In common with everywhere in the world, if you are thinking of moving to Paraguay one of the very first things to be done will be to find somewhere to live.
It is quite possible to find rented accommodation. That may be short term or long term and could be through private rental or via a site such as AirBnB. Even if you are intending to buy rather than rent doing so will give a temporary base whist investigating the Paraguayan real estate market.
There are properties of all shapes and sizes available for purchase all across the country. Everything from apartments and small houses on little plots of land to mansions and hundred hectare farms.
Furthermore there are no restrictions as to who can and who cannot purchase property. It can even be done before Paraguayan residency has been applied for. Although realistically I would suggest that the best time to go house hunting is after the paperwork for your temporary residency has been completed while you are waiting for it to be processed.
I have been here now over 20 years and through the local knowledge and contacts I have built up am in a good position to assist someone in finding their Paraguayan dream home.
When looking for a home in Paraguay your first decision will be as to whether you would like live in the town or countryside.
Asuncion is the capital of Paraguay and by far the biggest settlement. A large proportion of the population of the country lives within Greater Asuncion. As such it is the most modern and vibrant city in the country, the best for shopping and dining. It is though also the most crowded and traffic can be a problem.
Other city options are border cities such as Encarnacion or the pleasant city in the countryside, Villarrica.
A city and especially Asuncion would be the best option for modern apartments.
Then there are country towns with all the facilities needed for a modern life surrounded by green countryside and open spaces. Each has it’s own character and it’s own pros and cons. Places like San Bernardino and Caacupe.
Other option for an even more relaxed and peaceful life are the districts that surround small country towns. The small town of Piribebuy is a good example of this. There districts with names such as Naranjo and Chololo offer a country life often with hills and a crystal clear stream nearby.
One further option is that of buying a larger area of land either for farming, a plantation or possibly eco tourism.
Which ever is your preferred option you will find that the price compares very favourably to those elsewhere.
Although there are many properties available you will probably find that researching your options via the internet will not identify as many as would be expected.
Paraguay is still far from being a place where everything can be done online.
There are a few businesses with national coverage, but their customer service is far from optimal and they can be reluctant to communicate with potential buyers especially if the properties are located outside Asuncion. However the sites are still worth looking at for examples of what is available and the prices you should expect to be paying.
In the countryside properties are priced according to size. The price per hectare varies greatly from place to place but a a figure of $10,000 per hectare is a reasonable average one to start with as a base line. On top of the land the value of the house would then be added.
If you know roughly which area your are interested in then a better option would be to seek out a local real estate agent with just one or two offices.
There the service will be more personalised and will be with you right through to the completion of your purchase, and probably afterwards as a local agent will be able to locate and recommend any builders and workmen you may need.
On agents books however, be they national or local, are only a fraction of the properties that are for sale in Paraguay. Many can can only be located via word of mouth or through signs hung up on fences.
Accessing this pool of properties will produce an almost unending supply of possibilities. However this portion of the market must be approached with extreme care.
With no agent acting for you it may be difficult to tell an honest seller from a dishonest or even criminal one. The only way this private market should be approached is with the assistance of someone who knows the land and whos opinions you can trust.
There are a number of cons to be aware of from hugely inflated prices to not actually selling you the piece of land you thought you were buying.
When looking for a property it always makes sense to inspect several before making any decisions. Take a while to walk around taking photos of everything. Look at the quality of the buildings and check what is next door and nearby, green fields or factories. Also walk around the boundary. There must be a fence clearly marking the boundaries of the property.
Take time to talk with the owner. Are there connection for water and electric, is there an internet signal? What is the neighbourhood like and the local stores and services? Here again if not working with an agent you will need a local guide.
At this stage, and possibly even before you look at anything, some very important questions need to be asked. Are all the title deeds in order and are they all in the name of the person selling the property?
If the answer to either is no then do not attempt to pursue the matter any further. A polite “No thank you”. The owner will understand.
Once you have found your property, the one you plan to buy, then legal paperwork must be completed.
This is done by a public notary. If a seller suggests you use his notary decline the offer unless you can obtain independent recommendations for that person. A dishonest seller and a corrupt notary is a recipe for disaster. Again having local assistance and guidance will be beneficial.
The notary will deal with the legal matters such as the change of ownership. Additionally they will arrange for a surveyor to visit the property to map it out and confirm that the dimensions are those quoted in the deeds.
Although great care must be taken when making a purchase to avoid any potential cons and swindles buying a property in Paraguay need not be complicated if approached with due diligence, and some local assistance.
I have been providing on the ground assistance for some time now. Finding, viewing and reporting on properties and then doing whatever else is required to ensure a purchase can be made with confidence and without worries that anything may be being concealed.
So far as the costs go there will of course be legal fees to be paid by both sides to the public notary. Then from the seller there will be a 5% commission to the agent.
If you are considering moving to Paraguay and feel I could help you in anyway do not hesitate to contact me. Either through the website or directly via my email sjcaway@hotmail,com