property lawyer in Santa Marta

We are looking to buy property in Santa Marta, and we are traveling there soon, but we would like to find a good, honest, reliable property lawyer there to help us through the process.

My wife and I speak Spanish, so we don't need a bilingual lawyer, and we used to live in Santa Marta and still travel regularly to Colombia, so we're not newbies, but we just don't know anyone lawyers there.

It's entirely up to you whether you use an Abogado or not, there really is no need to do so, especially as you speak Spanish. A good Realtor will help you through the process, it is part of their job to do so. I didn't use one, and had no problems at any stage in the process.

Thank you! That's very reassuring.

PhilCo58 :

It's entirely up to you whether you use an Abogado or not, there really is no need to do so, especially as you speak Spanish. A good Realtor will help you through the process, it is part of their job to do so. I didn't use (an attorney), and had no problems at any stage in the process.

Past performance is not indicative of future results.  Have you heard that before somewhere?

1.  A real estate sales person or "Realtor" is motivated by a potential commi$$ion .. and cannot be relied on to disclose all facts if one or more facts would hinder the sale.  Doubting this concept would indicate a lack of understanding of the mindset of commission-seeking salespersons in this part of the world.

2.  Knowing conversational Spanish, or even fluent Spanish, is not the same as knowing Spanish legalese such as that used in property contracts in localities in South America.

3.  Knowing Spanish of any level does not mean one understands the applicable laws and the local interpretation of those laws.

4.  Knowing the purchase "process" does not preclude the need for proper inspections, due diligence and legal counsel for the purchaser.

cccmedia in Ipiales, Nariño, near the Colombia-Ecuador border

A while back, an expat.com member from the Pacific Northwest posted about her purchase of a fixer-upper in San Clemente, a town on the Ecuador coast.

She was only in Ecuador for a couple of weeks on her first-ever trip to La República, yet managed to put a down payment on the house and sign a purchase contract.

The deal fell apart -- for lack of hiring a competent attorney.

It turned out that the seller party was the heirs/adult children of the deceased ex-owner who were living in three different countries.

Had a decent attorney been involved before contract-signing, this fact -- and the low probability of getting the international paperwork signed, authenticated internationally and delivered -- could have been discovered, preventing the loss of a down payment and the failure of the putative deal.

---- 

While some deals such as Phil's go through without a problem, Expats buying property in South America need to find a competent attorney .. because not all deals get finalized as happily as Phil's.

The purchaser in the above true story was attempting to buy property in Ecuador.  But the same advice about hiring an attorney goes for virtually any property in South America if not worldwide.

cccmedia in Ipiales, Nariño, near the Colombia-Ecuador border

cccmedia, first you supposedly quote me then change the wording, then you quote some incident in Ecuador, not relevant to Colombia???

A competent Realtor is as qualified as an incompetent Abogado, and here has as much chance of being held accountable. You can't compare different countries as their standards of accountability differ, and hiring an expensive Abogado comes with no guarantees.

Because many Realtors here will be selling the same property, it not in their interest to pull a fast one, their reputation is their business.

PhilCo58 :

cccmedia, first you supposedly quote me then change the wording, then you quote some incident in Ecuador, not relevant to Colombia???

False.

I didn't change the wording in your post.  And I didn't "supposedly quote" you.  I quoted you.  As a longtime (now-ex) journalist I know the difference.

What I did was not misquoting, as you imply.  I put in bold type a key part of your post.  That is not misquoting.

Get your facts straight when implying a lack of ethics of another expat.com member.

cccmedia

PhilCo58 :

then you quote some incident in Ecuador, not relevant to Colombia???

I made it perfectly clear that my post was relevant to property purchase in South America, not just Ecuador.

You're welcome to have the opinion that something that happened on the Ecuador coast is irrelevant to a purchase in Santa Marta on the Colombian coast.  How you claim the lack of relevance not having bought property in Ecuador, I don't know.

But as someone who has purchased and owns property in Ecuador and has lived in Colombia continuously since 2016 and follows property developments here in Colombia .. I stand by my assertion that the advice I gave and the story of the failed purchase in San Clemente are widely relevant.

cccmedia in Ipiales, Nariño, Colombia,
   near the Ecuador border at Rumichaca

PhilCo58 :

cccmedia...

A competent Realtor is as qualified as an incompetent Abogado, and here has as much chance of being held accountable.

Again, you're entitled to your opinion, Phil.

