Tag: invest in Nicaragua
I generally take care of the following steps for my clients, whether they’re buyers or sellers. However, I thought I’d share the steps that must be gone through so my clients can appreciate a few of the many formalities I attend to on their behalf. Also I want to be sure anyone wanting to go it alone is properly informed as to the steps required and which party to a transaction is expected to handle which aspects.
These steps are based on the assumption the property is already registered and that there will be no change of use involved. In the case of a property being purchased that is to be subdivided from a larger parcel of land, and a new title created, or the current use of the land is to be changed, additional steps are required.
1. Obtain a Libertad de gravamen (non-encumbrance certificate) from the Registro Público de la Propiedad Inmueble y Mercantil (Land Registry)
The non-encumbrance certificate, or libertad de gravamen, is an official document that shows all the encumbrances that are currently on the property. It also lists all of the owners of the property since its first annotation. The certificate must be obtained by the seller before starting the transaction formally.
A certificado a manera de titulo (Title) is required to apply for the non-encumbrance certificate. A replacement title can be obtained from the registry if the original title has been lost. The cost is NIO 100.
A certificado de historia registral (certificate of historical registration), is a document related to the non-encumbrance certificate. It is a list of all previous transactions related to the property. This document will list transfers and re-registration of the title. This document can obtained at a cost of NIO 100. An additional fee of NIO 50 is required for every additional past transaction listed.
2. Obtain a Solvencia Municipal (tax clearance certificate) from the Municipality. A tax clearance certificate must be obtained by the seller from the municipality. Provided the seller is up to date with tax payments it should take only one day to receive the tax clearance certificate. The fee is NIO 20 to receive the document immediately, or if it is possible to wait until the next business day it is free of charge.
3. Next, a notary must prepare and sign the public deed. A notary public prepares and notarizes the public deed of purchase and sell between seller and buyer. The preparation of the deed is an exclusive act of the notary. The notary will review all past transactions from the record book at the Land Registry using the documents obtained above, and verify the ownership of the property.
Notaries generally estimate their fees for this service based on a percent, which varies between 1.5 and 2% of the property value according to agreement between the parties and notary. Allow 2 days for this phase of the process.
4. Obtain the Cadastre certificate at INETER (National cadastre). INETER is the national cadastre and is in charge of surveying the land and keeping a database on the plots and boundaries. This certificate is necessary to obtain the cadastre valuation at the DGI. This step requires 2 weeks and the fee is NIO 300.
5. Obtain Cadastre valuation at the DGI. Parties to a real estate transaction must obtain the Cadastre Certificate and request a valuation from an inspector. In practice, the Cadastre requires a special power be granted to notaries or any other person when the interested parties cannot themselves manage this procedure. The closest similarity to North American or European proceedures would be the issuing of a limited power of attorney. If the parties can go to the Cadastre themselves, they do not need to grant anyone a special power to act on their behalf. The Cadastre will require the original property title (that of the Seller).
This step in the process requires about 21 days and costs NIO 50 and is paid using Tax Stamps. In cases in which a special power must be granted, the costs rises of course. It will cost about C$ 2,000 in fees for the person who will go to the Cadastre, and C$ 1,000 for the notary who will previously authorize and issue the special power.
6. After the cadastral certificate is obtained, an inspector from the Catastro fiscal – Direccion General de Ingresos will visits property to assess value. Generally it is required to pick up the inspector and drive he or she to the property. It will take the inspector about one week to write the report on the value. The cost is 20 Cordobas and it usually takes from 2 to 3 days for the inspector to have time to inspect the property.
7. Payment of Income/Transfer Tax at the Administracion de Rentas – Direccion General de Ingresos, or Tax Administration Office. This is an agency of the Treasury Ministry. The percent to be paid is established depending on the Cadastre Value. The Cadastre value usually not the same as the market price. For the payment of the transfer taxes, the fiscal authority takes as a base of calculation the highest value between the sale price in the public deed of purchase and Cadastral value. Fees of NIO 4 + 2 stamps of NIO 10 need to be paid to make the payment.
The transfer tax rate of 1% was established by an injunction (“amparo”) declaring the increase of the 2003 Ley de Queda Fiscal unconstitutional. An amendment to the Nicaraguan fiscal law entered into force on January 1st, 2010 (Law 712 published in the official Gazette No. 241 of December 21st 2009), changing the tax according to the following sliding scale, from 1% of the value of the property to the following percentages: 1% for properties with a value between US$1.00 and US$50,000.00, 2% for values between US$50,000.01 and US$100,000.00 and 3% for values above US$100,000.01. According to Article 87 of the new Tax, the property the transfer tax is calculated and paid as follows: 1% for properties with a value between USD1.00 and USD 50,000.00, 2% for values between USD 50,000.01 and USD 100,000.00 and 3% for values between USD 100,000.01 and USD 200,000.00 and 4% for values above USD 200,001. Fees of NIO 4 + 2 stamps of NIO 10 need to be paid to make the payment.
