Costa Rica land for sale basics — Costa Rica offers North Americans a great way to invest in a friendly, stable, interesting, and exciting country: buying property, and more specifically, buying undeveloped land there. Costa Rica still has acres of lots, some of it beach and waterfront. Prices are generally much lower than in the United States and Canada and offer potential for an increase in value as Costa Rica becomes more popular as a vacation destination.
Prices of Costa Rica land for sale vary widely, depending on the size and location of the property. As of September 17, 2005, a web search found oceanview lots for $100,000 as well as single-family building lots in a gated community about ten minutes from the beach for around $10,000. Beachfront lots, of course, are even more expensive as are large highland farms. Generally, the further you get from town and from the beach, the lower the price.
Costa Rica property can be purchased in one person’s name, jointly, or in the name of a corporation. It is very common in Costa Rica for individuals to purchase land in the name of a corporation. It is wise to discuss these options with your lawyer and accountant. Costa Rican property laws are based on the French Napoleonic laws rather than the British common law, as are the U.S. and Canadian property laws. As in the U.S., a variety of closing costs and fees apply to a real estate transfer. It is customary, in Costa Rica, to split such costs between the buyer and the seller.
Finding Costa Rica land for sale requires the assistance of a real estate professional. Costa Rican laws, language, and tradition are different from the United States. Don’t trust your investment to chance. Many of the major U.S. real estate firms, such as REMAX, have outlets in San Jose. There are also a plethora of local real estate firms. Check an agent’s references and follow up on them. In addition to guiding you through the paperwork and intricacies involved in a land purchase, a reputable real estate agent can help you find the property that matches your budget, lifestyle, and needs. Real estate agents are not required to be licensed in Costa Rica, but it is still a good idea to work with a licensed agent.
In Costa Rica, few banks offer financing to foreigners, unless they are residents. Foreigners can opt to buy Costa Rica land for sale that holds an existing mortgage and assume the payments. Interest rates offered by banks are quite a bit higher than in North America and, consequently, many sellers opt to offer financing in order to sell their home. With bank interest rates between 12 and 15 percent, you can usually get a more advantageous rate from the owner.
Living the Dream
Shopping for Costa Rica land for sale can be exciting and sometimes tricky. If you choose to live in the country, foreign residents can apply for one of two types of residency status: a “pensionado,” a foreign resident with a guaranteed, usually government, income of at least $600 per month, and a “rentista,” a foreign resident with a guaranteed income of at least $1000 per month. Both types of residency cards must be renewed every two years.