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Insight: Limited access to information negatively impacts real estate market

In the digital age, accessibility and efficiency should be fundamental pillars of any platform that interacts with citizens. Optimizing administrative processes not only makes life easier for users but also significantly contributes to the operational efficiency of industries, thereby fostering greater economic activity.

A clear example of this optimization is the XRoad platform in Estonia, which has revolutionized how citizens interact with the government. According to official data, XRoad saves each citizen over 10,000 hours annually. This platform allows government procedures to flow without the need for physical travel or document searches, thereby improving user satisfaction and freeing up time for more productive activities.

In this context, the Karibe platform in Puerto Rico represented a significant advance for the real estate industry, with numerous benefits. One of these benefits was the ability to obtain a deed from the system, which previously required a physical visit to the registry or contacting the notary who worked on the deed, resulting in long waits and tedious bureaucracy. With Karibe, professionals could access deeds online, significantly simplifying the process.

However, the recent decision to limit this access has reversed these advances, creating new obstacles. The elimination of online access to deeds in Karibe means that real estate professionals now have to resort to slower methods to obtain the necessary information.

This change is comparable to taking a long and tedious route instead of a direct highway, which not only consumes more time but also generates frustration and possible delays in important transactions.

An illustrative example of the problems arising from these restrictions is that in the snapshot of the registration, only the first owner is presented, although there may be multiple owners. If a sales contract includes all names and the lawyer of the other party only sees one owner in the Karibe system, they will request the deed to validate the information. This necessitates contacting the notary, which can delay the closing of the transaction by hours or days.

Another case highlighting accessibility issues is the need to reconstruct a tract. Consider a property that has remained in the same family for 30 years, with multiple changes of ownership not registered in the Municipal Revenue Collections Center (CRIM, in Spanish) since the 1980s. There are five changes of ownership that are not reflected in the records.

To sell the property, it is necessary to reconstruct the tract in the CRIM using the deeds, but if one of the notaries is unavailable, this prevents updating the CRIM to the new owner’s name, causing delays.

It is crucial to understand that deeds contain information that does not endanger private data or sensitive identifiers. These documents should be accessible to licensed professionals through mechanisms that facilitate access in adverse situations.

In a world where information should be easily available to streamline processes, these kinds of restrictions are not only counterproductive but also contradict the principles of efficiency and accessibility that should guide digital services.

The implementation of optimized digital platforms is essential to avoid wasting time on citizen procedures. If restrictions are to be imposed on something that was previously accessible, the focus should be on how to facilitate and accelerate the processes for those who need to consume that information, saving time and resources for both citizens and industries that generate economic activity.

Giancarlo González-Ascar, former CIO of the Government of Puerto Rico from 2013-2015, is an entrepreneur and founder of the Urbital app, which facilitates access to real estate data, and the Guawa app, which enhances the use of public transportation. He is also the author of “From Intention to Action: A Plan for the Digitalization of Puerto Rico.”

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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