REAL ESTATE: Registering Property in Buenos Ares Argentina

Below is a detailed summary of the steps, time and cost involved in registering property in Argentina. It assumes a standardized case of an buyer who wants to purchase land and a building that is already registered and free of title dispute.


# 1 Seller must obtain a certificate of ownership (“dominio”) and a certificate of good standing (“inhibiciones”) from the Real Property Registry

The certificate of ownership (“Certificado de dominio”) proves that the property is free and clear of liens and or encumbrances. According to Executive Order No. 2080/80, article 8, it is mandatory to obtain the nonencumbrance certificate.The certificate of personal annotation (“Certificado de inhibiciones”) proves that there is no judicial order restraining the seller from encumbering or disposing of his assets.

The domain certificate and a personal annotation are valid for 15 days, and they are both requested with a unified form.

When a notary from the Capital Federal requests a domain certificate, the property is “reserved” for 60 days.

If a new Domain certificate is requested during this period, it will state that a transaction is in process.

Pursuant to Technical Resolution N°5/2008 of the Registry of Property dated September 5, 2008, the certificate of personal annotation can be obtained online at the Registry website. Only interested parties pursuant to sections 6,7 and 22, Law No. 17,801 can obtain the certificate online, and they also need to be registered users of the website (e.g. notaries, accountants, lawyers).

Agency: Real Property Registry (Registro de la propiedad inmueble de la Capital Federal)

# 2 Obtain a Real Estate Reference Value (Valor Inmobiliario de Referencia)

Property transfers in the City of Buenos Aires and some parts of the Province of Buenos Aires require a “Valor Inmobiliario de Referencia (VIR)” (Real Estate Reference Value”). The VIR was introduced by Resolution Nº 67-AGIP-10 of February 10, 2010 and later amended by Resolution Nº 435-AGIP-11 of August 3, 2011.

A VIR is assigned to every property by the revenue agency and it sets a minimum base to calculate the stamp tax. The VIR aims to prevent the undervaluation of properties done to pay less stamp duty on property transfers.

The notary has the responsibility to check the VIR, since the stamp duty will be calculated on the greater value between VIR, the fiscal valuation (‘valuación fiscal’) and the sale price agreed by parties. The Procedure is free and it can be obtained online by the notary through the revenue agency website

However, not all the properties in the City of Buenos Aires have been assigned a VIR yet. In these cases the notary must obtain a certificate stating that there is no VIR for the property.

Agency: Real Property Registry (Registro de la propiedad inmueble de la Capital Federal)

# 3 Obtain a cadastral certificate (“certificado catastral”)

The notary requests the cadastral certificate (with measures, boundaries and fiscal valuation) at the Cadastral office (“Oficina catastral”). The certificate is valid for one year. In the Capital Federal, there is no need for a surveyor to measure the property.

Note: for some type of properties, it is possible to obtain the certificate on-line in the Province of Buenos Aires.

Agency: City of Buenos Aires government (“Oficina catastral”)

# 4 Obtain a certificate stating that no local taxes related to the property are due (ABL).

This certificate (“Certificado de libre deuda de impuestos municipales-ABL”) is obtained at the Notaries’ association (“Colegio de Escribanos”). Local taxes related to the property being sold are known as ABL (Alumbrado (street light), Barrido y Limpieza (cleaning)). The certificate is valid for 30 days (or the current month), according to the 2009 “Código Fiscal” of the city of Buenos Aires, which shortened the original 1year validity.

Agency: Notaries’ association (“Colegio de Escribanos de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires”)

# 5 Obtain “Code of Offer of Transfer of a Property” (COTI) at tax agency AFIP

Sellers have to declare property transfers of over ARS 600,000.00, to the tax authorities in the City (AFIP).

The declaration shall include the names of the buyer and seller, the property being transferred and the value of the transaction. Once the transaction is declared, the seller will obtain a “Code of Offer of Transfer of a Property” (COTI) from AFIP. The COTI has a validity of 24 months (extendable 12 months if a construction is to be made).

The “Code of Offer of Transfer of a Property” (COTI) may be obtained:

• Online: Access to the system is via a tax code

• By phone, 0800-999-2347: in which case it will be necessary to print a certificate afterwards from Access to the system is via a tax code 

The COTI was implemented to fight tax evasion on March 1, 2008, through the Resolución General N° 2371Año 2007 from December 14, 2007.

Agency: Tax Agency (AFIP)

# 6 The public deed is executed by the parties with the intervention of a notary public

The public deed is the only document which is mandatory by law to transfer a property’s ownership.

Transactions subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT) are not subject to Transfer Tax (this is the case when companies are parties to the transaction). CGT is paid by the seller. However, this tax is not applicable if the money collected by seller for the transfer of property is used to buy another property within a year of the sale or for the construction of a new property. In this last case, for the tax waiver to apply, the construction has to start a year after or a year before the transaction and it has to be completed 4 years after the date of the transaction.

The notary will retain the 1.5% for the transfer tax, but if the transaction is subject to CGT, he will use this amount to pay the CGT. If the transaction has been arranged through a broker, his fees will be about 3% of the purchase price.

# 7 The notary public files the property transfer for registration with the Real Property Register

Upon registration, the buyer will have perfect and complete title to the property, opposable to third parties.

The registration fees are usually paid by the buyer. The notary has 45 days to register the property transfer.

At this stage, the property title can be used as collateral for a loan, or the property can be resold.

The majority of registrations are made following the regular Procedure.

Agency: Real Property Registry (Registro de la propiedad inmueble de la Capital Federal).

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