Whether it’s your first property purchase or you’re a seasoned buyer, everyone can use a little help to make the best decision.

Finally ready to buy a home? You’re not alone. This year, 1.3 million Realtors (including our members who call Puerto Rico home) will help people buy more than five million homes in Puerto Rico and the United States. Buying a home is a huge financial transaction, to be sure, but it’s also one of the most important pieces of building the American dream.

Yet while there are a million reasons to buy a home, the process of selecting, financing and closing on a home can seem daunting, particularly if you’re not experienced. After all, most people (except our members, of course) don’t buy houses every day.

With unlimited data at your fingertips, finding the perfect home can be overwhelming. At the Puerto Rico Association of REALTORS® and MLS, we’re with you every step of the way.

This guide walks you through every step in your search, from finding your Realtor to accepting those new keys. Let’s get started!

Know Your Parameters

It’s tempting to start bookmarking listings right away, but a successful search begins with nailing down the specifics. Know your answers to crucial questions like:

  • What’s my estimated budget?
  • What type of home am I looking to buy?
  • Which neighborhoods interest me the most?
  • Do I have any “must-haves” or “deal breakers” for my Realtor?

While it’s important to keep an open mind, going into your search with a concrete idea of what will have you jumping for joy (or ready to walk) keeps everyone on track.

Get the Team Together

Surround yourself with the right support team for a smooth and confident search. You want to find people you can trust, so don’t be afraid to conduct interviews and ask questions. Here’s a rundown of who you want in your corner:

Your Realtor

The real estate market is unique in Puerto Rico. Buyer’s agents aren’t as common in the industry. In many instances, the process is similar to buying a car. Instead of multiple agents representing the buyer and the seller, there is usually just one dual agent. That agent will show you any available properties in their housing stock. Over the course of buying a property, you may work with multiple agents in your search to find the right home.

You'll spend a lot of time with your Realtor, which is why you should work with someone you like and trust. To navigate the market, we suggest doing your homework to make sure you are working with a reputable brokerage.

All of the Puerto Rico Association of REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and professionalism. Through the Puerto Rico Multiple Listing Service, they also have exclusive access to the most up-to-date and accurate listing and sales information available.

Your Attorney

While an attorney may not be mandatory, many first time and foreign buyers find it valuable to hire an attorney to navigate the buying process.

Your Lender

If you’re like most buyers, you’ll need a mortgage. Work with your Realtor to determine what you can afford and shop around for the best rates and terms. You may find yourself working with a bank, a mortgage broker, or even a mortgage company.

Typically, you want to have enough cash available to make a 20 percent down payment on the purchase price of your house. But all hope isn’t lost if you don’t. Your lender and Realtor can help you find the right financing option. Once financing is in place, you want to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Being pre-approved will show sellers that you’re serious and ready to buy.

Go House Hunting

There’s a reason people are willing to watch episode after episode of buyers exploring open-floor plans and critiquing old wallpaper. House hunting can be an adventure.

But even the most enthusiastic buyer will find themselves dreading the touring process after a while, which is why we use the Stellar Multiple Listing Service to keep searches on track. Your Realtor will set up an exclusive search for you on the MLS. When new homes that fit your wish list hit the market, you will get an email alert. Because the information is coming directly from our multiple listing service, every listing is accurate because our Realtor members stand behind them.

While seeing listing photos can help you narrow your search, we suggest that you don’t rule out a house based on pictures alone. As a local expert, your Realtor can give you more detailed information that helps you build a list of homes to see in person.

Some people find their dream home right away, but don’t be discouraged if you don’t. Based on your likes and dislikes, your Realtor will work with you to fine-tune your search and find the right fit.

Seal the Deal

While the perfect home can have you picking out curtains on the spot, there are still a few steps to go before you snag those keys:

The Offer

Finally! You found your dream house, and now it’s time to make an offer. Terms are negotiated verbally before anything is put in writing, and all contracts are structured as option agreements. While a notary is the one who draws up the sale and purchase deed, you may want to confer a lawyer during the offer process.


Puerto Rico does not have a standard disclosure form, as most homes sell as-is. You have the option to pay for an inspection to give yourself peace of mind and put any repair contingencies in your offer agreement. Your agent may have suggestions for finding a company to complete this inspection.

Sign Papers

It’s the big day. All parties must go to the closing in person at the lending bank’s office. You’ll sign contracts, exchange money, and soon enough, you’ll get the keys to your new home.

Congratulations and welcome to Puerto Rico!