Living in Costa Rica as an expat is a dream for many. With an agreeable climate, spectacular scenery, friendly locals, and a real estate market that welcomes expat investors, buying a house in this rich and diverse country can be the adventure of a lifetime. However, before you start living the dream, there are still plenty of realities to think about.
If you are one of the many foreigners considering buying a house in Costa Rica, whether for investment, retirement, or as a second home, then you might already have a firm grasp of the market, the rules for foreign investments, and may even have decided on the particular property you wish to purchase. What may not be so clear, however, are the crucial next steps in your journey; the steps that will enable you to complete the purchase of your chosen property smoothly and without issue.
Here, we take a look at the key steps for buying a house or other property in Costa Rica, giving you the insight you need to make your dream a reality.
- Put in an Offer
Assuming you have already found the property you wish to purchase, the first step to closing the deal is putting in an offer. At this point, balancing an offer that secures the property for you exclusively without paying over the odds is what you should aim for. Any further negotiations on the price can be haggled along the way.
- Get Financing
While many of the laws and regulations in Costa Rica make buying a home as simple as possible for foreigners, unfortunately, the financing issue is something you will need to solve yourself. Unless you are a legal resident, you will not be able to take a mortgage in Costa Rica. Self-financing is the most common route, although taking a mortgage in your own country is also popular.
- Get Representation
When buying a house in Costa Rica, you should ensure you have representation in the form of a real estate attorney. An attorney will help you with the due diligence report and other required documentation to ensure everything is in order; including verifying the existing owner registration and ensuring any back taxes on the property are paid before the sale.
- Sign the Deeds
Assuming everything is in order, you are now ready to sign the deeds to your new house. In Costa Rica, you will require a notary public to formalize and record the deeds with the Public Registrar. It is worth noting here that your attorney can take care of this for you if you cannot be present for whatever reason.
- Calculate Closing Fees
Working out who pays what at the end of the sale is the last step. Usually, fees are split 50/50 between buyer and seller, however, there can be exceptions to this rule, so be clear in discussions. The closing fee usually amounts to a total of 3.5 to 3.8 percent.
In essence, these are the five key steps to purchasing a house in Costa Rica. While it may bear some resemblance to the process in your home country, it should be noted that there will always be subtleties that may mean the difference between a smooth sale and a white-knuckle ride through the realty market. With this in mind, prospective buyers can find more information on buying a house in Costa Rica here. Following this in-depth guide to purchasing property or land in Costa Rica is the ideal way to ensure you know exactly what to expect throughout the process.