You’ll be happy to know that foreigners have the same rights when buying property / purchasing land in Costa Rica as locals do.  You can own property outright in your own name or in the name of your corporation.  The one exception that may apply is when the property is located in the Maritime Zone (first 200 m from the high tide line). This is also called “Concession Land” where special rules apply.

WHY PURCHASE A PROPERTY USING A CORPORATION?
There are a few reasons for this.

  • It may be more beneficial to have your income (from rentals) within a Costa Rican company rather than having it taxed as personal income.  Of course, this depends on the tax laws of the country from which you originate as well.
  • It allows for simplified estate planning.  You can give or will shares of the corporation that owns the property to members of your family. This step may avoid the lengthy probate process in Costa Rica.
  • It provides a level of anonymity if that is important to you.

LAND TITLE REGISTRY

Another important consideration for those buying property in Costa Rica is its land registry which allows your attorney to confirm that there is clear title to your property, as well as to determine if there are any restrictions on the property before the deal goes through.  Stewart Title provides title insurance and escrow services and is now available in Costa Rica.

PROPERTY TAXES IN COSTA RICA

Costa Rica’s very low property taxes make this a very appealing investment – 1/4 of 1% annually.  That means if you buy a condominium or home with an assessed value of $200,000 the property taxes per year would be $500 or a $100,000 2 bedroom/2bath condo would be $250.

CLOSING COSTS

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WHY WOULD SOMEONE INVEST IN COSTA RICA? 

Here are some of the reasons that our colleagues came up with.  I’m sure you’ll agree with most of them!

  • Great universal healthcare
  • High literacy rate
  • Good education system
  • First Class private healthcare system
  • Great infrastructure for Latin America with awesome internet connection, roads, airports, electric, water and phone service both cell and land lines.
  • Strong non-tourism based economy (2nd largest in Central America) with heavy emphasis on high tech, medical (supplies and pharmaceutical) and near sourcing.
  • Strong economic base in Agriculture and Tourism with award winning coffee, hotels and tour companies to name a few.
  • 25% of country is under National Park or Reserve protection.
  • Oldest democracy in Latin America.
  • First country to abolish its military.
  • 95% of Costa Rica’s energy is produced from renewable sources like hydro electric, wind and geo thermal
  • Only Country to have increased its forest coverage (100% in the last 20 years).
  • San Jose, Costa Rica was the second city in the world to have electric light after Paris.
  • Costa Rica is the 2nd country in the world to institute mandatory public education.
  • Costa Rica was rated the “Happiest Country in the World” by the Happy Planet Index 2012.
  • Good freedom of press and citizens have the constitutional right to bring any grievance in front of the court and have it be heard without huge fees or long waiting time.
  • Costa Rica feels like a throwback to Hawaii of the 1950s without all the suffocating laws of the US and Canada.
  • A simple lifestyle without all the hang ups we have manufactured in North America – political correctness does not run CR – yet!
  • No traffic jams as long as you stay out of San Jose.
  • Biggest little country in the world with wide variety of biodiversity and weather patterns from cool and spring-like to dry and sunny.
  • You can walk down the street with a beer in your hand and nobody puts you in jail.
  • Simplicity is bliss – A good horse, a cold beer, a good conversation and PURA VIDA! No need for material goods or Facebook.
  • Perfect is not an option and everyone is OK with that
  • Costa Ricans greet tourists and each other alike with the same genuine openness, acceptance and joy to see you.
  • Where nature still holds an important place.
  • Today is the generation of change.
  • Where you can still enjoy traditions of the past in the present.
  • Costa Rica is the bridge to adventure.
  • Where you can trade a smile for a world of stress.
  • Where our arms are always spread wide to help.
  • We are teaching our children how to protect the environment through recycling.
  • Pura Vida literally means Pure Life but really means a Pure Lifestyle that leads to happiness, overall well being and longevity.
  • Probably the single biggest reason why experts have found one of the few “Blue Zones” in Costa Rica is due to the “Pura Vida” people are living.
  • There is an intangible feeling you get when entering Costa Rica – that no other country in Latin America has – where you can physically feel the freedom and positve sentiment around you.
  • Costa Rica invented Eco Tourism and continues to lead the world in innovative vacation experiences.

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Frequently asked questions about buying property in Costa Rica…

Investing in Costa Rica

You’ll be happy to know that foreigners have the same rights when buying a property or purchasing land in Costa Rica as the locals do.  You can own the property outright in your own name or in the name of your corporation.  The one exception that may apply is when the property is located in the Maritime Zone. Which may apply to the first 200 m from the high tide line. This is also called “Concession Land” where special rules apply.

If you decide to go ahead and purchase a concession property, consult with an attorney to make sure the seller has the rights to occupy the land and is in a position to offer you the rights to that land. The land use rights can range anywhere from 5 to 40 years although most concession properties offer 20-year occupancy rights. Be clear that you are essentially signing a long-term land lease not purchasing the property in fee simple. This structure is similar to the Native land leases that are available in Canada and the United States. This usually applies to land on the lake shores or protected areas.

