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Who Pays Notary Fees And Other Related Topics Concerning Puerto Rico Real Estate Transactions

Far from being simple administrative expenses, notary fees play a pivotal role in ensuring the legal solidity of property transactions. In Puerto Rico, notaries are tasked with many responsibilities beyond document authentication. They verify the authenticity of documents, confirm that all parties fully understand and agree to the terms, and oversee the official registration of the transaction. The importance of notaries is magnified in luxury property transactions, where the financial and legal stakes are considerably higher. Their expertise acts as a safeguard, protecting all involved parties from potential legal issues and disputes.

This blog aims to illuminate the essential aspects of notary involvement in real estate transactions. It focuses on understanding who is responsible for notary fees and offers valuable insights and advice.

Key Takeaways

  • Notary fees in Puerto Rico vary based on the property's value, the transaction's complexity, and the range of services provided.
  • Notary fees can be significant in luxury real estate transactions and are subject to negotiation between the buyer and seller.
  • The buyer typically assumes the notary fees, reflecting their interest in securing a legally sound and adequately documented property transaction.
  • Notaries ensure real estate transactions' legality and procedural correctness, which is crucial in smoothly executing property deals.

What is a Notary Signing Agent?

A notary signing agent, also known as a real estate notary, is a professional responsible for guiding borrowers through the documentation involved in closing their home loan, acting as a loan signing agent as well. Typically, a loan document package comprises 100 to 150 pages, many of which necessitate signatures, initials, and dates.

Under the National Notary Association, notary signing agents play a crucial role in overseeing loan document completion and ensuring your signature on the paperwork. Many of these documents will need a notary acknowledgment, necessitating the real estate notary to hold a commission as a notary public.

What is the Role of a Real Estate Notary?

The role of a real estate notary is pivotal in the home purchasing journey, tasked with the meticulous oversight of the closing process to ensure its accuracy and legality. They play a critical role in organizing and validating the necessary documentation.

The duties of a real estate notary include:

  • Authenticating the identities of the individuals signing the closing documents.
  • Verifying that all documents are accessible and comprehensible to the signers or appropriately translated if needed.
  • Confirming the accurate completion of documents through signatures, initials, and dates.
  • Properly notarizing the documents.
  • Facilitating the prompt return of documents to the title company.

Furthermore, real estate notaries may provide the convenience of visiting a borrower's residence to conduct closings remotely, enhancing the flexibility and efficiency of the process. However, it is essential to note that their role does not extend to offering advice on the loan or expressing opinions on the content of the closing documents. Their primary focus is to ensure the legal and procedural correctness of the document signing process.

What are the Factors Influencing Notary Fees

Notary fees in Puerto Rico are not fixed but are influenced by various factors, each contributing to the final amount payable. Potential residents must comprehend these factors as they navigate the complexities of acquiring property on the island.

1. Property Value

The value of the property in question plays a significant role in determining notary fees. In Puerto Rico, the cost associated with notary services often scales with the property's market value. Luxury real estate, characterized by its higher market value, typically incurs higher notary fees. This correlation exists because the financial stakes and potential risks are greater, necessitating a more thorough examination and handling by the notary.

2. Transaction Complexity

Another critical factor is the complexity of the real estate transaction. Transactions involving multiple parties, international buyers, or unique property types can increase the notary's workload and responsibility. For instance, a luxury property with historical significance may require additional legal scrutiny to ensure all historical preservation laws are adhered to, thus increasing the transaction's complexity and, consequently, the notary fees.

3. Additional Services Provided by the Notary

Notaries in Puerto Rico offer services beyond the basic verification of documents and signatures. These may include legal counseling, drafting specialized documents, or facilitating negotiations between parties. The extent to which these additional services are utilized can significantly impact the overall notary fees. In luxury real estate, where transactions are often more nuanced and require bespoke solutions, the demand for these additional notarial services is higher, leading to increased costs.

Who Pays for Notary Fees?

In the context of luxury property transactions in Puerto Rico, the responsibility for covering notary fees is a subject governed by both customary practices and the specifics of negotiation between the involved parties. Understanding who bears the cost of notary fees is crucial, as these can be significant given the high value of luxury properties and the complex legal documentation they necessitate.

Customary Practices in Puerto Rico

Traditionally, the allocation of notary fees in Puerto Rican real estate transactions can vary, often influenced by local customs and the nature of the transaction itself. In many cases, it is customary for the buyer to assume responsibility for these fees. This expectation stems from the buyer's interest in ensuring that the property's title is clear and that the transaction complies with local legal requirements, a process thoroughly vetted by the notary.

However, there are instances where the seller might cover the notary fees, especially if doing so can facilitate a quicker sale or is part of a strategic negotiation to attract buyers. In luxury real estate transactions, where the stakes are higher, and both parties have significant investment in the process, the responsibility for notary fees can become a point of negotiation.

The Role of Negotiation

Negotiation plays a pivotal role in determining who ultimately pays the notary fees in luxury property transactions in Puerto Rico. Given the substantial amounts involved, buyers and sellers are keenly interested in optimizing their financial commitments. As such, the responsibility for notary fees can often be leveraged as a negotiation tool.

