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”
Buying real estate at home is a complicated process, what more if you are purchasing a property in a foreign country, it most definitely is daunting; the level of risk you are taking multiplies especially when you do not have time nor the know-how to adequately investigate the market, market values and potential hazards like zoning laws. To avoid unnecessary problems and to ensure that the details of the purchasing process is appropriately handled and done in a timely fashion, it is highly advisable to work with a reputable, considerate and reliable real estate broker.
Costa Rica has become one of the most sought after retirement destination for baby boomers and an investment paradise for foreign investors looking for a juicy return of their investments. This is because it offers a relatively open investment and trade policies, has well-preserved natural resources and is the most politically stable country in Latin America. Furthermore, Costa Rica has previously extended generous incentives to foreign nationals who wanted to become residents. The lure of its picturesque coasts and the warmth of the people have led Americans, Canadians and Europeans alike to make investments in this beautiful country. However, due to numerous scams, ill-given advice and unwise decisions some investors and property buyers lost their hard-earned money.
Contrary to what some are claiming, in Costa Rica there is no nationally sanctioned Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so trying to establish a rough idea of what a property is worth is really challenging. What’s more, realtors need not be licensed to sell properties in Costa Rica and the law does not even regulate real estate brokers, which means that everyone in Costa Rica are realtors in one way or another that it won’t be surprising if you find yourself being offered a property by a cab driver or a waiter. With the drawbacks I have noted, it may seem a disheartening and vexing task to find a good broker, but it is doable if you are just diligent.
Here are some tips on finding a good broker:
- Work with a national level real estate agency or realtor that has a broad inventory, specialized lawyer and a proven track record.
- Shop around and do not settle with the first broker you find. You can ask your friends or relatives who have bought properties in Costa Rica, search online for possible candidates, look in local offices or real estate guides or ask for recommendations from other expats you have met.
- Deal with a realtor you can get along with, finds time to return your calls in a timely fashion and answer all your questions honestly without worrying that he or she may give you a good or a bad news regarding a property you are interested in.
- Partner up with a local realtor who specializes in the area where you want to make your purchase. It would be beneficial to you since there is no MLS and local connections are essential particularly when you are buying raw land.
- Demand residency! There are some foreign opportunists who are not legal residents and have no working permits looking to make quick buck by selling properties in Costa Rica and disappear in the wood works. Be cautious and ask that your agent show you his/her cedula (ID) or work permit, how long he/she have resided in Costa Rica (should be 5-7 years minimum) to avoid unnecessary loses.
- Ask for references and contact the people your agent has worked with in the past. Find out if his or her previous clients were happy and satisfied with the services provided by the broker. If most of his or her previous clients were not satisfied with the agent then walk away and find a new one. It would save you money and headache if you look for someone who is highly recommended by other clients.
- Be wary and look out for agents insisting on using a particular lender or affiliated company as your agent may be getting a cut on a referral fee. This may lead to disaster as your agent may not have your best interest at heart.
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……..