However, I disagree.  Real estate salespersons are not held to the same standards as attorneys in most jurisdictions and attorneys can be disbarred.

cccmedia

frpeter :

we used to live in Santa Marta and still travel regularly to Colombia, so we're not newbies, but we just don't know (any) lawyers there.

frpeter, if you have trouble finding an attorney in Santa Marta, consider expanding your search to Barranquilla*.  The latter city has a metro population of 1.5 million .. up to three times as many folks as live in the municipality of Santa Marta.  Ipso facto, more people = more lawyers.

cccmedia


*44 miles by boat from Santa Marta

I have to say I fully concur with cccmedia. I have lived in Ecuador for 8 years, now live in Colombia for 2 years, and have a business history with both that spans 30 years. Ironically, that business history is in the real estate investment consulting and asset management arena. I would never advise a client of mine to move forward with ANY real estate transaction, in ANY country on the globe, without competent legal counsel. For most, real estate assets represent the highest dollar value in their portfolio. You cannot entrust the legality of contracts, to a real estate professional. Not the same thing. And keep in mind, fwiw, I have clashed 9 times with attorneys on legal interpretations, in a 35-year on-going career. The tally is Hector 9, Attorneys 0. So attorneys are not perfect, but ... even with my experience and track record vis-a-vis attorneys, I strongly advise you to seek legal counsel.

Hector G. Quintana

Yes, which is why I posted the question...

which no one is actually answering...

Probably the reason no one is answering your question is because no one knows any "good, honest, reliable" real estate lawyers in Santa Marta.

I know several "good, honest, reliable" lawyers in my experience:  My brother-in-law in Cali but he's not in the real estate field and is not currently working as a lawyer, and Alan Gongora with Langon Colombia - they do have a real estate practice although they're not located in Santa Marta:

http://langoncolombia.com/real-estate/ 

I just did a search for
santa marta abogado inmobiliaria
...and although there do not appear to be any great number of abogados who specialize in inmobiliaria in Santa Marta, here's some links:

http://www.paginasamarillas.com.co/sant … obiliarios

https://www.abogados.com.co/bufetes/der … anta-marta

https://www.lexdir.co/abogados/derecho- … nta-marta/

There are more hits that come up with that search.  If no one responds with a recommendation you could call/email lawyers/firms listed in the links above and in the other hits.

You cannot entrust the legality of contracts, to a real estate professional. 
-- Hector G. Quintana

Correct.

A part of the issue is the question of allegiance.

An attorney hired by an Expat property purchaser, at least an honest attorney, will serve the Expat's interests.

A real estate salesperson for the seller owes allegiance to his or her client.

If there are gray areas in the law in a South American jurisdiction, the seller's attorney is naturally prone to protecting his or her client's interests .. and to interpreting the law to support that view.


cccmedia

Salazar Pardo & Jaramillo Abogados
Address:
Calle 54 A 5 - 19
Bogotá D.C.
Cundinamarca
Colombia
Telephone:     +571 3104877
Fax:     +571 310 2606
http://www.spjlaw.com
Comment: While HQ is in Bogotá, they have a presence in Santa Marta, as well as several other Colombian cities and worldwide.

cccmedia,

Precisely. Besides, even with 35 years in the field, having discovered likely most legal nuances on a global scale, my forte is the real estate product, within an investment structure. Not the technical legalese, or always keeping up with recent or pending changes in law. That is the role of an attorney. That is his focus. As I tell any attorney that partners with me, you promise not to dispense real estate investment advice, and I will promise not to dispense legal advice.

This is made worse in countries that do not have agency disclosure laws, such as Ecuador and Colombia. In the USA, you have to declare openly whether you represent buyer or seller, and where your primary fiduciary responsibility lies. It is a legal technicality, practically probably not worth the proverbial Bogey "hill of beans" ... but at least it underscores an intended legal protection. Having done business across the globe in nations that have no disclosure laws, firms that have a corporate policy of disclosure, like mine ... maybe 5%. And so, as a buyer ... you get some real estate would-be agent, being paid by the seller, who is responsible for the buyer side of contract interpretation? That make sense to anyone?

Thank you!

This is very helpful.

As a real estate professional (appraiser) I agree with you; realtors are in the business of buying and selling and always have a vested interest in the outcome of the transaction, not what may follow after the deal is closed. I would never rely solely on the claims or knowledge of a realtor. I have seen too many errors in their work over the years.

I am interested in buying a condo in one of the Caribbean coastal cities, Cartagena or Santa Marta, for my retirement. In addition to wanting the services of a competent lawyer to look out for my interests, I plan on carefully investigating the history of the architects, builders and developers of any prospective purchase. Construction quality, safety (of the building) and good management practices are also essential to being satisfied with a purchase, long after the other parties have gone on their way.

canoebum, just as an FYI, as someone active in the real estate market of both cities, HUGE price difference for comparable property, when you compare Cartagena and Santa Marta.

By way of full disclosure, I am a real estate investment consultant, active in the Colombia markets of Bogotá, Medellín, Cartagena, Santa Marta and Pereira.

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