:
 

Why should I invest in Costa Rican real estate?

  • Tourism opportunities abound in Costa Rica
    1. Adventure travel
    2. Seniors travel
    3. Baby Boomers retiring – finally
    4. Eco and Wildlife tourism – all ages
    5. Medical and Dental tourism – safe and cost-effective
  • Financial and Personal Security in Costa Rica
    1. No formal military – everyday life is less stressful
    2. Stable democratic government
    3. Various levels of police force
    4. Organized and protected financial system
    5. Good quality and affordable health care
  • The Incredible Weather
    1. The tropical weather in Costa Rica is warm all year round.
    2. Guanacaste is known for its dry and sunny winters and less rain throughout the year
    3. Evenings are a pleasant temperature even in the Central Valley
    4. No SNOW!
  • General Lifestyle and Atmosphere
    1. Pura Vida – a term that means a lot of different things. Pure Life is the literal translation but it is more a way of life.
    2. Friendly outgoing people – local and Expats
    3. An educated population
    4. Named one of the Happiest Countries
    5. Home to one of the famous Blue Zones
  • Amazing Natural Beauty
    1. Volcanoes
    2. Rivers
    3. Plains
    4. Mountains
    5. Hot Springs
    6. Ocean shores
    7. Fabulous sunrises and sunsets
  • Real Estate Opportunities
    1. Incredibly low property taxes at ¼ of 1%
    2. Affordable homes and land
    3. Ocean front and ocean view properties
    4. No foreign ownership restrictions
    5. Relatively low cost of living compared to the US and Canada
    6. Growth encouraged by the Costa Rican government
    7. Local investment in infrastructure including roads and airports
  • Costa Rica is committed to green and sustainable environments
    1. Renewable energy opportunities in wind, geothermal, biomass, hydro and solar power
    2. Protected National Parks
:
 

Legal Aspects to Consider

The new online title system provides free access to information recorded in the National Registry. It also provides a method available to obtain certified reports such as the Plano Catastro which is a type of property survey. This report outlines the dimensions of the lot or project with boundaries and measurements. Certified title reports or historical ownership research is an essential part of any attorney’s responsibility in the purchase process.

In addition to recording title, the National Registry also indicates whether a given property has any encumbrances or easements associated with it. Registry records are public and are accessible via the Internet or in person at various branches throughout Costa Rica. Not all land in Costa Rica is titled, so it is extremely important that your attorney provide this research as part of his due diligence. Also, the property may fall within the Maritime Zone, national parks, many wildlife reserves or within designated indigenous areas.

This due diligence is part of every sale or purchase in Costa Rica and worth every penny!

:
 

Foreigners will be pleased to hear that they have the same rights as a Costa Rican when it comes to purchasing a property. It is a right guaranteed by the Constitution.

You don’t have to live here to own a condo, home or land in Costa Rica. It is wonderful news especially for those investors looking to diversify their real estate portfolio outside of their home country.

The only exception would be as it relates to concession land. Your attorney would prepare the due diligence and advise you on foreigners owning this type of property.

:
 

Hiring an attorney or lawyer to facilitate the sale or purchase of a property is a must. Most attorneys are also a Notary. They perform a vital role in the entire process.

The attorney will not only register the sale and update the title but help and guide you every step of the way. He will help with the due diligence to ensure that the property has a free and clear title. Any easements attached will need to investigated and explained clearly. Not all easements are detrimental but one wants to be sure that all is in order before the closing.

It is imperative to use an attorney that always uses an escrow company that is registered with SUJEF. Some of them may have an escrow in place.

Should things go sideways, the attorney can also handle any arbitration or negotiation on your behalf. Consider them a valuable part of the team as you go through the purchase or sale process.

:
 

Quick guide to buying property in Costa Rica

You’ll be happy to know that foreigners have the same rights when buying a property or purchasing land in Costa Rica as the locals do.  You can own the property outright in your own name or in the name of your corporation.  The one exception that may apply is when the property is located in the Maritime Zone. Which may apply to the first 200 m from the high tide line. This is also called “Concession Land” where special rules apply.

If you decide to go ahead and purchase a concession property, consult with an attorney to make sure the seller has the rights to occupy the land and is in a position to offer you the rights to that land. The land use rights can range anywhere from 5 to 40 years although most concession properties offer 20-year occupancy rights. Be clear that you are essentially signing a long-term land lease not purchasing the property in fee simple. This structure is similar to the Native land leases that are available in Canada and the United States. This usually applies to land on the lake shores or protected areas.

:
 

Why should I invest in Costa Rican real estate?