8. Apply for registration of the public deed at the Registro Público de la Propiedad Inmueble y Mercantil. In English Land Registry or Real Estate Registry. Parties file the public deed at the Land Registry for its proper registration. The amount is calculated based on 1% of the cadastral value, with a maximum fee of NIO 30,000. This payment is made directly at the branch of a commercial bank that is located inside the Land Registry Office. The notary applying for registration will charge C$500 as fees. At submission, the request for transfer is recorded, signaling priority rights over the property. The registration of property transfers is very slow and can take longer than 90 days. When finalized, the Land registry will write in the original deed, the book and page where the transfer was recorded. This document is then returned to the notary with all the other certificates provided. The Land registry operates with paper documents. However, the sale deeds are scanned and almost all past records are digitized in Managua. In the rest of the departments in the country, records are not always accessible digitally. Newer transactions (less than 1 year) are not always digitized. Any person can access past deeds with computers at the Land registry at no cost. It is possible to track the status of the deed registration online through the website: www.registropublico.gob.ni/servicios/consultatramite.aspx.
15 days is an expedited procedure. 1% of cadastral value is the registration fee and NIO 500 notary’s fees + 20% of the registration fee for the expedited Procedure.
9. Apply for name change at the Municipal cadastre. The new owner needs to update the records at the municipal cadastre in order to be able to pay the real estate taxes. It should taken only 1 day and there is no cost.
As always, if you have any questions about purchasing, renting or selling real estate in Nicaragua, contact us.
Regardless of what your opinion is of global agencies, such as the United Nations, International Monetary Fund or the World Bank, you have to agree they provide checks and balances in matters of international politics, financing, trade and commerce. Of the 196 countries in the world, 193 of which are members of the United Nations, many need the services and stewardship of these international agencies. Unfortunately, few of those in need actually heed the advice and guidance provided… and usually suffer for not doing so. Nicaragua is not one of those nations. What the World Bank has to say about Nicaragua speaks volumes…
Despite global economic turbulence, Nicaragua has stood out for maintaining growth levels above the average for Latin America and the Caribbean. Disciplined macroeconomic policies, combined with a steady expansion of exports and foreign direct investment, helped Nicaragua to weather the global economic crisis of 2008-09 and rising food and oil prices. By 2011, growth had accelerated to reach a record 6.2 percent, later declining to 3.9 percent in 2015, the lowest rate in the last five years. GDP growth for 2016 is expected to reach 4.4 percent, among the highest rates in Central America. Foreign direct investment and trade also shows an improved outlook.
I’m on the ground in Nicaragua. I’ve been here permanently since July 26, 2014 and visited a great many times before I made the final move. I have seen with my own eyes benefits from foreign investment and the overall improvement of the standard of living it provides the Nicaraguan people. And I have been amazed at the pace of change. There is room for more improvement of course, more investment that is likely to generate impressive returns. But the steady, upward march is comforting, as well as awe inspiring considering Nicaragua is still one of the poorest nations in the Americas.
In a world plagued by political and civil unrest, financial chaos, and religious persecution, it baffles me why the steady trickle of foreign investment in Nicaragua has not already turned into a flood. Maybe it is because I’m here and can see with my own eyes that the objections people come up with for not investing in Nicaragua are misguided, based on misinformation, or, more likely, fear based.
By fear based, I’m not talking about fear for personal safety. Nicaragua is the safest country in Central America, and one of the safest in all of the Americas… far safer than the USA. What I refer to is a fear of stepping outside the box.
So many people I talk to who want to retire somewhere affordable, somewhere where they can live well on their pension income, never make the move.
It’s much the same with investors and entrepreneurs. I present opportunities that promise excellent returns. What I say fails to reach deep enough to alleviate their fears. Investors and entrepreneurs are no different than retiring pensioners. They too fear the unknown. More comfortable in a market that has a 9 to 1 failure rate in virtually ever economic sector, they’d sooner slug it out for single digit returns where they feel comfortable than pursue greater returns in another market.
Retiring To Nicaragua
The real reason people dream of retirement in a tropical paradise never act is because they’re afraid of the unknown. Unhappiness with one’s life often isn’t enough to motivate someone to step through a door they’ve never been through before. The known may be a life that sucks the very soul from a person, but it’s familiar. The unfamiliar is scary.
All I can do for folks wanting to have a comfortable retirement on the same fixed income they’d struggle with back home is present the facts, make suggestions, give advice, and provide assistance if needed. I can not force someone to move outside their comfort zone, no matter how much I think they’ll benefit from doing so.
Investing In Nicaragua
Passive investments in Nicaragua generate a higher ROI then anywhere else I’ve been in the world, and I’ve lived and worked in a great many countries. The returns possible in Nicaragua are good and the investments safe, but they’re investments in an unfamiliar market. There are slightly different laws, rules, and regulations. The language is different and the culture unfamiliar. It’s new, it’s scary. I understand.
