Real Estate – What to know if purchasing property in Costa Rica

Modern Languages at Finger Lakes Community College – Costa Rica 2013” by LeafLanguages is marked with CC0 1.0.

Costa Rica allures tourists with its laid-back lifestyle, diverse natural landscape, and tropical weather. It has also been the most preferred destination for private investors for decades. Maybe you want to purchase some real estate property in Costa Rica. This article covers the things you need to know.

Why purchase property in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica boasts a comfortable temperate climate year-round. The country offers almost limitless outdoor activities.

Costa Rican property laws are foreigner-friendly. If you are a U.S. national, you can purchase real estate properties like a local. The country allows all foreigners to have the same rights to purchase property as Costa Ricans. Anyone with a tourist visa can purchase properties in Costa Rica without any proof of residency or citizenship. It does not apply to maritime zones which require the involvement of a Costa Rica national and obtaining permission.

Generally, foreign buyers form a corporation with lawyers and purchase properties through that corporation. It delivers the following advantages.

  • Beneficial or rental income and capital gains.
  • Simplified estate planning.
  • No personal liability

Documents needed for buying land in Costa Rica

  • Copy of the deed
  • Plano Catastrado
  • Certified report of the title search
  • Copy of the survey map
  • Alineamiento certificate from the INVU
  • Proof of clear deed and up-to-date tax clearance

Information needed before purchase

  • Property Number in Folio Real
  • Yearly Property Tax amount
  • Details of Zoning Regulations
  • Existing concessions, annotations, or liens
  • Presence of any easement
  • Land occupation status
  • Fencing and border status
  • Presence of rivers or creeks on the land
  • Rightful ownership of the seller
  • Pending legal disputes
  • Feasibility of purchasing through Escrow
  • Availability of basic utilities

Choosing a Realtor in Costa Rica

Like any other place choosing a realtor in Costa Rica has some difficulties. The Costa Rican Chamber of Real Estate Brokers (CCCBR) and Costa Rica Global Association of REALTORS (CRGAR) provide all information regarding affiliated real estate agents and realtors. They can ensure your property deal in a fast and secure manner. They have a team of professionals specialized in different areas to satisfy intending buyers.

One can find real estate agents in Costa Rica by visiting the following website.

Or, check for realtors on the following website

One should also try to find out if the real estate agents live in the community they are working. Whether they know the local property market and know the owner themselves.  It helps to avoid many problems in later stages.

Modern Languages at Finger Lakes Community College – Costa Rica 2013” by LeafLanguages is marked with CC0 1.0.

Steps To Find The Right Property

1. Purchasing as a Foreign Citizen

Foreign citizens can purchase real estate in Costa Rica. It also helps get residency in Costa Rica. Everyone staying for a longer period needs a residency permit. Get a lawyer who is familiar with the residency process.

2. Working on Real Estate Transactions

It is better to purchase a land as “Fee Simple Title” by putting the land in a corporation and then purchasing the corporation.

3. Do Your Due Diligence

It is difficult to find comparable listings of Costa Rica properties. As such, one must do due diligence. Your lawyer should check the Central Land Registry to confirm the clear title of the property.

4. Financing the Purchase

It is tough for a foreigner to secure a bank loan for a Costa Rican property.  As such most transactions are paid in cash or by forming a corporation.

5. Finding the perfect location

One should spend sufficient time looking around for the property. It is better to go for location-finding trips first, as different regions have different styles and customs.  It helps get one at the right location.

6. Rent Before You Buy

Take rent for at least three months in the area you are thinking to buy a property to get acquainted with the place.

7. Fees and Commissions

The seller pays the commission for property transactions in Costa Rica. If a seller advises against appointing an agent, that could be a red flag.

8.  Researching Properties

Ask your agent to find out the “Folio Real” or also called, Identification Number. Search for title status before buying.

9. Insure the Purchase

Opt for title insurance. If it is not available, that indicates a red flag. No one should purchase such properties.

10. Protect your Interest

Avail of an Escrow account to make sure that you will get what you are buying.

11. Close the Purchase

The physical presence of buyers in Costa Rica is essential to close the purchase and final transfer of the property title.

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