Real Estate in Guatemala
Last updated on Feb 17, 2023
Summary: An expat looking to buy a home in Guatemala should begin by researching the local real estate market. It is important to understand the local laws and regulations regarding foreign ownership of property in Guatemala. Expats should also consider their budget and the type of amenities they are looking for in a home. Foreigners are allowed to own property in Guatemala, but there are certain restrictions. For example, foreigners are not allowed to own property within 50 kilometers of the border or within 50 kilometers of the coast. Additionally, foreigners must obtain a special permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to purchase property. Homes in Guatemala typically include basic amenities such as running water, electricity, and sewage. Many homes also have access to internet and cable television. Some homes may also include additional amenities such as a swimming pool, a garden, or a terrace.
How do I find a place to live in Guatemala?
We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:
"One of the best ways to find a place to live in Guatemala is to use online resources such as websites and classifieds. Websites such as Encuentra24.com and Craigslist Guatemala are great resources for finding rental properties. Additionally, you can also search for rental properties on Facebook groups such as Guatemala Rentals and Guatemala Real Estate. Additionally, you can also contact local real estate agents who can help you find a place to live in Guatemala," said one person in Guatemala.
"By accident.. renting a place and discovering the area. Arrived without knowing the area, first struck by the climate and then by the locals. I found my house by world of mouth," said one expat who made the move to Panajachel.
What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Guatemala?
"Expat homes and apartments in Guatemala tend to be modern and comfortable, with amenities such as air conditioning, cable television, and internet access. Many expats choose to live in gated communities, which offer additional security and access to amenities such as swimming pools, gyms, and tennis courts. Expat homes and apartments in Guatemala are typically furnished with modern furniture and appliances, and often feature balconies or terraces with views of the surrounding landscape," explained one person living in Guatemala.
"A vacation rental, because I arrived for vacation but then moved to a locally built house not specifically for expats. I would say that's what happens with others expats," said one expat in Panajachel.
What is the average cost of housing in Guatemala?
If you are thinking about moving to Guatemala, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:
"The cost of housing in Guatemala varies greatly depending on the location and type of housing. Generally, the cost of renting an apartment in Guatemala City is higher than in other parts of the country, with prices ranging from around $200 to $1,000 per month. Outside of the capital, the cost of renting an apartment is usually much lower, with prices ranging from around $50 to $500 per month. The cost of buying a house in Guatemala is also quite varied, with prices ranging from around $50,000 to $500,000," remarked one member in Guatemala.
"Hi. Regarding outdoor activities, a good application, if haven't already downloaded it, is Wikiloc. Members post info about treking hiking and biking trails in places all over the world, with practical information. Degree of risk, length, time to cover and features. Could be helpful for discovering what is good in Guate," explained one expat living in Guatemala.
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Should I buy or rent a home in Guatemala?
If you have not spent a lot of time in Guatemala, you should rent before even thinking about buying. We asked expats there about the buy vs. rent decision:
"Buying a home in Guatemala can be a great investment, as the cost of living is relatively low and the country offers a variety of attractive locations. However, it is important to consider the pros and cons of both buying and renting before making a decision. Renting a home in Guatemala can be a great option for those who are not ready to commit to a long-term purchase, as it allows for more flexibility and can be more cost-effective in the short-term. On the other hand, buying a home in Guatemala can provide more stability and the potential for long-term financial gain. Ultimately, the decision to buy or rent a home in Guatemala should be based on individual needs and preferences," explained one person living in Guatemala.
What do I need to know when buying property in Guatemala?
When we asked expats what advice they would give a foreigner before buying a property in Guatemala, they said:
"1. It is important to research the local laws and regulations regarding property ownership in Guatemala before making any purchase. 2. It is advisable to hire a local lawyer to assist with the purchase process and to ensure that all legal requirements are met. 3. It is important to obtain a title deed for the property, which will provide proof of ownership. 4. It is important to be aware of any taxes or fees that may be associated with the purchase of the property. 5. It is important to be aware of any restrictions or limitations that may be placed on the use of the property. 6. It is important to be aware of any zoning regulations that may affect the use of the property. 7. It is important to be aware of any potential environmental hazards that may be associated with the property. 8. It is important to be aware of any potential risks associated with the purchase of the property. 9. It is important to be aware of any potential risks associated with the ownership of the property. 10. It is important to be aware of any potential risks associated with the sale of the property," said one foreigner living in Guatemala.
Are foreigners allowed to own property in Guatemala?
When we asked expats what advice they would give a foreigner before buying a property in Guatemala, they said...
"Yes, foreigners are allowed to own property in Guatemala. According to the Guatemalan Constitution, foreign individuals and companies are allowed to own property in Guatemala, provided they obtain the necessary permits from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreigners are also allowed to purchase property through a Guatemalan corporation, which is a legal entity that can own property in Guatemala. Additionally, foreigners can also purchase property through a trust, which is a legal entity that can own property in Guatemala on behalf of a foreign individual or company," explained one person living in Guatemala.
What appliances are typically included in a rental?
We asked foreigners in Guatemala what appliances are typically included in a rental, and, if there is anything else included or not included that a newcomer would not expect. Replies included:
"In Guatemala, rental properties typically include a refrigerator, stove, oven, and washing machine. Other common appliances may include a microwave, dishwasher, and air conditioning unit. Depending on the property, some landlords may also provide furniture and other amenities," explained one foreigner living in Guatemala.
Additional Information about Searching for a Home in Guatemala:
We asked foreigners in Guatemala what appliances are typically included in a rental, and, if there is anything else included or not included that a newcomer would not expect. Replies included...
"Expats can search for homes in Guatemala by looking online for real estate listings, contacting local real estate agents, and networking with other expats who have already settled in the country. Additionally, expats can look for rental listings in newspapers, online classifieds, and on social media. It is also possible to find homes for sale or rent through word of mouth, by asking friends and family who may know of available properties," wrote one expat who made the move to Guatemala.
About the Author
Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.
Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.
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