivals ensures that there is always something exciting happening. I find it impossible to be bored or lacking social interactions in Bogotá and Colombia more generally. There’s always something to do.
As a city, Bogotá offers a high quality of life. With excellent private healthcare, education and a very low cost of living. Additionally, the city’s strong economy and relatively stable political environment make it an attractive destination for investment.
Another advantage of buying property in Bogotá is its beautiful natural surroundings. With its proximity to the stunning Andes Mountains and lush green valleys, the city offers breathtaking views and a pleasant climate year-round. Whether you enjoy outdoor adventures or simply appreciate the beauty of nature, Bogotá has it all.
Rules and regulations for buying real estate in Colombia
Before embarking on your journey to buy property in Bogotá, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations that govern real estate transactions in Colombia. One of the key requirements is obtaining a Colombian Tax Identification Number (NIT), which is necessary for any property purchase.
Additionally, it is essential to work with a reputable lawyer who specializes in real estate to ensure a smooth and legally compliant transaction. Your lawyer will obtain the Colombian Tax Identification Number (NIT) and conduct all of the necessary checks for you before purchase.
Don’t skip property checks or forgo using a reputable lawyer. If illegal money or narco associations were found to have been present in your new property or the building in which it is located, you can have your property seized by the Colombian government.
It is critically important in Colombia to conduct thorough due diligence on any property you intend to purchase. Including verifying ownership, title and any existing liens or encumbrances.
Foreign buyers should also be aware of the restrictions on purchasing property near international borders, coastal areas and national parks. These areas may have specific regulations that limit or prohibit foreign ownership.
How to buy property in Bogotá
Now that you have a good understanding of the regulations, let’s delve into the process of buying property in Bogotá. The first step is to engage the services of a reliable real estate agent who has in-depth knowledge of the local market. They will help you identify suitable properties based on your budget, preferences and desired location.
You should also check the website www.metrocuadrado.com. This is the largest real estate site in Bogotá. And you should look to see what prices are listed in your preferred area. I would also suggest checking for the property you have been shown by the real estate agent to ensure they aren’t inflating the price because you’re foreign.
Once you have found your dream apartment, it is time to make an offer. Negotiating the price and terms of the sale is a crucial step in the buying process. Do not rely on your real estate agent to guide you through this stage and ensure that your interests are protected.
Your lawyer will have instructed you on what you should and should not do in negotiations. For example, agents may try to undervalue the property in the final contract to avoid or minimise closing costs. And you should absolutely not allow them to do this.
You will also find that negotiating with Colombians can be quite frustrating. The property will have an inflated price (by up to 30%). It’s expected in Colombia because Colombians will negotiate the price back down. But as a foreigner they will all consider you a rich sucker to be ripped off.
So my advice to you is to use a local Colombian friend or buyers agent to knock the property price back down. Once I’ve viewed a property I want and know what I want to pay, I instruct my buyers agent, who is my close friend, on what I want to pay and what I want included in the sale.
My agent will then view the property separately from me and negotiate the price and inclusions I want. The real estate agent won’t know I’m connected to that buyers agent or that the agent is working for me, a foreigner, until the price has been agreed.
Once an agreement is reached, a purchase contract will be drafted, outlining the terms and conditions of the transaction. Your lawyer will draft this contract and ensure all property checks are conducted. But you can expect the seller to continue to try and wriggle more money out of you or change the deal right up until the contract is signed.
To complete the purchase you will need to pay a deposit, which is typically 10% of the property’s value. In Colombia there are no escrow service and again, this is why you need a reputable lawyer.
Finally, once all paperwork is completed and your lawyer is satisfied all property checks are clean, the final payment will be transferred to the seller. At this point the property transfer is then registered with the Colombian Public Registry Office. And you become the proud owner of your new apartment in Bogotá!
Important considerations when buying property in Bogotá
While buying property in Bogotá offers numerous advantages, it is essential to consider certain factors to ensure a successful and enjoyable experience. One important consideration is the location of the apartment.
Bogotá has a variety of neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm and amenities. Researching and visiting different areas will help you find the perfect neighborhood that aligns with your lifestyle and preferences.
Another crucial consideration is financing. As a foreigner you will not be able to obtain a mortgage in Colombia. You will need to have the funds in your account and ready to go.
Additionally, it is important to factor in the costs associated with property ownership. Such as legal costs, closing fees, property taxes, homeowner’s association fees and maintenance expenses.
Finding the right real estate agent in Bogotá
Finding a reliable and experienced real estate agent is key to a successful property purchase in Bogotá. A knowledgeable agent will help you find the right apartment in Bogotá that suits you and your lifestyle.
They will have a deep understanding of the local market and a good real estate agent will know which suburbs and buildings will be best for you. But do not rely on the real estate agent to have your best interests at heart with regard to price and inclusions.
Never agree to anything or sign contracts without first having your lawyer conduct due diligence on the property. Or without firm negotiations of price, inclusions and terms of sale.
You can find real estate agents through your friends and acquaintances, your lawyer or online. I found my real estate agent through the website www.metrocuadrado.com. They helped my find my property before my buyers agent stepped in to negotiate prices and inclusions.
