Costa Rica remains a top choice for expats seeking a new home or investment. Its appeal lies in affordable healthcare, vibrant expat communities, abroad vacancies, favorable climate, and safety. While purchasing and renting property is straightforward, with the market booming, it’s wise to grasp the buying process intricacies. Here’s a brief guide to securing your piece of paradise in Costa Rica.
But first, let’s address the fundamental question.
Can An Expat Purchase and Own Property in Costa Rica?
Foreigners can generally purchase real estate in Costa Rica without hurdles, except in coastal “marine zones,” where ownership is restricted to 49% via a corporation, often needing approval. Residency isn’t necessary; foreigners, like locals, enjoy equal property rights.
7 Vital Steps to Buying Property in Costa Rica
Buying real estate property in Costa Rica requires thorough due diligence and trusted local partners.
Step 1: Take Assistance from a Trustworthy Realtor
First, find a reputable realtor through recommendations and personal networks. Experienced realtors assist expats in navigating the buying process, though caution is advised due to less trustworthy agents. Shopping around ensures a smooth transaction and minimizes potential problems.
Step 2: Check Properties and select the ideal Location
After deciding where to buy, explore properties in Costa Rica. We’ll highlight prime locations later. Expect abundant options, making the selection delightful!
Step 3: Accomplish your own Property Inspections
When narrowing your property search, conduct personal checks, and visit at different times. Experienced expats recommend examining in the rain for structural issues. Inquire about energy consumption and maintenance costs for budgeting.
Step 4: Hire a Real estate Lawyer
When ready to buy property, enlist a real estate attorney. Opting for one who is also a Notary Public can simplify registration of the sale later.
Step 5: Discuss the Buying Price and Write up a Proposal
In any location, reaching a consensus on the sale price is essential, and your legal representative should compose a formal offer, foreseeing negotiations, particularly in the current active market.
Step 6: Accomplish a Title search and put your Deposit
Your lawyer will assist in necessary due diligence, encompassing vital title searches to ensure legal sale eligibility. Additionally, consider structural assessments for property condition verification.
Step 7: Close the Sale
It typically requires one to two months to finalize the sale. Your attorney, if a Notary Public, can handle purchase registration, or you can engage a third party. Complete the transaction by settling the remaining property cost along with closing and legal fees.
What are the top Locations to Purchase Real Estate in Costa Rica?
The central American country is a haven of vibrant cities, serene beach resorts, lush jungles, and breathtaking national parks, which draws foreign investors to notable cities.
- Tamarindo: Nestled in Guanacaste, it offers stunning beaches, making it a pricey yet secure real estate investment.
- San Jose: As the capital, it attracts expats with its excellent infrastructure, healthcare, education, shopping, dining, and golf amenities.
- Santa Ana: Near San Jose, it blends tradition with modernity, providing a peaceful retreat from urban hustle while offering convenience.
What is the Normal Price of Property in Costa Rica?
Property prices fluctuate based on property type and location, with average rates per square meter ranging: Tamarindo, $1,900-$2,385; San Jose, $1,300-$1,800; Santa Ana, $1,700-$1,900.
What are Property Taxes and Fees in Costa Rica?
Besides the home price, buyers face additional taxes, varying with property value:
- Real estate transfer tax: 0.75%
- Documentary stamp: 0.18%
- Notary fees: 0.5%-1%
- Residential real estate register stamp: 0.45%
- Agent’s commission: 2.5%-5% of property value.
What are the Perils of Purchasing Property in Costa Rica?
Costa Rica’s property buying involves key considerations:
Title Issues: Investigate property titles thoroughly due to unique land registration, ensuring clarity to avoid legal disputes.
Zoning and Restrictions: Check zoning regulations and land use restrictions, as they vary by region. Ensure the property suits your intended use, considering environmental laws that may limit development.
Infrastructure and Access: While infrastructure is generally decent, remote areas may lack amenities. Assess proximity to roads, hospitals, and schools for quality of life and resale value. Consulting a lawyer can aid in navigating these complexities.
1. Real Estate Taxes and Upkeep Fees
Before buying property in Costa Rica, grasp its tax system and anticipate maintenance costs like landscaping and security. These ongoing expenses can sway your budget significantly.
2. Natural Calamities
The country faces risks from earthquakes, volcanic activity, and tropical storms. Different areas have varying levels of susceptibility. Evaluate the property’s exposure to these dangers and contemplate securing insurance against natural disasters to minimize potential financial impact.
3. Alterations in Government Rules
Be aware of potential shifts in government policies, as they can affect property ownership and investments. Stay updated on laws, regulations, and taxation changes.
4. Social and Language Variations
Transitioning to Costa Rica requires acclimating to its culture and possibly learning Spanish if not already proficient. Understand local customs, laws, and social norms to ease the adjustment and prevent future misunderstandings or conflicts.
Here it is—our comprehensive guide on purchasing property in Costa Rica. Whether seeking urban living or seaside escape, relocating permanently, or buying for leisure or investment, anticipate an exciting journey ahead.