South America Living

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How To Buy Real Estate in Uruguay

Houses in Atlantic Coastal Haven La Paloma

Buying real estate in Uruguay is simple and straight-forward – once you have a deal sealed, so to speak. Until the seller commits to the sale by signing the pre-purchase agreement in the presence of an escribano (public notary) anything can change and it often does. If you can take it all in stride, and possibly visit an auction or two, eventually your search will end with the purchase of your new Montevideo apartment, rural ranch, exclusive Punta del Este beach home or other.

Want to know what expat life may be like?    Blogs About Uruguay.

Basic Steps to Buying Property in Uruguay

  1. Research areas in Uruguay you may want to live carefully – coastal towns that seem appealing to live in during summer are a whole different ballgame in the winter; freezing cold temperatures, strong winds, few inhabitants, businesses closed. In addition, a house built as a summer home may need extensive upgrades and repairs to be livable during the rest of the year. Take your time, don´t make hasty decisions.
  2. Elicit the assistance of a Uruguayan escribano (public notary) and an abogado (laywer) in your chosen area or nearest city.
  3. Tiendas Montevideo - Popular Home Furnishings Chain Store - at Punta Carretas Shopping Mall

  4. Search for properties using not only local realtors but online (Mercado Libre Uruguay) and by talking with locals or other expats who live there. Many owners may want to sell but do not have their property formally listed.
  5. Have your escribano prepare a boleta de reserva (pre-purchase agreement) – a document that clearly states the rights and obligations of all parties to the sale i.e. seller, buyer & realtor. Have each party review the document and sign in the presence of the Escribano.
  6. Most likely a deposit will be required of the buyer by the seller – 10-20% of agreed-upon price – and held in trust with the abogado or the escribano (public notary).
  7. Escribano gathes all documents necessary for the transfer of property – copy of title, tax receipts, blueprints – and researches the history of the property going back 30 years. Especially important so there are no hidden claims or legal issues.
  8. Verify all documents with the appropriate public offices and request certificates going back 30 years from all previous owners and the land-surveying office.
  9. All parties (seller, buyer, realtor) meet with the escribano and the documents are registered at the property registry.
  10. The Riviera of Uruguay - Punta del Este

  11. In the following 30 days the escribano writes the deed, pays any taxes and registers the deed at the registrar’s office where it will be authorized and granted
  12. Make payment as specified.
  13. Research available options and buy home owners insurance.

Who Pays the Fees?

Buyer – responsible for 9 percent of the realtor, escribano and any other accrued fees.
Seller – responsible for the other 5 percent out of a total of 14 percent.

Note: Value added tax (VAT) does not apply to the transfer of real property in Uruguay.

Auctions in Uruguay – How to Buy Property Through an Auction (coming soon)

Enjoy your new home and adventure in Uruguay! Need more information to help you adjust to life in Uruguay? Click here to view our FREE online Living in Uruguay Guide.

Other Articles You May Like:
Photos & Video – Punta Carretas Shopping Mall in Montevideo
Living in Uruguay – Travel Hot Spots
Travel in Uruguay – Colonia del Sacramento
Archive of Articles on Uruguay

4 to “How To Buy Real Estate in Uruguay”


  1. Since April 2013 , a doctorate student in the UK after graduation to complete a 12 -month period in the UK looking for work or business銆俆hey tracked the 4755 “90” students examine their sports habits at age 11 and 11 years old, 13 years old and 16 years of age in English, mathematics and natural science disciplines results銆?

    • Molly McHugh says:

      Uruguay definitely not the country for you – you are not going to find stringent education in SA unless you pay for a private school in Argentina or Brazil. You could research online – I know there are Private British Schools that teach curriculum similar to in the UK all over the world.

      You would probably be better off just planning an education trip with your kids, for a summer or maybe 6 months.

  2. Alina says:

    Molly, I am sorry to say I am offended by that answer…. in Uruguay you have AMAZING private schools, like BRITISH, st claires, I.U.A… URUGUAY IS NOT like any other south american country… yes we do have our issues but our education is way better than argentina or brazil convined…
    sincerely a former I.U.A student from punta del este Uruguay…
    By the way,I used to live in NY back in 2001 and let me tell you their education was poor indeed… the next time you want to give someone an advice please do a better research of what you are talking about.
    :)

    • Sorry, but it is my opinion and with our ordeal we were put through in Uruguay, including abduction attempt (we both most likely would have been dead if I hadn’t refused to go with the police, who ‘made a phone call’ at my door seeing if they had to take me and my son or not…) court report made – of course nothing done, just like nothing done when 12 prisioners were burned alive in a fire in Rocha (attendent refusing to move them saying he ‘had orders not to’) — I do not in ANY way support Uruguay.

      Take care, Molly (helping out Andy Alexander who is on vacation)


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