Buy A Car In Chile: detailed guide - Suzi Santiago
If you are looking to buy a car in Chile but you don’t know where to begin,
in this article you have the guide through all the stages and process of
buying a car in Chile and not failing at the attempt.
In Chile, bureaucracy is something not to play with, but definitely is not
impossible to get the ideal vehicle for you to have an amazing trip.
1. WHAT DO I NEED TO BUY A CAR IN CHILE?
In order for you to buy a car in Chile, you will need to have your passport,
and a RUT number. This last one, works as an ID that allows you to be the
owner of the car, and also drive with it to other countries in Southamerica.
Even though the RUT number works as an ID, it doesn’t give you any kind
of residency in Chile, it is only used to buy a car, or even a land. For this,
you will need to have a sponsor with residency in the country, and the
process of obtaining this document can take up to a week.
2. WHERE CAN I FIND A CAR TO BUY IN CHILE?
In a matter of finding a vehicle, there are many pages where you can look
for cars, vans or even bikes.
There are sites like ChileAutos, which is the main one, and you can find
from used cars to brand new, also you can negotiate with locals selling
Marketplace and Yapo, are sites used to sell many other things as well, but
you can find really nice deals, mostly for used cars and vans.
Now, if you would like it better to go directly and see many cars at the same
time, you can go to dealerships. There are specific avenues in Santiago
like Av. Francisco Bilbao, or Av. Las Condes that are full of dealers. Youmay need to have into consideration that prices in this places are probably
3. DEALERSHIP OR LOCAL PERSON?
There are various pros and cons to considerate when buying from a
dealership, it will totally depend on what is best in your personal case.
For example, time. If you have in your plans crossing out the border from
Chile to another country in less than 4 months, would be recommended to
buy from a local person.
Why is this? In order for you to cross borders with the car successfully, you
need to have an authorization from the previous owner notarized, while the
ownership of the car is transfering to your name (obtaining the ownership
can take at the moment up to four months). This authorization, you can get
it the same moment that you are buying the car at the notary, since the
owner will also be there to sign it.
Dealerships cannot provide you with this document, since they have an
open contract signed by the owner of the car, ready for the buyer to sign,
and most of them can’t contact the owner to do this paperwork.
Now, if within your plans is not crossing out to other countries, you don’t
need to worry about this. Dealerships are also good when you are thinking
of your credit card as payment method, when you are buying to a local you
would need to pay in cash, bank transfer or deposit.
4. I HAVE FOUND MY CAR ALREADY, HOW CAN I BUY IT?
Once you have found your vehicle, if it’s from a local person, the next step
is to go to a notary. Ownership transfer can also be done at the Civil
Register, but only if you have residency in Chile. If you only have a RUT
number from the SII, the transfer needs to be done at a notary, and from there they will send all the paperwork to the civil register to start the
At the moment of the transfer, both seller and buyer needs to be present,
and the seller will need to bring the following documents:
- ID card
- Padron (ownership document of vehicle)
- Permiso de Circulacion. This is a permit that allows to drive the car, it
needs to be renewed every march, and it needs to be up to date at
the moment of the transfer.
- Seguro Obligatorio SOAP. This is a mandatory insurance, also
renewed every march, and it only covers the personal injuries, not
damage of the vehicle.
- Revision Tecnica y Emision de Gases (Technical Revision). This is a
two-in-one document, and it is a mechanical revision done by an
specific garage (Planta Revision Tecnica) which you can find in every
town or city in Chile. This paper can be updated at any point of the
year, and it is recommended for it to be up to date when transferring it
to your name.
- Certificado de Anotaciones Vigentes. This is a document provided by
the Civil Register, and it shows the history record of the car like
previous owners, if it has any restriction to be sold, and all details
about the car such as year, model, brand, chassis and motor number.
This document costs 1,090 CLP.
- Certificado de Multas no Pagadas. This is also a document by the
Civil register, which shows if it has any fine not paid yet. If it has any
fine pending, the notary will let you know. This document has a cost
of 1,000 CLP. Both of these documents can be downloaded from the
civil register page and they need to be from the same date of the
transfer at the notary. It is recommended to have them printed, even
though some notaries allow you to send them by mail the PDF’s.
