Foreigners have no restrictions when it comes to acquiring real estate in Costa Rica, but the buyer needs to be careful when considering a property, and that is why we have put together some useful reminders that can become very handy when it is time to decide in your investing in the country. Everyone will have their opinions on what to look out for, but just use common sense and always double check the list of items below.
-Make sure that the title is completely clean, and this can be verified by applying a search in the Folio Real (the computer system where this information is registered), which can be consulted at the Public Registry office located in the capital of the country, San Jose.
-When buying a property in Costa Rica, you also need to make sure that you are dealing with a respectable lawyer that knows the laws well and that is not related to illegal actions concerning real estate transfers. We recommend you to look for other Americans who have successfully acquired a property in the country and ask them for the name and contact information of the lawyer they used, as this can save you a lot of time.
-Now, even though the lawyer you hired is fully honest and will take care of all the paperwork without a major problem, you still need to go and visit the property you want to buy in Costa Rica as you don’t want to end up with a piece of land that is different than what it was advertised (especially when buying through the internet).
-If you still want to buy without checking the property in person because you are overseas, make sure that you don’t wire any cash until the lawyer you are working with has provided you with a full legal report of the property to be bought, as such report can contain information that might not be important to you as a potential future owner.
-If you are to buy an empty property for future development in an area which is distant from any moderately populated town, you can’t assume that basic services will be available; therefore it is necessary that you verify that water, phone lines and electricity can be accessed.
-When looking to establish a business such as a hotel, a store or any kind of business, make sure that you ask your lawyer about the permitted land uses for the property you want to buy before you actually acquire it in order to prevent you from having to re-sell it soon after.
-Regulations concerning development factors such as the height of structures that can be built may vary depending on the part of the country where the property is located; so make sure that you check on this if you have any construction plans.
Whether you are buying for personal or commercial purposes, it is important to recall that the majority of property transactions in Costa Rica are completed without any major inconveniences, but considering the information above can ensure the purchase process is a more enjoyable experience.