Buying Property in Costa Rica: A Guide for Luxury Buyers

Luxury home in Papagayo Costa RicaBuying property in Costa Rica can be a seamless experience, especially when working with a team of highly experienced real estate professionals. Here's how you can navigate the process with ease and confidence.

Foreigner-Friendly Laws

In many countries renowned for their natural beauty, property ownership laws can be restrictive. However, Costa Rica stands out as an exception. Here, foreigners enjoy virtually the same property rights as locals, with few exceptions. The only significant restriction pertains to certain beachfront or concession properties, which may require a local partner. For all other properties, you can purchase real estate directly in your name. However, many buyers prefer to form a corporation for their purchases. This approach offers several advantages:

  • Tax Benefits: Depending on your home country's tax laws, it might be more advantageous to have income from rentals or capital gains taxed within a Costa Rican company rather than as personal income.
  • Estate Planning: A corporation allows for simplified estate planning, enabling you to transfer or will shares of the corporation to family members.
  • Resale Convenience: If you decide to sell, you can transfer the corporation's shares to the new owner, avoiding additional property transfer taxes.

The Real Estate Registry

View of Papagayo Costa Rica

Costa Rica's central land registry provides an added layer of security for property buyers. Your lawyer can verify clear title and check for any property restrictions before the deal is finalized. For further peace of mind, international title insurance from companies like Stewart Title is available. Additionally, Costa Rica's property taxes are exceptionally low—just 0.25% annually. For instance, on a property assessed at $200,000, you would only pay $500 per year in taxes.

Choosing the Right Agent

The process of buying real estate in Costa Rica is similar to that in North America. Working with a well-known real estate company can provide additional security, as international franchises adhere to standard rules and regulations. It's crucial to find a reputable realtor, and one of the best ways to do this is by asking around in the local community. Given the close-knit nature of many Costa Rican communities, you'll quickly gather recommendations. Additionally, it's advisable to secure your own lawyer. Your lawyer will check the property title, assist with forming corporations, and help with other legal aspects of the purchase.

Making an Offer on Real Estate

Hillside luxury home in Papagayo Costa Rica

Many prospective buyers arrange their finances before arriving in Costa Rica, enabling them to make offers promptly. If you find your ideal property while on vacation, you can typically make an offer with a small good faith deposit, followed by a 10% deposit within a few weeks. The final closing usually occurs within 30 to 60 days. While it's often easier and cheaper to secure financing in your home country, those with excellent credit may find financing options available in Costa Rica.

By understanding these key aspects and working with knowledgeable professionals, buying luxury property in Costa Rica can be a smooth and rewarding experience. Ready to explore the possibilities? Contact us today to get started on your journey to owning a piece of paradise in the Papagayo region.