Most visitors to Costa Rica fall in love with this beautiful country and its friendly people. Let’s face it, a country with tropical beaches, lush mountains where the climate is mostly spring-like, to tropical rain forests with abundant flora and fauna, there is a lot to love. For some people the main attraction is the striking beauty. For others it is being with nature, walking throughout the many national parks, being with all the wildlife or engaging in all the abundant outdoor activities. Maybe it’s just the ideal climate and the slower pace of life.
Beautiful Beach at Entrance to Ballena National Marine Park
Whatever your reasons, many decide they want to own a piece of Costa Rica. Those who are able may want to buy property and live here. Others may want a vacation property or a place for eventual retirement. Our information is intended to inform anyone seeking to purchase real estate in Costa Rica. If a buyer follows the proper procedures and uses an honest and reliable lawyer and agent, then they will have no difficulty in attaining their dream.
Foreigners have the same absolute right to own real property in Costa Rica, as do its citizens. Many countries have restrictions on foreign ownership of real estate but not Costa Rica. You just need to be aware of a few facts and take a few precautions to make sure you’re dealing with legitimate parties, but beyond that you have every opportunity to make this dream come true.
Costa Rican real estate is an unregulated market where anyone can claim to be a 'Realtor,' and there is no education or licensing requirement. The Costa Rican legal system is based on Napoleonic Laws and not Common Law as they are in the USA, UK and most of Canada. Additionally, legal contracts are in Spanish, which simply means that you need to be sure that your first step involves securing the help of a qualified professional.
For this reason a buyer must be sure that they have good, honest legal advice. The best way to be absolutely sure that the advice that they are relying on is sound is to work thorough an exclusive buyer’s agent, who will monitor the whole transaction and who has access to competent and reliable lawyers, surveyors, engineers, etc. Until recently, buyers had to rely strictly on their attorney do the title search.
Much like it is in the United States, the buyer can only be assured of Good Title after the property has been traced to the actual seller and is shown to be free of any liens or encumbrances. For years, foreigners investing in property in Costa Rica had to take a much larger risk in this regard than they do today, thanks to the development of a new market. Recently, title insurance has become available. Rates for title insurance are 1-1 1/2% of purchase price, which is comparable to rates in the United States.
Purchasing real estate is a major financial transaction and it makes no sense to pinch dollars and take the risk of encountering unnecessary problems as you work towards obtaining your dream home. Only a few extra dollars will virtually eliminate any risk.
Before you secure the services of an attorney who will make sure that you avoid these common pitfalls, make sure he/she comes highly recommended by someone who has actually have a great experience with their services and in whom you have complete trust. As is the case anywhere else, never rely on advice given to you by the seller or agents.
Following these simple steps – securing title insurance and the help of a personally recommended attorney – will provide you with the peace of mind you deserve as you look to achieve the dream of living in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
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