Buying Real Estate in Costa Rica
Buying Costa Rica real estate for sale is becoming more and more popular due to the numerous types of properties and investment options open to the international buyer. Whether you are interested in verdant mountain scenery or Costa Rica beach property, our listing feature an option you are sure to like. Our laws and judicial system includes regulations for secure property rights for foreign owners of fee simple titled properties. There are certain steps you need to follow to protect yourself and your venture when buying real estate. You do not have to live in the country to be a property owner and you are subject to the same rules and regulations as a citizen. It is a good idea to hire a knowledgeable real estate attorney to check details and documents. Narrow down your search according to what you are seeking: through the Costa Rica MLS, by type,area or raw terrain. Keep financial resources, cost of taxes and closing in mind, as well as additional expenses you may have if there are fixes to be made or remodeling you want to do. Go see properties, take notes and snapshots, write down your feelings and pros and cons. Then pick the one that is closest to what you wish.
When buying property in Costa Rica, the most desirable, and ironically the most problematic terrains to own are ocean front properties. The reason is that by law the first 50 meters after the high tide mark cannot be owned or built upon and the 150 meters beyond that mark are known as the Maritime Terrestrial Zone, and can only be leased or given by concession to national citizens or corporations with very limited exceptions. Because of the concession, coastal properties cannot be put to your name and therefore can’t be mortgaged either. Another issue to consider is to make sure if the terrain is titled and not just in possession. Any titled property would have a number (like an ISBN number for books or a social security number) which is called a “Folio Real”. This number means that the property is registered and it can be checked to see the status and rightful ownership. Buying an untitled place is considered risky.
Once you’ve chosen the property you want to buy, real estate laws require you follow these steps with the assistance of a knowledgeable real estate attorney to sign purchase agreements or options so that you can start checking on the property. Generally, 10-20% of the purchase cost is paid then. A place should be looked up and the records checked to see if there are any liens or encumbrances on it. Besides the Folio Real, the Plano Catastrado is also necessary: this document defines the territory’s boundaries and the lay of the terrain, as well as any roads. Then your attorney should do a title search on the place and to bring out the property’s survey plans, making sure both correspond. If the property is clear, then the transfer can be done in front of a public notary: this may be your real estate attorney or someone different. Closing costs are traditionally split between buyer and seller and these costs generally involve two things: government fees and taxes and notary fees.