In other hand, the buyer will need to bring RUT and passport. It is
recommended to also bring some cash money, since there is a taxpayment to be done by the buyer part. This tax is 1.5% out of what you are
paying for the car, and in some notaries they only accept this tax in cash.
5. PROCESS OF TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP
Once both parties are in the notary, you proceed to the compraventa. This
is the document itself that implies that you are buying this car, each notary
has it’s own format to it, but they have the same content. With this
Compraventa, you can legally drive the car in Chile while you are waiting
for the ownership document (padron), that the Civil Register will send to
your address a few months after the compraventa, or you can download it
as many times as you would like as soon as it’s ready. Also you can collect
it at any office of the civil register around Chile.
If it’s your case, and you want to travel with the car around the continent,
apart from the compraventa and the authorization signed by the previous
owner, you will need to get a declaracion jurada (sworn declaration). This
paper is signed by the buyer, and says that you will return the car to Chile
within a period of 180 days. If you need to extend it, you can cross back to
Chile, and renew it. This paperwork is required for tourists with a car
bought in Chile.
Apart from the 1.5% tax, there are fees for the civil register and notary to be
paid, it can go up to 45,000 CLP and most notaries allow you to pay these
with debit/credit card.
Now, if you found your vehicle in a dealership, it’s very probable for them to
make all the paperwork in the same dealer, so it won’t be necessary to go
to a notary.
They will take a copy of your passport, RUT, and charge you for the fees
and taxes required, and then they will send all of this to a notary in the first
place, and then it’s sent to the civil register to the actual transfer of
ownership.A week after it’s sent to the civil register, you can go to the dealership and
ask for the Impuesto de Transferencia, this is a more official paper that
confirms that the ownership is being handled and soon to be in your name.
6. HOW CAN I PAY WHEN BUYING A CAR IN CHILE?
There are several ways on how to pay when you are buying a car in Chile.
-International Bank Transfer: probably it’s one of the safest ways if you
don’t have a chilean bank account, but you have to reach an agreement
with seller in order to it, since it takes the money a few days to be from an
international bank account to a chilean one. So, the seller won’t sign the
contract without having the money already, and it’s also not
recommendable to transfer the money without having any paper signed. A
way to resolve this matter is making at a notary a ‘Promesa de Venta’
which says that you will transfer the money, and as soon as seller part has
the funds on it’s bank account, the sale contract will be signed.
-Cash: easiest way of payment, since everything is immediate and you can
handle it to seller while signing at the notary, but you need to be careful
when carrying around such amount of money. Also works when you cannot
agree with seller to do an international bank transfer.
-Transfer from a chilean bank account: if you have a friend or a person of
trust with a chilean bank account then this one would be the easiest and
practical way, since it would be immediate without having that much cash.
FINAL TIPS-It’s completely recommendable to do a check up with a garage or a
mechanic before buying an used car, it can look perfectly on the outside
but what really matters it’s how is the motor, even more when you will use
this car to travel. There are garages that can do this check up for 20,000
-Car Maintenance: it’s ideal when you buy an used car to do a basics
maintenance such as oil change, break pads, tires, etc.
This is something you can also check when doing the pre-buy revision.
-Car paperwork: you should be aware of when the paperwork is expired,
but two of the most important papers are to be renewed in March. You first
need to update SOAP (mandatory insurance) in order to be able to renew
the Permiso de Circulacion. It’s not necessary to get the SOAP in the same
company every year, but you will need to renew the Permiso in the same
municipality as the previous year. You have the option to pay it online and
printing it, or going directly to a municipality’s office.
While the Technical Revision can be expired at any month of the year, you
can make an appointment online before going to the garage
(recommended), or you can go directly and wait in line. This revision has a
cost from 15,000 to 25,000 depending on your vehicle.
-Fines and debt: it’s important before buying the car to check if it has any
kind of fines to pay. Since the ones that are not from tolls, stay registered
with the car and not the owner. You can require the owner to pay them and
demonstrate it before the sale contract.
-When having the sale contract, authorization and declaracion jurada,
make sure to get at least 3 copies of each one, because it’s very likely that
officers at the borders will ask to keep one. Also for your RUT, or any other
type of document. Also is important to scan the documents and have them
in your email or drive, so you are over secure if you lose your papers.