  • Tourism opportunities abound in Costa Rica
    1. Adventure travel
    2. Seniors travel
    3. Baby Boomers retiring – finally
    4. Eco and Wildlife tourism – all ages
    5. Medical and Dental tourism – safe and cost-effective
  • Financial and Personal Security in Costa Rica
    1. No formal military – everyday life is less stressful
    2. Stable democratic government
    3. Various levels of police force
    4. Organized and protected financial system
    5. Good quality and affordable health care
  • The Incredible Weather
    1. The tropical weather in Costa Rica is warm all year round.
    2. Guanacaste is known for its dry and sunny winters and less rain throughout the year
    3. Evenings are a pleasant temperature even in the Central Valley
    4. No SNOW!
  • General Lifestyle and Atmosphere
    1. Pura Vida – a term that means a lot of different things. Pure Life is the literal translation but it is more a way of life.
    2. Friendly outgoing people – local and Expats
    3. An educated population
    4. Named one of the Happiest Countries
    5. Home to one of the famous Blue Zones
  • Amazing Natural Beauty
    1. Volcanoes
    2. Rivers
    3. Plains
    4. Mountains
    5. Hot Springs
    6. Ocean shores
    7. Fabulous sunrises and sunsets
  • Real Estate Opportunities
    1. Incredibly low property taxes at ¼ of 1%
    2. Affordable homes and land
    3. Ocean front and ocean view properties
    4. No foreign ownership restrictions
    5. Relatively low cost of living compared to the US and Canada
    6. Growth encouraged by the Costa Rican government
    7. Local investment in infrastructure including roads and airports
  • Costa Rica is committed to green and sustainable environments
    1. Renewable energy opportunities in wind, geothermal, biomass, hydro and solar power
    2. Protected National Parks
:
 

In Costa Rica, real estate agents are not licensed.  However, the Costa Rica Global Association of Realtors (CRGAR) and the Costa Rican Chamber of Real Estate Brokers (CCCBR) have long promoted mandatory real estate licensing. For years the CRGAR Association has been educating its members on benefits of joining The National Association of Realtors (NAR) which offers a very stringent code of ethics, ongoing education and the ability to legally call themselves a “Realtor,” with the registered “R” trademark.

♦ Promoting professionalism
♦ Undergo ongoing education
♦ Familiar with local laws
♦ Experienced
♦ Educated in the local markets
♦ Network of other professionals to work with
♦ International designations and certifications
♦ Legally allowed to work with their residency or citizenship

Despite these benefits of using a real estate agent, it is important for you to know that there are no formal licensing requirements for real estate agents in Costa Rica. The courses provided by the two associations are an essential part of the formal education that all experienced professionals should have as a minimum requirement to work with you.

:
 

The new online title system provides free access to information recorded in the National Registry. It also provides a method available to obtain certified reports such as the Plano Catastro which is a type of property survey. This report outlines the dimensions of the lot or project with boundaries and measurements. Certified title reports or historical ownership research is an essential part of any attorney’s responsibility in the purchase process.

In addition to recording title, the National Registry also indicates whether a given property has any encumbrances or easements associated with it. Registry records are public and are accessible via the Internet or in person at various branches throughout Costa Rica. Not all land in Costa Rica is titled, so it is extremely important that your attorney provide this research as part of his due diligence. Also, the property may fall within the Maritime Zone, national parks, many wildlife reserves or within designated indigenous areas.

This due diligence is part of every sale or purchase in Costa Rica and worth every penny!

:
 

Foreigners will be pleased to hear that they have the same rights as a Costa Rican when it comes to purchasing a property. It is a right guaranteed by the Constitution.

You don’t have to live here to own a condo, home or land in Costa Rica. It is wonderful news especially for those investors looking to diversify their real estate portfolio outside of their home country.

The only exception would be as it relates to concession land. Your attorney would prepare the due diligence and advise you on foreigners owning this type of property.

:
 

Hiring an attorney or lawyer to facilitate the sale or purchase of a property is a must. Most attorneys are also a Notary. They perform a vital role in the entire process.

The attorney will not only register the sale and update the title but help and guide you every step of the way. He will help with the due diligence to ensure that the property has a free and clear title. Any easements attached will need to investigated and explained clearly. Not all easements are detrimental but one wants to be sure that all is in order before the closing.

It is imperative to use an attorney that always uses an escrow company that is registered with SUJEF. Some of them may have an escrow in place.

Should things go sideways, the attorney can also handle any arbitration or negotiation on your behalf. Consider them a valuable part of the team as you go through the purchase or sale process.

:
 

Using a Real Estate Agent

In Costa Rica, real estate agents are not licensed.  However, the Costa Rica Global Association of Realtors (CRGAR) and the Costa Rican Chamber of Real Estate Brokers (CCCBR) have long promoted mandatory real estate licensing. For years the CRGAR Association has been educating its members on benefits of joining The National Association of Realtors (NAR) which offers a very stringent code of ethics, ongoing education and the ability to legally call themselves a “Realtor,” with the registered “R” trademark.

♦ Promoting professionalism
♦ Undergo ongoing education
♦ Familiar with local laws
♦ Experienced
♦ Educated in the local markets
♦ Network of other professionals to work with
♦ International designations and certifications
♦ Legally allowed to work with their residency or citizenship

Despite these benefits of using a real estate agent, it is important for you to know that there are no formal licensing requirements for real estate agents in Costa Rica. The courses provided by the two associations are an essential part of the formal education that all experienced professionals should have as a minimum requirement to work with you.

: