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Costa Rica Real Estate 101; Getting Legal Advice & Verifying the Property

Costa Rica Real Estate – This is part of our series on buying real estate in Costa Rica. We hope to provide information needed to make an informed decision about purchasing land, condos, houses or commercial property in Costa Rica. If you want more information about this property or buying real estate in general you can request the free e-book, “Secrets of Buying Real Estate in Costa Rica”

real-estate-lawyer costa rica 1Purchasing a property will most likely be the most expensive thing you will ever do in your entire life so it is critical that you understand the buying process, legal requirements and possible legal pitfalls of making that investment especially if you are buying a property in a foreign country like Costa Rica.

Costa Rica has made a reputation of being the easiest country to buy property in all of Central America primarily because Costa Rican citizens and foreigners have an equal amount of right when buying and owning land. It is also politically stable, have a fair number of expats who help keep surprises to a bare minimum and have a lot of bilingual resources.

Get Your Free Copy of “Secrets of Buying Real Estate in Costa Rica”

The first thing you have to do once you have decided on which property to buy is to do a search in the National Registry using the Folio Real or Registration Number (ends with 000 for individual owner, 001 or 002 if there are a co-owners) of the property you wish to purchase at the offices of the Public National Registry located in the suburb of Zapote which is just about five minutes drive from downtown San Jose. Doing a title search along with the folio real will get you all the necessary information you need with regards to the property like description of the property including the province where it is located, owner data like name and Cedula, boundaries of the property, area in square meters, government assessment for transfer purposes, estimated market price, date registered, existing liens, annotations and mortgages against the property.

The next step is to find a reputable lawyer who specializes in real estate acquisition by foreign nationals. Remember, good properties come by easily but you have to know the right information to be able to protect your investment and guarantee its success. How can ensure that the transaction you are getting into will be executed legally for you to ensure a lifetime of enjoyment of that investment? Simple; just like finding the property you want to invest it, you have to be zealous in finding a scrupulous lawyer you can trust, someone who will provide you accurate information, look out for your best interest and do a thorough due diligence.

What are the responsibilities of your real estate lawyer?

  • Do a complete and careful study of the land based on the information found in the National Registry.
  • Verify that the seller is authorized to make the sale and authenticate the title held by the seller.
  • Find out if there are any environmental or other limitations with the intended use of the land.
  • Ascertain if there are restrictions on the property like public road restrictions, utilities restrictions or stipulations and water easements to name a few.
  • Perceive information about liens, encumbrances or mortgages against the property.
  • Determine if you have a clean title or if there are annotations on the property which may cause you potential loss. Take note that an annotation documents that there is a certain claim on the land and if required or necessary the annotated party may call on that claim.
  • Ensure that all property taxes, including municipal tax, are up to date.
  • Identify if the survey plan pertains to the exact property you intend to buy.

Other tasks that can be performed by your lawyer are:

  • Permitting
  • Sales contract drafting which includes purchase offer or option to buy and revisions
  • Negotiation
  • Act as an Escrow Agent
  • Process Closing
  • Certify and Register the Deed

To guaranty that you have a clear title your attorney must present you the registered copy of the title he or she will be submitting and registering in the public registry.

Get Your Free Copy of “Secrets of Buying Real Estate in Costa Rica”

Property Ownership

Types Is the Property Really for Sale? 

What is the Maritime Zone? 

Myths About Squatters 

Construction, Architects & Engineers 

Purchasing Under a Corporation 


And so much more……..


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