Common Sense Approach to Buying Real Estate in Costa Rica
Travel Costa Rica and thinking about buying property? Yes, foreigners are allowed to own property in Costa Rica..usually in the name of a corporation which your Costa Rican attorney will form before you begin the purchasing process. Now: All land records are kept at one place-a central title registry called Registro National, located in San Jose the capital city. You should have you attorney check the property at this National Registry before you get serious about making an offer, to make sure the person selling is the true owner of the property, and the property is free of liens.
All liens and attachments (to be legal) against a property must be registered at Public Registry.
Real Estate agents in Costa Rica are not required by law to be licensed and there is no such thing as “multiple listings” like we have in the US. Many people take up the title of Real Estate Agent without proper training so be careful; and check them out very well before giving them your trust. Also: Speculation is rampant in the prices of real estate..so take all the time you need to wisely judge the reasonable price to pay. You could start by asking others foreigners who have bought property in the your area.
Choose an attorney to represent you who is DIFFERENT from the one representing the seller.
Inquire around the North American community for an attorney who is fluent in the English language. Ask ahead of time about his fees. You do not want surprises, since these fees are generally higher than what we are accustomed to in the US or Canada for the same services.
Offer to purchase property with a written contract (never a verbal contract) which your chosen attorney will prepare for you.
Don’t pay the first price asked. Don’t act overly enthusiastic,… take your time. Costa Ricans expect you to negotiate.
Electrical and Potable water: Make sure the property has existing electrical lines that you can tap into. Getting the electrical company to run new electric poles, transformers, lines, etc to your newly purchased property can be a very very long process or you may never get them. Same is true with potable water. Check ALL this out first!
Corporations: The common practice is to purchase your property under the name of a corporation. Which you should form before you begin your quest to find your property. There are many very important advantages to doing this in Costa Rica, too many to list here. Plan to discuss these advantages with your attorney.
Squatters in Costa Rica It is best NOT to buy property in remote areas and leave it unattended (without someone living on it to watch and protect it) Squatters could occupy your property . This is a serious problem, which could make your life miserable. Squatters have rights in Costa Rica..