Parties may agree to share the costs, with the buyer and seller paying a portion of the fees. This arrangement can be particularly appealing in a buyer's market, where sellers are motivated to make their properties more attractive to potential buyers. Conversely, in a seller's market, buyers may offer to cover all notary fees to strengthen their bid for a coveted property.

It is also common for the payment of notary fees to be included as a clause within the purchase agreement. This legally binding document can specify the agreed-upon terms regarding notary fees, providing clarity and assurance to both parties. Engaging in open discussions about notary fees and seeking to understand each party's expectations and limitations can lead to a mutually beneficial arrangement.

How Much Are Notary Fees for These Properties?

While specific fees can vary widely, it is possible to provide a general idea. For instance, a notary might charge 1% of the first $500,000 of the property's value, with the rate decreasing to 0.5% for values above this threshold. Therefore, for a luxury property valued at $2 million, the notary fee could be calculated on a sliding scale, resulting in a fee that reflects both the high value of the property and the tiered fee structure. This base fee would add additional charges for complex transactions or extra services.

Let's Take 2 Actual Puerto Rico Homes for Sale for Example


1379 PASEO DON JUAN Unit: 5B & 5C

Price: $2,490,000

The Paseo Don Juan waterfront apartment in Condado blends serene luxury with modern amenities across 2,111 sq. ft., including a modern kitchen and breathtaking ocean views. Situated in a historic enclave, this 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath residence offers both a tranquil retreat and a smart investment in Puerto Rico's beachfront real estate.

For the Paseo Don Juan waterfront apartment in Condado, valued at $2,490,000, the hypothetical calculation for notary fees would be as follows:

  • The fee for the first $500,000 of the property's value, charged at a rate of 1%, would amount to $5,000.
  • The remaining $1,990,000, above the initial threshold, would be charged at a reduced rate of 0.5%, resulting in $9,950.

Thus, the total notary fee for this luxury beachfront property would be approximately $14,950. This calculation does not include any additional charges that might apply for complex transactions or the provision of extra services by the notary.

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Priced at $1,075,000, this open-plan, sunlit Miramar single-family home offers luxury living with four bedrooms, ample entertaining space, and modern amenities like a security system and solar water heater. Situated in the sought-after Miramar area, near top schools and vibrant dining, it represents a prime choice for those desiring an upscale Puerto Rican residence.

For the Miramar single-family home priced at $1,075,000, the hypothetical calculation for notary fees would be as follows:

  • The fee for the first $500,000 of the property's value, charged at 1%, amounts to $5,000.
  • The remaining $575,000, above this threshold, incurs a fee of 0.5%, totaling $2,875.

Therefore, the total notary fee for this luxurious property would be approximately $7,875, not including any potential additional charges for complex transactions or extra services provided by the notary. ​


Notaries are indispensable in validating the legality and accuracy of property transactions, safeguarding all parties involved against potential legal disputes. Their fees, influenced by property value, transaction complexity, and additional services, are often a point of negotiation between buyers and sellers, reflecting the customized nature of luxury property deals. With the buyer usually bearing the responsibility, these fees testify to the critical role notaries play in the real estate ecosystem, ensuring every transaction is executed with the utmost care and professionalism.

At Christie's Real Estate Puerto Rico, we understand the intricacies of luxury property transactions and the crucial role notaries play in safeguarding your investment. Whether you're looking to buy, sell, or rent out a prestigious property, our real estate agents will guide you through each step with expertise and care. Let Christie's be your partner in navigating the luxury real estate market.


What is the difference between a Notary Public and a Notary Signing Agent?

A Notary Public is an official authorized to perform legal formalities, especially relating to documents such as deeds, affidavits, and contracts. In Puerto Rico, their role is even more significant due to the island's civil law system, which requires them to have legal qualifications and to provide legal advice. On the other hand, a Notary Signing Agent is a Notary Public with additional training to handle and notarize loan documents.

They are specially trained to conduct loan closings and deeply understand mortgage loan documents but only offer legal advice within this scope.

Who can notarize a document in Puerto Rico?

In Puerto Rico, a document can be notarized by a Notary Public who is a licensed attorney. Unlike many jurisdictions in the United States, where a Notary Public might not need a legal background, Puerto Rican notaries must have a law degree and pass a notary exam. This requirement underscores the notary's role in providing legal advice and ensuring the integrity of the legal documents being notarized, reflecting the island's civil law system.

How much do you pay a notary public?

The fees paid to a notary public in Puerto Rico can vary significantly based on the services required and the complexity of the transaction. Notary fees are regulated by law and are usually a percentage of the property's value for real estate transactions, but there's also a minimum fee for services unrelated to real estate. For general notary services, such as notarizing affidavits or contracts, fees might be set at a flat rate or hourly rate, depending on the notary's discretion and the nature of the service.

Individuals should inquire directly with the notary or consult official fee schedules to understand the specific costs associated with their needs.


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