Common Questions When Buying Real Estate

Costa Rica Christies
As long as you are 18 or older, any individual, whether Costa Rican, foreign national, or tourist may own land in Costa Rica. Your country of origin does not make a difference. However, there is one exception when it comes to concession properties. See the section below regarding beachfront properties for details on Concession Properties.
Local municipalities determine whether property tax payments are made annually, by semester, or quarterly. They are calculated based on the property value recorded by the municipality which is usually well below market value. The property tax is 0.25% annually. For homes with a value higher than 133 Million colones (roughly $220,000), there is an additional luxury tax that goes from 0.25% to up to 0.55% as the value of the property increases.

There is a special maritime zone law that applies to beachfront property. Any property within 200 meters of the ocean’s high tide line is governed by this law.

The first 50 meters from the high tide line are considered public beaches and you cannot build on them.

The next 150 meters of land cannot be owned, but are leased as a concession from the municipality. The lease may be granted for 20 years to up to 99 years.

A percentage of the ownership in the concession must be owned by a citizen of Costa Rica. The leases are transferable.

The Costa Rican Public Registry, a government-owned/managed system, records the ownership of all titled properties in Costa Rica. The system also houses all records of liens, easements, or encumbrances associated with the properties. The system can be accessed online and is open to the public.
Title insurance is available through Stewart Title and Chicago Title.
Local banks are able to finance properties for foreigners but their restrictions are very cumbersome. It is recommended to secure your own financing.
Buying property in Costa Rica is generally safe. However, no country is immune to scams. By working with Costa Rica Christies, we will advise and guide you to ensure that the process is legit and executed correctly.
The approximate closing costs are 3.65%. These are comprised of a 1.5% tax on the transfer of the property, 0.9% is applied to the value of the transaction if it is a direct transfer of property, and 1.25% for legal and notary fees.
The country was recently declared the best place in the world to retire to by International Living. There are many reasons for this, among them are the country’s beauty, peaceful democracy, stability, the standard of living, etc.
As with any real estate market, there can be good and bad investments. Costa Rica has many exclusive areas where property values are growing due to a booming tourism industry. Even areas that were relatively unpopulated even 5 years ago have grown as hotels and resorts continue to develop to meet the increasing demands of tourists. However, it’s important to select the right property and know both the country and the market. Nobody knows real estate in Costa Rica like Costa Rica Christies. If your main goal is a return on investment, we’ll work with you to select the right property in the right location.