Can Real Estate Buyers Take Out a Mortgage in Colombia?

While traditional financing may not be accessible to foreigners in Colombia, investors have options.

With its bustling cosmopolitan cities, sparkling Caribbean coast, emerald-green hilltops, and warm, friendly locals, Colombia has become a favorite among travelers, digital nomads, expats, and – increasingly – real estate investors, who may want to find a mortgage in Colombia. 

Over the last 15 years, Colombia has seen steady growth in tourism, the economy, and the housing market. Real estate prices took a big jump in 2003 and have been rising ever since. But even with climbing prices, Colombian properties continue to represent some of the best real estate bargains in the world. 

The exceptional value of Colombian properties is partly due to the devaluation of the Colombian peso (COP) against the U.S. dollar (USD). Colombia’s peso dropped to a record low in March 2020 compared to the USD, which peaked at $4218.38 pesos to the dollar. As of today the USD remains strong against the COP due to the weakness in the price of oil, Colombia’s primary export.

Another reason investors are drawn to Colombian real estate? With the purchase of a qualifying property, investors can secure a residency visa and put themselves on the path to obtaining a second passport. To be eligible for a resident visa, foreigners must invest over 650 times the monthly minimum wage in Colombia.

In 2020, the minimum wage in Colombia is $877,803 pesos per month. Based on today’s exchange rate, a foreigner can qualify for a residency visa with a minimum investment of $570,571,950 COP or $150,150 USD.

For a USD investor, Colombia represents an unprecedented opportunity to purchase real estate at a much lower price and obtain a second passport further down the road. Sweetening the deal, there are minimal obstacles to foreigners purchasing property in Colombia—with one notable exception.

Mortgages in Colombia 

As Adrian Beales, Director of Sales at Lifeafar, explains, “Traditional financing, such as mortgages or loans, is pretty much not available to foreigners.” 

As a primarily cash-based economy, Colombia has a relatively small mortgage market. Only around 3% of Colombian homeowners have mortgages, compared to more than 60% of homeowners in the U.S. 

The Colombian mortgage market has seen growth over the last few years due to historically low interest rates. However, it remains challenging to obtain a mortgage even as a Colombian citizen and next to impossible as a foreigner. Before they can even be considered for a mortgage, foreigners must obtain residency in Colombia and typically reside in the country for several years. Foreigners are also required to have a Colombian bank account and established credit, and they may be asked to present proof of paying Colombian taxes.

With mortgages off the table for most foreigners, investors have been required to pay for properties in cash in full. Now, however, an alternative financing system has become increasingly available to foreign buyers.

Developer Financing: An Alternative Financing Option 

Referred to as quotas, this system is an installment agreement made with the developer. Quotas agreements have become more available to foreign investors in recent years. “[With the quotas system], a foreigner who doesn’t have all the money straight away can essentially get financing—but it is limited,” explains Beales. 

The quotas system is available exclusively for pre-construction or sobre planos (off-plan) properties and arranged directly with the Colombian developer. With this type of agreement, the investor typically puts between 5-30% of the property purchase price down initially and continues to pay installments while the building is constructed over the next 24 to 36 months. At the end of construction, the investor pays the remaining purchase price of the property or flips out of their position. 

Beales gives the following example: 

“Let’s say you buy an apartment worth $100,000 USD and put down 10%. Over the next 24 months, you would pay around 7.1 million pesos ($1,875 USD) per month. By the time the construction is finished, you’ve paid 50%—10% at the start and 40% over the development period. Then, when the construction is finished, you pay the remaining 50%.” 

“It’s basically saying you are going to pay for the apartment over a two- or three-year period, but at the end, you have to have all the money,” says Beales. 

The quotas system has long been common among Colombian homebuyers, but developers have recently become more willing to provide this option to foreigners. 

Unlike mortgages, the quotas system is theoretically available to any homebuyer, regardless of whether they live in Colombia. It is up to the developer to set eligibility requirements, though they will likely want assurance that the investor will be able to pay the total amount at the end of construction. 

Mortgages in Colombia – The Bottom Line

A growing economy coupled with residency options and the current strength of the U.S. dollar versus the Colombian peso makes Colombian real estate a fantastic opportunity. And even though the lack of traditional mortgage in Colombia options may limit the number of foreign investors, the absence of leverage in the Colombian real estate market reduces the likelihood of the country experiencing a real estate bubble. 

If you are interested in the lucrative but sometimes challenging process of investing in Colombian real estate, contact us today. Our team of local and international real estate specialists can help you learn more about arranging a quotas agreement and successfully purchasing a high-quality property at a fair price in Colombia.

34 thoughts on “Can Real Estate Buyers Take Out a Mortgage in Colombia?

