Easy Steps to Buying Real Estate in Paradise

Buying property in Costa RicaThe harsh cold  winter that hit North America and Europe this year makes many people think of the possibility of buying real estate in Costa Rica, a tropical paradise where  the average annual temperature ranges between 70 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 28 degrees Celsius).  Great climate is just one of the many reasons that year after year people from all around the world choose to invest in property in this Central American country.  We have stunning beaches and amazing lush forests that provide wonderful scenarios and some of the world’s most beautiful sunsets; friendly people, a stable peaceful country that offers access to modern world commodities but can also take you away from the day to day rush and take you into the sounds of nature. Costa Rica continues to top the lists as one of the best countries to retire, and it is not by chance.

Buying real estate in Costa Rica is also still affordable when compared to prices in the United States and certain cities in Canada and Europe. A property in paradise can be a great investment if buyers take their time to really do the necessary research.  Which will ensure the increase on property value and the possibility of having a second home that can help pay for itself and also become a very good source of income in the future.  Some of our beautiful beach front condos and ocean view homes can be purchased for much less than 50% of  similar properties in Hawaii, California or Florida.  We have incredible ocean front condos in Playa Hermosa for $620,000 these units in Hawaii or California would be in the multi millions.  Only 25 minutes from the international airport as well.  Ocean view homes for $800,000 which would sell for 3 or 4 times as much in California if you could find one.  Along with property taxes that are 1/4 of 1% of the registered property value!  Can you imagine paying $2,000 per year property taxes on a $800,000 ocean view home!!

If you are considering buying real estate in Costa Rica, let me offer you some easy steps that can make this journey a lot simpler:

Find a Good Real Estate Agent – be aware everyone in Costa Rica is a real estate agent or their cousin is one!  No licensing requirements to date make you vulnerable to people selling property that may not have water, power, access or clear title.   Although not paying a commission may sound tempting, it is important to consider that buying real estate in a foreign country always carries its risks. A good real estate agent can not only open your eyes to many different possibilities you may have not taken into account but they will also be able to offer insights on the pros and cons of  buying in a particular area, the right price for a property, and even offer detailed and important information on how likely you are to get a return on your investment and the best way to manage it.  Agents  working with REMAX Tres Amigos, REMAX Prestige Ocean Village and REMAX Ocean village have a great reputation for looking after their clients best interests.  Choose wisely from one of the best.  I have lived and worked in Costa Rica since 2007 and have visited the country since 1999 so I am very familiar with the country, culture and people.  I am a permanent resident legal to work in Costa Rica. I am a property owner as well so I can speak from experience. 

Location, Location, Location:  Yes, this is always one of the main things to take into account, Costa Rica has several expat communities that are worth looking into, but when you are ready to invest you should always take your time to explore the area where you are buying if you want to really secure your investment.  Our area known as the Gold Coast offers safe secure beaches which are fun for the whole family.  We are the closest beach area to an international airport – 25 minutes and you can be on the beach or on the patio with a cocktail watching the sunset.  We have the most sunshine days per year and our summer (December to April) temperatures are comfortable with the low humidities we experience during the dry season.  Don’t let the term rainy season scare you off the green season runs from May in to November.  This time of year can be the best time to visit paradise as the whole area turns into a giant green natural emerald.  Mid September to the end of October we can experience the most rainfall which actually is very welcome.  No hurricanes in paradise! 

 Experienced and Reliable Attorney:  If a good real estate agent is important and necessary, so is an experienced trustworthy attorney. You often hear about scams and problems people have encountered when buying property in a foreign country. Investing in real estate can be an enjoyable and smooth experience that will bring you a positive financial outcome or it can turn into a nightmare.  If you are looking for a recommendation on a trustworthy bilingual real estate attorney  in our area please contact me and I will introduce you to one of our very respected attorneys.   Attorneys who we have worked with REMAX for years and who speak very good English.  They are well versed in all real estate transactions.  Again work with the best.

Take Your Time on Home Inspections for older properties: House inspections are many times tedious, but they are a must if you do not want those bad surprises later. Take your time to go through the property you are interested in, not once but several times at different times of the day, if possible take an engineer, architect or home inspector friend that can offer a different opinion on the possible work that needs to be done. Be thorough.  Or buy a nice ocean view or nature view lot and build with one of our most trusted builders.  He will guide you through the process and present you with an incredibly beautiful ocean view or nature view home.  He has built over 150 homes in our area and knows the process very well. He has a great reputation for building a home on time and on budget to the customers satisfaction.

Keep in mind foreigners can not get bank financing here in Costa Rica.  You will need to arrange your financing in your home country with a line of credit.  Sellers will sometimes offer financing but it will be more expensive and will have terms like 50% down the remainder amortized over 25 years at 6-7%.  Payments will be made for 3-5 years at this rate with a balloon payment at the end of the 3-5 year term.  There are private companies in Costa Rica that provide financing but it is usually very expensive and can be difficult to meet their requirements.

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