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Important Facts Any Investor Should Know about Costa Rican Real Estate

Nov 23, 2012

Important Facts Any Investor Should Know about Costa Rican Real Estate

Important Facts Any Investor Should Know about Costa Rican Real Estate
Costa Rica is a beautiful country in Central America, one among whose landscapes anyone would enjoy living. It has wonderful beaches, wildlife, jungles and waterfalls - if you’re a nature lover, you will thoroughly enjoy living in a place like this. The people are also largely recognized as authentically friendly people, making the environment even nicer.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind before Investing in Real Estate

If you plan to buy property in Costa Rica, you will discover that there are very thorough property laws in this country. Both residents and foreigners have to obey the same laws, since there is no difference between possible local owners or foreign owners. You are not required to live in the country to own land or property. In addition, Costa Rica has no property tax.

The Registro Publico is where all property titles are registered. A “first in time, first in rights” policy is in practice here. Therefore, if you are interested in buying property, the best thing to do is hire either a lawyer or a real estate broker to help you with the title research.  It’s true that you can do it yourself, as long as you do it carefully. You would no doubt be startled if you were nicely settled into your new home and someone came to your door saying that they hold claim to the title. Title insurance is available in this country, and it is highly recommended that you acquire it when buying a property here. It’s always best to use any safety measures available when making investments, and buying a property is no small investment.

One of the more developed provinces in Costa Rica is Puntarenas, a province that comprises the Central and South Pacific Coasts. There are great surfing beaches there, wonderful restaurants, hotels with decent prices and a large array of real estate properties that can usually be purchased for smaller sums than those common to similar properties in the North. Some of the Central Pacific towns, like Playa del Jacó, have become really popular and are considered to be very attractive destinations, comparable to Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Some find the comparison to be a bit unjust; however, it’s not unusual to often hear singing in the middle of the streets on weekends.

Jacó is also quite close to smaller towns that are appropriate for experiencing the serenity of a beautiful tropical coast. Going lower to the south, there is a wonderful port city, Dominical, where the waters have a lovely blue-green color and the tropical hills offer enchanting views. Dominical has been a special attraction for surfers, given the good waves here. Travelers, especially those who like being close to nature, also appreciate the former fishing village.

This area is home to exotic animals in the hundreds, such as parrots, iguanas, monkeys, toucans, wild cats and other interesting creatures. Stretching from Dominical to the border with Panama is the South Pacific coast, where beautiful beaches can be enjoyed, great fishing places found and where large national parks house exotic wildlife. It’s a place where tourists haven’t interfered at the risk of spoiling it, which some of you will appreciate. Because of accessibility issues, the development of this coast has been held back. That being said, the driving time along the coast has been cut down, given new construction on the southern highway of Costa Rica. Why invest in Real Estate in Costa Rica? So, now that you have a general idea about Costa Rica and the life there, we should tell you a few other reasons for buying a property here, aside from the beauty of the country.

  • There are many experts on real estate investment that will tell you that it is better to buy outside the U.S.

  • In the U.S., real estate markets have topped out.

  • Nicaragua may be cheaper, but much of it is not titled. Also, the land in Mexico and 200 miles of the coast is not titled, and foreign people cannot own it.

  • Central American countries usually have problems with violence; however, in Costa Rica, such problems are very rare.

  • There is no malaria in this country, and pollution is not as much of a problem as it is in other nearby countries. Also, its democratic government is stable and booming.

  • With prices steadily increasing for real estate (20 to 50 percent per year), you can get a good return on your investment.

  • Costa Rica was rated in 2007 as one of the top 5 best real estate investments, in a CIA assessment.

What Else Should You Know about Real Estate in Costa Rica ?

  • It is best that you do not delay making an offer once you have your eye on a property that you like. The Costa Rican market is too strong to wait. However, don’t rush to buy a property without having visited it first. Do not rely on simple research, picture viewing and Internet information on a house or land. Nor should you rely on the promises of a real estate agent. They may tell you of plans for building new roads or maybe golf courses, but these plans may not actually work out. This means that you should not include the features of tomorrow in the price of today.

  • If parts of the house need repairing, do not hesitate to ask for the price to be lowered for this reason. Also, you can ask for a discount of up to $2000 if there is no phone in the house. It is difficult to get new phones installed in Costa Rica.

  • There are no restrictions applied to foreigners that wish to own a property. However, properties within 50 meters from the ocean cannot be owned, and, for the next 150 meters, Maritime Zone laws are applied. According to these laws, development is only permitted under government concession. Therefore, you should ask your attorney to check if the title is consistent with the regulations specific to the Maritime Zone.

All in all, Costa Rica should absolutely be an option if you want to make a real estate investment in another country: it is not just beautiful, it is peaceful, exotic, and its property laws are extremely advantageous.

If you would like to experience Costa Rica and the real estate opportunities available, why not head down on a Discovery Weekend? You'll have a chance to check out property that's either already developed, pre-construction or in the midst of being built. The cost to you is only $299 for 4 days/3 nights and includes all your meals and transportation once you're in Costa Rica. Mike and Judy and the developer team at Pacific Lots will make sure you see as much of the area as you like so you can make an informed decision about purchasing in this beautiful country! Click HERE now for more details!

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Where International exists to recommend a variety of International real estate options. Where International requires developers to meet stringent criteria before offering them to you. Conversely, any inspections we conduct on projects or individuals should not be misinterpreted as a guarantee by Where International. International real estate is not immune to the ups and downs that occur in North American real estate; property values are never guaranteed to increase.

Where International is not accountable for the orchestration or deliverance of Discovery Weekends. We provide them to you on behalf of our developer partners. We recommend that you purchase travel insurance, as you would with any trip out of your home country. In addition, we advise you complete your own due diligence, purchase title insurance and always use a local attorney to assist with all transactions. In the event that a reader purchases a property from a recommended developer, Where International receives a sum from the developer.