Costa Rica Real Estate

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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As a foreigner, you can own Costa Rica real estate without living in the country on a permanent or even temporary basis. Be reassured that foreigners and citizens have equal rights under Costa Rican law. Know that all Costa Rica real estate is registered with the Registro de la Propiedad.

You'll want your financing lined up at home beforehand, because no local financing is available to foreigners. Transactions can, however, be conducted in U.S. dollars. Closing costs, split evenly between seller and buyer, come to about five percent of the sale price.

Transfer land and stamp taxes are based on the declared value of the real estate, and legal fees are based on the sale price. Costa Rica real estate tax ranges from about 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent, depending on the declared value of the property. Costa Ricans typically undervalue property as much as 20 percent when registering at the Registro de la Propiedad.

Available Costa Rica Real Estate

If you have thoughts of buying beach front property, know that Costa Rican law stipulates beaches as common property. The first 164 feet (50 meters) above the mean tide line are public. Access to a beach cannot be restricted. There are a few exceptions--port areas, land grants, and a few property agreements made before 1973. Along about 85 percent of Costa Rica's coastline, the 492 feet above the first 164 are government controlled. Finally, if there is no zoning plan for the land you're considering, you must prepare one--to cover water, electricity, roads, and public use--and submit it to the municipality for approval.

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