We are independent experts that help and guide people when it comes to investing, purchasing Real Estate and Relocating to Costa Rica. We've been doing this for combined time of over 50 years and below we have gathered our advice and the top 10 questions into an FAQ for you.
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Yes, foreign individuals and entities can own property in Costa Rica. The Costa Rican constitution guarantees the same property rights to both Costa Rican citizens and foreigners. All property is held by the government in a digital registration online (Registro Nacional). Property is owned here as fee-simple titled land.
There are a few restrictions such as Concession Property which is deemed to be the first 200m of beachfront land that if owned by a foreign person has a 7-year lease, whereas if held in a corporation by where a Costa Rican holds 50% or more of the ownership (your lawyer could be the Costa Rican and shares held in trust) you are granted a 20 year lease.
How do I buy property in Costa Rica?
To start your property search, it's important to have a trustworthy and experienced professional who can guide you. Once you find a potential property, it's crucial to conduct thorough due diligence, as legal proceedings can be complicated and time-consuming in Costa Rica. To protect your interests, it's recommended to have a Sales Purchase Agreement drafted by a Costa Rican lawyer in both English and Spanish, if necessary. For added security, consider using an independent third party, such as Escrow.
Before closing the deal, you should consider whether you want to own the property in your name or through a corporation. It's advisable to discuss this with your lawyer. Once you've made a decision, a Notary will prepare the transfer document for all parties to sign. Once the document is signed, funds will be released, and it typically takes around 2-3 weeks for the property to be registered in the National Registry. Please consult your lawyer for more information as not all lawyers in CR are notaries.
The choice of where to buy property in Costa Rica depends on your personal preferences, investment goals, and the type of property you are looking for. Costa Rica offers a variety of regions, each with its own unique characteristics. Here are some popular areas to consider:
Central Pacific: Jaco, Playa Hermosa, Manuel Antonio
Southern Zone: Dominical, Uvita, Ojochal, Osa Peninsula
Central Valley: Atenas, Grecia, Santa Ana, Escazu, Cuidad Colon, Heredia
Caribbean: Puerto Viejo, Cahuita, Manzanillo, Cocoles
How much does a property cost in Costa Rica?
The cost of property in Costa Rica can vary significantly depending on factors such as location, property type, size, condition, amenities, and proximity to beaches or tourist attractions. Below is a rough guide to prices:
1 bed Condo= $125K - $400K
2 bed Condo = $150K - $500K
3 bed Condo = $200k - $600K
3 bed Home = $300k - $900K
4 bed Home = $450K - $1.5M
5 bed Home = $600K - $2.5M
6 bed Home = $800K - $3.5M
Is Real Estate regulated in Costa Rica?
Officially a realtor should be registered with SUGEF (Securities Registration), however many Realtors are not. They are not required to be part of any Chamber or to be licensed. If you want you could turn up tomorrow and put your flag in the ground and say 'I'm a realtor'.
It's vital you find a good, reputable and licensed Realtor as there are many stories of people buying property 2 times, or being sold property that was never for sale, etc. This is why we advise and consult with people like you, making sure all 'i's' are dotted and 't's' crossed.
Property taxes are calculated based on a percentage of the registered value of the property. This value is typically updated every 5 years and the owner is responsible for filing this update.
The tax rate for residential properties is typically 0.25% of the registered value. However, this rate can vary depending on the property's location and whether it is classified as a primary residence or a vacation property. The tax rate for commercial properties can range from 0.25% to 0.55% of the registered value.
There is also a luxury tax for foreigners owning luxury homes in Costa Rica. On top of the 0.25% property tax, you will pay between 0.25% - 0.55% extra based on the value of the property.
How do I get residency in Costa Rica?
Costa Rica offers several options for individuals interested in obtaining residency.
Investor: If you invest over $150,000 in a property, business or asset in Costa Rica you can apply for residency using the Investor Method.
Pension: If you have a retirement income of $1,000 or more from a Govt or private pension, you can apply via this method.
Rentista: If you can show $2,500 a month in pension/investment/rental payments for a period of 2 years, you can apply using this method.
Marriage:If you are married to a Costa Rican citizen, you can apply for residency based on marriage.
Should I own a property in my name or in the name of a Corporation?
It depends on how you will use the property and your individual tax and estate planning circumstances. Below is a some advice:
Your Name: Straightforward and involves fewer administrative tasks and no annual fees. Getting a Power of Attorney can be difficult if you need something done and are not in the country. You are also personally liable if any legal issues or debts arise. Advised if living in the property most of the year.
Corporation: Provides a layer of protection from liability, debts and privacy. There are annual fees for having a company which range from $500-$1,000 a year. Advised if renting or not in the country much.
How much does it cost to build per sqft in Costa Rica?
A rough guide is below, however, 60% of the cost of a build is in finishings such as tiles, vanities, furniture, taps, etc. Remember it typically costs the same to build all over Costa Rica, the main difference will be whether you use a General Contractor or a Construction Company (usually 10-15% difference).
Basic (Ceramic Tile, Tin Roof, MDF Kitchen) $130 sqft
Mid Level (Porcelain Floor, Insulated Tin Roof. $160 sqft
Yes, foreigners can own beachfront land in Costa Rica (first 200m of high tide). 96% of the beachfront land in Costa Rica is managed through concessions (rents) and only 4% is titled. There are restrictions to consider :
Taxes: Your taxes are higher on concessions and range from 2-4%, depending on the location and type of property.
Length of Concession: Typically, concessions are granted for 20 years and renewable on expiration. Many high-end luxury properties operate in concession land. As a foreigner, you can only hold a concession for 7 years, but if you want a 20-year concession, hold it in a corporation and have your lawyer or a Costa Rican hold 51% of the shares in a trust (so they cannot access it).
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Contact us and we will happily help you with any questions you have about Costa Rica. With over 50 years of combined experience, who better to ask than the experts