What was it like to hunt for a place to live

Hi all,
I just open this subject to provide an opportunity to talk about what it was like to go house/apartment hunting in PR. Some suggestions to cover:
1) How long was your stay
2) Was this your first, second, or third trip?
3) Were you looking for a permanent place, a vacation home, an investment home and how much out of the year you expect to use it?
4) What sort of place were you looking for and what sort of place did you end up finding (house, condo, apartment)?
5) Did you use a realtor and if so what was the experience like of dealing with realtors in general, and with the realtor that helped you find the rights place, and what type of realtor (seller, buyer) you used?
6) Did you find something you liked and able to afford and if so, in what town?
7) What attracted you to that town?
8) If you found a place, what attracted you to that particular place?
9) Did you take the time to open a bank account with a local bank?
10) Did you get a local P.O. Box while in the island?
11) What would you have done differently now that you went thru it?
12) Would you recommend others to come look for a place in PR?
13) Are you keeping your current home in the states or are you planing on selling it?

Coming to the island is an adventure, lets share with others so they know what to expect.

Hi Rey,

Thanks for posting this topic. As we had stated in our original post on this site, we are looking to retire in a few years and we will be selling our home in Colorado and looking to purchase a condo/home in PR. The questions you presented in your post are exactly the ones we are looking to find answers to.
Once again, thanks for bringing up this topic. This site, and the people on it, has been a great source of info for us and we are happy we found it. We look forward to every new post, as we always find them very informative.


Good choice Rey,

We came over for two weeks last year and drove around the island.  We were looking for a retirement home or building lot.

We only spent a few days looking with our realtor and got lucky with finding a place on the beach.  We made an offer (verbal,) Robert called the seller and it was accepted! 

We entered into a buy/sell agreement with ernest money 5%.   

We hired a local real-estate attorney (will provide a referral -  PM me).  This is important - hire a lawyer, get title insurance from local firm, have the lawyer ensure a clear title & record the deed.  Our title needed to have some old liens removed and extinguished.  Money well spent!

We moved down here a year after closing and began the renovations.  The place will take extensive renovations, so it is a work in progress.

Since we wanted waterfront, there is limited prospects, but some nice view lots on the west and nw coast.  We love living on the water, but it comes with pros and cons.

I recommend buyers take your time, look a lot, & look some more.  It's a buyers market.

This is a great place to live!  The local people have been fantastic!

I could write a book on this subject. It was shear determination and mucho, mucho work on my part, months of research, and several trips. Thank god I had a background in real estate. We got a place in VSJ that is as close to what we wanted and could afford. WE LOVE IT! Living in a historic district with two World Heritage Sites within a couple blocks is magical.

We still have our big frickin', homogenous house in yuppyville near Atlanta, but our plan is to get it sellable and move. Atlanta is OK, but I've never felt at home here like I did in San Juan Capistrano, or San Juan, PR, for that matter.

We are on the waterfront, but the same maintain issues exist for any property near the coast.  In my case, the place had been vacant for a long time and things had been neglected.   

A marine environment creates all sorts of maintenance issues as the corrosion is relentless.  Replacing rusted / corroded locks, hinges, plumbing, lights...the list is endless.

When looking at a prospective property, it pays to be very cautious.  ( I accepted my fate with this place due to location )  Unless you're a qualified builder/engineer type, it is a good idea to have the property inspected by a professional inspector. Then you know what you are getting into. I don't know if such is available in PR??

There are house inspectors, but they seem to charge a bit.I had a house inspection on the first house and it was fairly detailed but was not cheap. Knowing the age of the house, checking the roof, really checking the plumbing, and looking for signs of Comejen are the least one should do. Comejen is everywhere and has to be stopped as early as possible and anything affected thrown out or burned. Books, wood, clothing are their primary target. They will burrow into concrete, not sure how true but I seen their tunnels at least on the surface of some cement fences and houses. Also having the title checked and the property boundaries verified are very important. A lawyer is a must.

I would recommend moving to PR to anyone who is looking for an adventure.
On a whim we decided to vacation here 5 years ago. Travelled around with no plans and ended up moving our homebound flights ahead 7 days.  We had fallen in love with PR. After 4 years of research into everything imaginable we booked another 2 week trip to visit other parts of the island to get a feel for where we would buy. On this trip we also searched classificados for apartments. Spending the last 4 days seeing about 6 places near San juan. We ended up putting rent down on a place in Santurci,which we currently now are renting.
After returning home there was a freak out moment of what have we done. But we finished up tasks at work and packed up the house.
I came down first this past june. Turned on water, electricity and cleaned. About a month later Ryan joined me. Its been about 4 months and we are settled and starting to look for property to buy.
I would say everything is about the same as the states, with the exception of time frames.  Once you start appreciating that the better it is. Also the fact that face to face is very important. Don't expect to get something accomplished via phone if there is an office. These nuances though are what make PR great. 
Walking down the street and you see a neighbor they wave or smile and you think I live here now and for everything that is screwed up here, well I live in paradise.
Take it easy, network, make friends, enjoy nature it's everywhere, and if not today mananna.

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