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Costa Rica real estate agents

Advice Buying Properties For Sale Costa Rica Real Estate Property Buyers Guide



You've found a Costa Rica property what next?

Costa Rica Costa Rica Property Buyer's Guide explains the legal fees, legal procedures, purchase taxes and mortgage procedure.

Below are some brief points in purchasing property in Costa Rica.

Costa Ricans and foreigners enjoy the same rights in terms of ownership of property in Costa Rica.

Consequently, a restriction is imposed on both locals and foreigners.

The Maritime Zone, 200 metres along the shoreline, is state-owned. The Public Zone, 50 m. from the shore, is protected from any development.

Private persons can acquire property in the Restricted Zone by applying to the Municipality, but in the Restricted Zone, leases cannot be granted to foreigners with less than 5 years of residency in Costa Rica.

A company whose shares are less than 50% held by foreigners can be granted a concession.

Total purchase costs are moderate in Costa Rica:

Total roundtrip transactions costs are around 8.58% to 13.58%.

It is customary for the buyer and the seller to share the costs equally.

The buyer must be wary of buying a property with liens or squatters.

The general custom is for the buyer and seller to share equally all closing costs.

The above costs only apply to titled property, not to untitled or beachfront property.

The legal fees are based on the property's sales price and not on the property's declared value.

It is usual in Costa Rica to register a property at a figure far less than its actual sale price.

The Documentary Stamp Taxes of 0.325% consist of the following:

0.2% Municipal Stamp (Timbre Municipal);

0.025% Costa Rican Bar Association Stamp (Timbre del Colegio de Abogados);

and, 0.1% Agricultural Stamp (Timbre Agrario).

Additional fees are CRC 20 National Archives Stamp (Timbre del Archivo Nacional) and CRC 625 Fiscal Stamp (Especie Fiscal).

The property is transferred from seller to buyer by executing a transfer deed (escritura) before a Notary Public, who drafts the transfer deed and register the sale in the Public Registry (Registro Nacional).

The local custom is that the buyer may select his or her notary/attorney to draft the transfer deed if paying cash for the property.

If the purchase price is financed, there are generally three alternatives for selecting the notary/attorney.

If a large percentage of the purchase price is being financed by the seller and a mortgage needs to be drafted to guarantee payment, then the seller may request that her or his notary/attorney will draft the transfer deed.

If a property is purchased 50 percent cash and 50 percent financed, it is common for the buyer's attorney and seller's attorney to jointly draft the transfer deed and mortgage in a single document. This is known as co-notariado.

Finally, the buyer may insist that his or her notary/attorney draft the transfer deed and let the seller's notary/attorney draft a separate mortgage instrument. In this case, because the mortgage is being drafted separately, it carries a higher registration fee. The registration fees are discussed below in the section on closing costs.

Drafting of the mortgage requires additional notary fees of around 0.5% - 1.25% of the amount of the mortgage.

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These guidelines are meant for guidance only and describe straightforward purchase scenarios. However this information is not meant to replace proper legal advice, which we always insist you take.



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