Things work very different in Costa Rica. And determining the correct price to pay for a house or land is not easy. You cannot find in a tax office or the public real estate register the price paid for a given house. And believe me there is massive speculation going on in Costa Rica in property prices! I built a house and hired a master carpenter to oversee the construction..the over all experience was stressful and the house cost me 30% more that I had anticipated. I wish I could have bought a house already built. But every time I made an offer on a house, the Tico owners kept raising the price so I just gave up.
So you must approach this endeavor of buying a house in Costa Rica with much caution and a lot of time.
I think the best overall thing to do is first decide on what area of the country you want to live. Then search out the most reputable realestate broker in the area. Get several references on him.
Talk to other American or foreigners who live in the area and get their input as to prices, etc.
Many people call themselves real estate salespeople but have not experience nor are they experts. Costa Rica law does not require a real estate license to sell realestate.
And there is no such thing as multiple listings.
So really you are wondering around in a deep ocean trying to stay afloat.
Everything in Costa Rica is “negotiable.” even the rent you would pay for a house or apartment. so that means you can negotiate the commission paid to your broker, if he sells you land or a house. (standard in Costa Rica is 5%) but if he asks more just negotiate…or he might even take less than 5%.
Ask the attorney you choose (he should speak English) what his fees are going to be (up front) so there are no unpleasant surprises. Attorney’s fees for closing a real estate deal are high so check all this out first!
There are no zoning laws (in general) in Costa Rica so you could find a half million dollar house next to a shack. (Although the very expensive home would probably be surround by a tall wall so you cannot see inside the property from the road.
Yes, one can become enchanted with the beautiful natural beauty and climate of this country and forget that things just do not run like back home. So rent for awhile and take all the time you need to check out that area you think might be your shangri la.