Top neighborhoods for buying an apartment in Bogotá
Bogotá boasts a variety of neighborhoods, each offering a unique blend of culture, amenities and lifestyle. Here are some of the top neighborhoods to consider when buying an apartment in the city:
- La Candelaria: Known for its colonial architecture and bohemian atmosphere, La Candelaria is the historic heart of Bogotá. It is home to many cultural landmarks, including the Plaza de Bolivar and the Gold Museum.
- Chapinero: Located in the heart of the city, Chapinero is a vibrant neighborhood known for its lively nightlife, trendy restaurants and art galleries. It is popular among young professionals and artists.
- Zona G: If you are a food enthusiast, Zona G is the place to be. This neighborhood is renowned for its gastronomic delights, with a wide range of restaurants offering both local and international cuisines.
- Usaquen: Situated in the north of Bogotá, Usaquen is a charming neighborhood with a small-town feel. Its cobblestone streets, colonial architecture and lively Sunday flea market make it a favorite among locals and expatriates.
- Teusaquillo: Situated to the north of Santa Fe, Teusaquillo covers a large chunk of the strip between Santa Fe and Chapinero. The area in Teusaquillo around Parque Teusaquillo features older colonial houses, wide streets, parks and many bars and restaurants. It has an artistic bohemian feel and its architecture is stunning. This is one of my favourite areas in Bogotá.
These are just a few examples and Bogotá has many more neighborhoods to explore. Each barrio offers its own unique charm and amenities. So take the time to visit each suburb and immerse yourself in the local atmosphere before making your decision.
The process of buying an apartment in Bogotá
Now that you have a good understanding of the factors to consider and the top neighborhoods in Bogotá, let’s walk through the step-by-step process of buying an apartment in the city:
- Research and define your requirements: Start by researching the real estate market in Bogotá and defining your requirements including budget, size, location and amenities (i.e. security guard, gym, pool, tennis court, gas hot water and fireplaces). I strongly recommend using the website www.metrocuadrado.com to start your property search.
- Engage a real estate agent: Find a reputable real estate agent who specializes in the Bogotá market and can help you find suitable properties.
- Property search: Work with your agent to identify potential apartments that meet your requirements and schedule visits to view the properties.
- Negotiate and make an offer: Once you have found your dream apartment, negotiate the price and terms of the sale with the seller. I strongly recommend you use a local Colombian as a buyers agent to negotiate on your behalf in this process.
- Draft a purchase contract: Once an agreement is reached, a purchase contract will be drafted, outlining the terms and conditions of the sale. Have your lawyer review it carefully before signing.
- Pay the deposit: Pay the required deposit, typically 10% of the property’s value. And remember, escrow services aren’t used in Colombia so do not do this until your lawyer gives you the green light.
- Complete the purchase: Work with your lawyer and agent to ensure all legal and financial requirements are met. Register the property transfer with the Colombian Public Registry Office.
- Celebrate and enjoy your new home: Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of an apartment in Bogota. Celebrate and start enjoying your new home in the vibrant Colombian capital!
Legal and tax considerations when buying property in Bogotá
It is crucial to be aware of the legal and tax considerations when buying property in Colombia. Firstly, ensure that the property has a clean title and that the seller has the legal right to sell it. Your lawyer will conduct the necessary due diligence to confirm this.
Additionally, be prepared for the associated taxes and fees, including stamp duty, notary fees and registration costs. These will vary depending on the property’s value and location. And remember, at no point in the process should you agree to let the seller undervalue the property in the sale contracts.
As a foreign buyer, you may also be subject to Colombian income tax if you generate rental income from your property. For example if you list it on airbnb which can be very lucrative in Colombia.
It is advisable to consult with your lawyer and a tax advisor in both your home country and Colombia to understand the tax implications and any applicable tax treaties between the two countries. Being informed about the legal and tax aspects will ensure a smooth and compliant property purchase.
Conclusion: Unlocking your paradise in Bogotá
Congratulations! You have now unlocked the secrets to buying an apartment in Bogotá, Colombia. From understanding the regulations to finding the right real estate agent, lawyer, buyers agent and exploring the top neighborhoods, you are well-equipped to embark on this exciting journey.
With its thriving economy, rich culture and stunning landscapes, Bogotá offers an unparalleled opportunity to own your piece of paradise in South America. So, start your search, make informed decisions and soon you will be enjoying the vibrant lifestyle and beauty that Bogotá has to offer.
Don’t wait any longer – unlock your piece of paradise in Bogotá today!
Ready to unlock your paradise in Bogotá, Colombia? Start by consulting a reputable lawyer to ensure you don’t make any mistakes. The lawyer I use in Colombia is www.langoncolombia.com.
And my buyers agent is a close friend whom you can get in contact with through this website (just send me a message). Bookmark this website and check back to see my buyers agent in action being, well, very Colombian in the negotiations for my own properties. I’m filming it for the website and my YouTube channel.
Where Can I Get More Information On Bogotá?
I’ve made my Bogotá Colombia City Guide available on this website. And I recommend you read it before traveling to Colombia. It will help you navigate Bogotá and Colombian society.
My Bogotá Colombia City Guide will save you a lot of time and a significant amount of money on your trip to Colombia. Colombia is not the sort of destination in which you can just arrive unprepared.
Read the Bogotá Colombia City Guide here.