  1. Zani Semovski says:

    I am interested in purchasing 2 apartments in Medellin as investments. What are my options with financing? I am a US citizen.

    • Rich Holman says:


      Sorry for the late reply as I just received your query today from our web site. I am emailing your requested information right now.


  2. Felipe Pimentel says:

    I am interested in purchasing apartment in Medellin. What are my options with financing? I am a Canadian citizen.

    • Rich Holman says:


      Of course and your email info with a 51 page slide presentation regarding Medellin, a FAQ for the real estate process and some tips on hotels and restaurants is on its way along with an introduction to one of our bi lingual realtors.


  3. Richard Phillips says:

    I just got married on March 16, 2023, my wife is a Colombian citizen and I am a us citizen, i want to purchase a home in Colombia, what is the easiest and best financing to an already built apartment complex, I have a home in the United States with a mortgage,

  4. Haroon Kamal says:

    I am interested in purchasing a an aprtment or two either in Cartagena or Medellin. Please let me know what my options are.

  5. James Gomez-Trueblood says:

    I’m looking to buy the apartment I’m currently renting in Chico. The property has be confiscated by the government as the former owner was into criminal activity so in about a year the government will take the apartment and auction it off but I was told since we are leasing it we would get first priority over purchasing the property? May or may not be true “it’s Colombia”
    But if we can get a new construction similar to this apartment for a lower price but I want the same features as my current apartment which contains: 1 a deep bathtub 2 fireplace 3 a very large terrace big enough to have a grill, 6 seat patio dining table, small fire pit, 2 sun lounge chairs or pool chairs whatever you want to call them, and lots of plants 30 pots and troughs, solid hardwood floors, a mini laundry room. 1.5 very spacious bathrooms. If I can get that or something very similar I’ll have about $26,000 for quota and $16,000 to $18,000 after the 24 months. I know a friend who bought his place which was a bit smaller using a quota for $32,000 in a high rise in colina.

    • Rich Holman says:


      Sorry but we do not service the Chico area.

      If you have an interest in properties in and around Medellin please let us know.


  6. Matthew says:

    Hi I am a US citizen interested in purchasing a highrise apartment as an investment in Poblado medellin and would like to know my options for financing

  7. Jay says:

    Hi Rich…

    I am a US Citizen.. My sister is a Costa Rican citizen and we are both interested in financing options for purchases in Medellin. Please email me with options that might be available to us. Thank you, Jay.

    • Rich Holman says:


      Since 2007 we have sold more than 600 Medellin properties to foreigners and not one of them used or obtained a Colombian mortgage nor did any of them get a mortgage from a US lender for a purchase of property in Colombia. In fact in Colombia only 3% of properties have mortgages here as they are prohibitively expensive even for Colombians.

      Prior to my moving to moving to Medellin in 2007, I was a mortgage banker in Naples Florida. I never saw or heard of any mortgages ever being approved for Colombia.

      For buyers who are not in a current strong cash position, or are looking for some type of leverage, we suggest the following possible alternatives:

      1. Purchase a new Medellin construction project where you put down around 30-40%, pay monthly over two years and pay off about 30-40% upon completion of the construction.
      2. Obtain a loan in your home country from a home equity loan, a second mortgage, or borrow from friends and family. Unless you have a special relationship with your home country bank, you will find it is almost impossible to get a mortgage for properties in Latin America.
      3. Borrow from, or use a retirement plan, like an IRA or 401K, to purchase your property. You can purchase property in Colombia under these plans simply be setting up a self-directed IRA.
      4. Borrow from a third party hard money lender in Colombia that is offering mortgage financing. At this time such rates are very high (over 20%) and will also require a high down payment.
      5. Ask about owner financing which is a bit difficult but we have completed about 12 owner financed deals since 2007. You would need about 25-50% down payment, a shorter amortization of 1-5 years and an interest rate somewhere between the US and Colombian mortgage rates.
      6. Ask about a lease with option to buy program.

      If any of these options are of interest, and you feel you may be qualified, please let me know and I will have one of our bi lingual realtors to follow up and assist you.


    • Rich Holman says:


      Maybe is the answer and I will send you an email giving more insights into Colombian mortgages and why since 2007 we have sold more than 600 properties to foreign buyers, and not one obtained, or even wanted, a Colombian mortgage.


  8. Richard Dran says:

    Hi, could you send me the information pack that you’ve mentioned in other comments? I am interested in investing in Colombia.

  9. Boris Kouptsov says:

    I am interested in purchasing apartment in Santa Marta Colombia . What are my options with financing? I’m a US and Russian citizen.

    • Rich Holman says:

      Boris, any foreigner with a valid passport is eligible to purchase real estate in Colombia with the same rights as a Colombian citizen. I will send you an info package.

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