The reality is, when working with the right team of professionals, the buying process is very quick and easy.
Unlike some of the other countries, foreigners have the same rights when buying property in Costa Rica. Except for concession land or beach front property that is not titled You can own property outright in your own name or in the name of a Costa Rican corporation and even a foreign corporation. You do not need a local partner, except in cases of beachfront concession property, where special rules apply. There is absolutely nothing to prevent you from buying property in your own name, but the majority of buyers form a corporation with the help of a reputable lawyer and then buy Costa Rica property through a corporation. The reason for this is threefold.
Another plus for those buying property in Costa Rica is its national centralized public land registry which allows your lawyer to confirm that there is clear and clean title to your property, as well as to discern if there are any restrictions on the property before the deal goes through. Further, if you would like to have the added protection of title insurance, the services of international title insurance companies such as Stewart Title have been available in Costa Rica for many years. One of the greatest attractions to owning property in Costa Rica is the property tax structure. You just cannot beat the very low property taxes - 1/4 of 1% annually. That means if you buy a condominium or home with an assessed value of $200,000you’re your property taxes per year would be $500. Now that’s cheap!.
The actual process of purchasing are similar to those in North America but are much easier with no twenty page contracts to boggle the mind. Deal with a real estate company you recognize like Re/max that can provide additional security, since international franchises are governed by standard rules and regulations and code of ethics. More importantly, work with a realtor with a good reputation. Also, you should secure your own lawyer to represent your interests in a property purchase. If you do not know where to begin one looking for a layers to assist ask you realtor and then get second recommendations. Your lawyer should check the title on your property in the central registry, and can also assist with forming corporations, opening bank accounts and doing other business related to land purchase.
Like us, many foreigners who come to look at property in Costa Rica have already arranged their finances so that they are ready to make an offer if they find what they are looking for. But what can you do if you happen upon the perfect property while on vacation? An offer can usually be written up with a small good faith deposit of 10% to be deposited in a secured third party escrow account within ten days of the execution and acceptance of the offer. Final closing would normally be anywhere from 30 - 60 days. If you need to borrow funds, it is far simpler and interest rates are usually lower in your home country. However, if your credit rating is impeccable, financing in Costa Rica may be available to you.