Buying Real Estate in Costa Rica

While purchasing real estate in Costa Rica is a similar process to the US, it is important for foreign buyers to understand purchase requirements, property owners rights and the best strategies for avoiding fees and other problems before investing. Making sure a potential property has the proper “folio real” (tracking number) and registering property deedsare among some of the important steps an investor should take to ensure a successful purchase. See the following article from International Property Journal.

Costa Rica earns its reputation as the easiest country to buy property in Central America. The political stability and volume of expats help keep surprises to a minimum, while there are ample bi-lingual resources.

The actual process is fairly similar to the United States, with a certified escritura (title) and plano (survey) required for most transactions. Title insurance is available. Agents don’t have to be licensed, but the Costa Rica Chamber of Real Estate Brokers and other groups are helping to bring standards and the NAR’s ethical code to the industry.

It’s fairly common for buyers to form a Costa Rican limited liability corporation, a Sociedad Anónima, to handle property deals. Although not always appropriate, the corporate structure can help smooth the process and avoid fee. Once a deal is done, property taxes are relatively low—usually not more than 1 percent of the property value—and, best of all, there is no capital gains tax.