Buying property in Costa Rica may be a smart investment, considering the trend of Costa Rican properties to rise in value. Over the past decades, markets in Costa Rica have not seem the same type of volatility as those in the United States and Europe. Property values have either remained the same, or risen depending on where they are located.
Unfortunately for some areas, this means that many of the “hidden gems” have been realized and bought up accordingly. For those that are interested in making a smart investment, however, there are still many opportunities in the area.
Find a Realtor and a Lawyer
Nothing will make your purchase of real estate easier than having locals who understand the law and the process of purchasing property. A realtor is a representative for the property that interests you. He or she can tell you more about the legal history of the property, what the current owners are looking for in the sale, and can even point you toward other properties in the area that may interest you. While a realtor is just as much a salesperson as they are a guide, they can be extremely useful to foreigners who want to make a property purchase in the area.
Lawyers are indispensable in any deal, but if you are a foreign buyer, you will have a particularly strong need for legal representation. Lawyers will be aware of the popular processes associated with a real estate purchase, and can act as your representative for a review of the property before a purchase is finalized. The lawyer will also be integral in the closing of the property and the transfer of the deed from seller to buyer.
Buyers are encouraged to look into residential status if they are making the purchase of a property with the intent of moving in permanently. Your typical visa to Costa Rica could last anywhere from 30 to 90 days, depending on your status. Any length past that will require residential status. You also need residential status to secure a loan from a Costa Rican bank, as they do not lend money to foreigners. You will need to verify proof of steady income in order to qualify for both residency and loan eligibility.
Although many of the more developed areas of Costa Rica have also seen a dramatic rise of property value, that does not necessarily mean that there are no more deals available. If you are interested in buying properties that have not yet skyrocketed in price, it may be worth looking into rural parts of the island. It is possible to purchase beach front property in these locations at prices that are far less than what you would pay in other regions, but be aware that road availability and other factors could influence the potential future value of any rural property that you plan to invest in. Your realtor may be able to help you to identify properties with promise in areas of the country with lighter development.