You’ve been there, you know you enjoy the country and you’re looking for a Costa Rica business for sale. Now what? Where do you start? Here are a few guidelines to help you out and make sure you waste as little time as possible.
When buying ANY kind of property in Costa Rica, you should hire an attorney, because everyone and his cousin is a real estate “agent” down there, and the laws are different.
Therefore, the first place to start is your attorney’s office. The attorney you hire will be able to help make sure that you are following the letter of the law as you purchase your new business. Do not ever try to buy a business on your own! Every resource with information on “Costa Rica business for sale” is adamant about hiring an attorney to help you buy your business. Of course, this does not mean that you should hire the first attorney you meet. Here are some tips on finding the right attorney to help you find a Costa Rica business for sale:
Think of the legal fees you will incur as insurance against fraudulent people who will steer you in one direction, take your money and then run in the opposite direction. To be sure, there are plenty of people in Costa Rica who will try to assure you that they are a real estate agent or that they have previous experience in buying a Costa Rica business for sale. Really though, some of these people are just looking to make a quick dollar off of you. Fixing a legal problem later is going to cost you a lot more in the long run than ponying up the cash to hire a lawyer before you start your search.
Always investigate any attorney you are thinking about hiring. There are plenty of attorneys in Costa Rica but you need to make sure you find the one that is right for you. Will your business need a specialized business attorney or are you thinking of starting up a smaller company and only need a general attorney to walk you through the process? When you have narrowed down the list of attorneys you are considering hiring make sure to call the Costa Rican Bar Association and do some checking into each of their backgrounds. Make sure that they are actually licensed by the Bar and that they are in good standing (make sure nobody has filed disciplinary charges against them).
When you have decided upon your attorney, make sure to get a contract for his or her service fees. Have them write all of their fees out and make sure they sign the agreement. This will keep them from quoting you one price and then charging you something much higher once all of the work has been completed.
Now that we have sufficiently scared you into hiring a qualified attorney, here is some advice on how to choose which Costa Rica business for sale you should invest in.
When choosing the Costa Rica business for sale that seems most promising, there are a number of factors to consider.
- Why is the business for sale? Why does the business owner want to sell his or her business? Make sure that you and your attorney have a meeting with the business owner to determine exactly why the business is being sold. Sometimes business owners are close to running a business into the ground and think the best way to rid themselves of a risky situation is to simply sell the business and let the next business owner take care of fixing everything. This brings us to our next point.
- Check into the history of the business. Make sure that all of the financial records are in order and that they are on the up and up, ethics wise. Nothing is worse than buying a business that looks promising and then being slapped with a lawsuit over something that happened under the previous owner. Look into the accounting practices of the business and make sure that all of the assets, expenses and liabilities are listed. Make sure the tax information is up to date. A certified public accountant is the best person to make sure that these files are on the up and up.
- Make sure the business is legitimate and that all of the proper forms and licensing is in place. You are going to have to purchase all of these licenses and renew them under your name when ownership of the business is transferred to you. Make sure that no unexpected fees are waiting for you.
- Check into the inventory of the business. What does the business do and is business done in a completely ethical way? Shady business practices can indicate problems deeper within the business structure. Make sure that the company has a good reputation (or at least one that can be salvaged with minimal effort).
- Do a public records check into the business and the people who ran it. Look into incorporation articles, the company’s bylaws, how much stock (if any) is public and who has the power of attorney. Make sure to have your lawyer check these for you. Have your lawyer go over the private legal documents as well. Any stock ownership held by current owners or board members, any corporate records that exist…all of it. Go through the files with a fine toothed comb.
If you can’t find any Costa Rica business for sale that matches what you are looking for, you might want to think about starting your own business. Your attorney and a certified public accountant can help you to start your own business in the event that none of the Costa Rica businesses for sale are satisfactory.
Owning a business is something that everyone dreams of and owning one in paradise is just icing on the cake! However, finding the right Costa Rica business for sale can be a challenging process. This is not a process that will go quickly and painlessly. You will want to hire an attorney (and an accountant) who can help you make sure that everything you do is in accordance with the local laws. Your lawyer will also be able to tell you which businesses are worth buying and which ones are best left alone. Buying a business in Costa Rica can be an exciting process, to be sure.