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Costa Rica Real Estate 101; Tips to Buying 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”

costa rica real estateIf it is your first time in Costa Rica and suddenly feels the urge to buy a property down here, please curb that urge and do not add up to the increasing number of foreigners who had fallen into traps when they purchased real estate without proper care, planning and due diligence. It is true that Costa Rica is considered to be one of the best Latin American countries when it comes to foreign investment and ownership rights but we have to remember that this is a foreign country and there are varying levels of risk we have to face and things to look out for.


There is no government sanctioned Multiple Listing Service (MLA) in Costa Rica so it is exceptionally difficult to get comparable sales in an area that you will be stupefied at the variance in asking prices in this country. However, the real factor that determines the asking of a property is the Costa Rican owner’s wild imagination. Most of them have heard stories that another local was able to sell his/her property for so and so amount and would like to get an outrageous offer for their property even it is isn’t worth that much. The trick in here is to have a Costa Rican friend make first contact with the seller to get a realist price without the gringo overcharge. You may also want to rent for a while before purchasing your own property that way you would have better chances of finding great deals.

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

Trust and Verify

Do not just bank on the word of the property owner or your agent rather you should verify everything that has to do with the property you want to acquire. Make sure that you explore the surrounding area and the neighborhood, take note of the local weather pattern and take your time when inspecting every part or aspect of the property.

Do not Assume

When it comes to amenities access do not assume that telephone, electricity, cable and water is available or can be easily accessed. Instead of assuming or asking the property owner, go straight to the service providers and inquire if their services are available in the property.

Building and Construction

By law plantels or prepared flat building sites in Costa Rica should be left undisturbed for three years before you can start building on it. Also, some municipalities may require a soil compression test to guarantee that the site can hold or support a house. You may also want to consider getting a plot surveyor to know where the property is exactly at or the area the property encompass. Additionally, hire an environmental engineer to survey the property to find out if it is not threatened by potential landslides which is commonplace in Costa Rica.


Costa Rica may be a small country but a lot is going on when we talk about weather. Factors affecting the weather are the region’s elevation, nearness to the coast and if the area is in the path of the Trade Winds. Rainfall amounts also differ from 40-200 inches depending on the region where the property is situated. Furthermore, dry and rainy seasons differ for each coast. To determine the weather pattern in an area try to visit it in an extended period of time or visit it a couple of times a year during different seasons.

The Actual Transaction

To get the deal done you may need the help or a real estate agent, a good accountant and a reputable lawyer who is also a Public Notary. Since everyone wants to get a piece of the pie in a real estate transaction, be prepared to pay 15 per cent of the sales prices in tax, attorney and agent fee. You should make a deal with the property seller for them to pay the fees so you won’t have to shoulder those upon closing. Some property owner may refuse or hesitate but if you are motivated they will surely get along.

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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