As with retirees looking for somewhere to relocate to, I can only advise investors and entrepreneurs. Lead them by the hand if that’s what they wish. But I can not force opportunities on anyone that is tied down and unwilling to have the ropes cut.
Nicaragua is a safe place to live and invest in. I know this because I am here. I can source opportunities, advise on how to capitalize on those opportunities, and even help with hands on support. But as saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”
If you’re someone looking to retire or invest in Nicaragua, contact me. Let’s discuss your specific wants, needs and desires and see if you’ll not agree with me that Nicaragua is where you should be.
Nicaragua has one of the fastest growing GDP rates in Central America. Unlike many other nations, Nicaragua has complied with IMF demands to cut its deficit, implement structural reforms, and maintain overall monetary stability. As a result, Nicaragua is set to benefit from rapid and sustained economic growth in the years ahead. To further assure the nation enjoys economic growth, the government has passed several laws designed to attract and protect foreign investors. Direct foreign investment has grown steadily since the mid 1990s, with a third of all investment coming from the United States. Foreign investment is mostly focused on agriculture, construction, services, manufacturing, mining, energy, and tourism.
There Are Very Few Restrictions To Foreign Investment In Nicaragua
Nicaragua has privatized nearly all the once state owned monopolies. Doing so has dramatically reduced the amount of government bureaucracy that previously challenged investors. In fact, a foreign investment law ensures that investors can repatriate 100% of profits from day one. After three years investors are able to repatriate their initial investment as well.
There are no legal grounds for discrimination against foreign investors, and there are no restrictive visas or work permits required that may inhibit investment. Laws already in place allow for 100% foreign ownership in all economic sectors.
Investing in Nicaragua Is Safe
Contrary to wide spread misinformation, Nicaragua is a stable and safe country for investment. Nicaragua is one of the safest country in all of the Americas. In fact, Nicaragua has a lower reported crime rate than the USA, France and Germany according to a United Nations-Interpol study.
Tourism Businesses Are Tax Free For Up To 10 Years
I recommend to clients thinking of making an investment in Nicaragua to consider doing so within the tourism industry. Nicaragua has already been discovered as an affordable vacation destination, with tourism growing at an annual rate of approximately 9%. INTUR continues the promotion of Nicaragua as a tourist destination, assuring future growth.
The Nicaragua government appreciates that an improved tourism infrastructure will further enhance visitor traffic and is committed to provide the incentives necessary to realize that growth.
Nicaragua’s Law 306 was enacted in September 1999 to attract investment in the tourist industry. It is not only the most attractive, but also the most aggressive tourism investment incentive law in Latin America. Tourism infrastructure businesses that qualify for incentives run the gambit of B&Bs, hotels, eco resorts, tour operations and such.
Law 360 is broad in scope and offers investors benefits that are hard to beat. If a business qualifies, it pays no income or real estate taxes for up to 10 years. Also, investors can import or purchase locally all that is needed to operate the business; furniture, linen, cleaning supplies, even vehicles and boats, totally tax free.
The application and approval process is straight-forward. INTUR, the federal government tourism agency, cuts through the red tape and outlines very clearly what investors need to do. The process is quick too. Law 360 allows INTUR just 60 days to approve an application. Depending on the type of project, an investment of only $30,000 is all it takes to qualify for these benefits.
To recap, Law 306 offers investors:
- Pay no income taxes for up to 10 years
- Pay no real estate taxes for up to 10 years
- Import all the supplies and materials needed tax free
- Local purchases of goods and services are tax free for up to 10 years
Nicaragua tourism is an industry worth considering. A virtually nonexistent industry back in the 1990s, tourism is now Nicaragua’s top income producer and second largest employment sector, following only agriculture. I strongly recommend considering investment in Nicaragua for anyone interested in the tourism industry.
If you have any questions regarding investment in Nicaragua, please feel free to contact Nica Investments.
This clear title, encumbrance free property atop the Laguna de Apoyo crater rim is approximately 35 acres, and straddles the Granada and Diriomo district borders. Situated at 1700 feet above sea level, this parcel of land has a cool climate and an almost constant, refreshing breeze. Electricity and water are at hand, and there is an official road through the property.
As a private residence building site the existing road is navigable with a four wheel drive. To develop the land for multi-residential use, the road will need to be upgraded.
I have personally walked this property and every potential building site has spectacular views of either the laguna itself, Mombacho volcano, Lake Nicaragua or mountain vistas. This property, being only a few minutes outside of Granada, would make an ideal housing development site.
The owner is open minded and would consider any “reasonable offer”, and may entertain financing a portion of the purchase. Also, the owner may be open to a joint venture proposal. Contact Nica Investments to learn more.