General Guidelines for Buying Property in Costa Rica
1. Fall in love first. Whether you are looking for a retirement home or an investment property, if you love the area, chances are there are many others that think the same. If you are not in love than why bother.
2. Visit the area on vacation. Rent a property that fits your purchase criteria and experience it in person. Worst case scenario you will have a great time.
3. Deal with professionals. Deal with long standing, reputable real estate professionals and attorneys who have worked in the area for a while. One or two years experience is simply not enough time to understand the intricacies and vagaries of Costa Rican real estate.
4. Perform due diligence. Your real estate professional should perform a good deal of preliminary due diligence prior to presenting you properties. This is an extremely key step that is often overlooked by most real estate agents in Costa Rica and can end up costing you valuable time. The in depth due diligence should be performed by an experienced Costa Rican Attorney with the guidance of your real estate professional. Unfortunately, like Real Estate agents, Attorneys in Costa Rica are not all experienced in real estate transactions.
5. Always involve your real estate professional. Remember that everyone in Costa Rica is a potential real estate “agent” and that there is no formal Multiple Listing Service. Every once in a while a bonafide “good deal” comes to your attention through someone other than your Realtor. Do yourself the favor and make it known that you are being represented by a Realtor and get them involved in the process. A Good Realtor can determine if the property is worth looking at seriously. If the seller or “agent” is not willing to work with your Realtor than something is wrong and you should not waste any more time.
6. Give your Realtor as much information as possible. A good Realtor in Costa Rica has information on the good value properties in their area and given a good input from you can zero in rapidly on various options for you to consider. Don’t be afraid to tell your Realtor your dreams, ambitions, investment goals and risk tolerance. A good Realtor can help you match your situation with a specific property.
7. Be skeptical. Don’t expect things to function as they do in your home country. Don’t assume there are services to your lot or that all the issues of the Home Owners Association are disclosed to you. If your common sense you use at home is telling you something is not right then don’t be afraid to ask questions.
8. Have Fun. The Bottom line is to enjoy yourself and have fun. Your experience in Costa Rica should be relatively hassle free and relaxing. Live the Costa Rican “Pure Life”. Pura Vida.