Main Content

Can I Own Real Estate in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s enchanting landscapes, biodiversity, and welcoming culture have made it a sought-after destination for foreigners looking to invest in real estate. The allure of owning property in this tropical paradise raises the question for many prospective buyers: Can I own real estate in Costa Rica? In this in-depth guide, we will explore the nuances of real estate ownership in Costa Rica, shedding light on regulations, ownership structures, considerations, and the process for foreign investors looking to make their mark in this Central American gem.

Foreign Ownership Rights in Costa Rica:

One of the most appealing aspects of real estate ownership in Costa Rica is the equal rights granted to foreigners and local citizens. Non-residents and foreign entities enjoy the same property rights as Costa Ricans, making it an attractive destination for international investors seeking a piece of the tropical paradise. Whether you’re dreaming of a beachfront villa, a mountain retreat, or an investment property, owning real estate in Costa Rica is a viable and accessible option for foreigners.

Diverse Ownership Structures for Foreigners:

Foreign investors in Costa Rica have several ownership structures at their disposal to align with their investment goals and preferences. From fee simple ownership to corporation ownership and trust structures, each option offers unique benefits and considerations for foreign buyers:

  1. Fee Simple Ownership:

Fee simple ownership, known as “propiedad absoluta” in Costa Rica, grants the owner full rights to the property, including the ability to sell, lease, and transfer the property. Foreigners can hold title to real estate in Costa Rica in their own name or through a corporation or trust structure, providing flexibility and control over their investments.

  1. Corporation Ownership:

Many foreign buyers opt to purchase real estate in Costa Rica through a corporation, leveraging advantages such as asset protection, tax planning, and ease of transferability. Establishing a Costa Rican corporation to hold title to the property can offer added security and strategic benefits for investors.

  1. Trust Ownership:

Trust ownership, known as a “fideicomiso,” is another option for foreign ownership of real estate in Costa Rica. In this arrangement, a trustee holds legal title to the property on behalf of the beneficiary (the foreign owner), providing additional layers of protection and facilitating estate planning for international investors.

Regulations and Considerations for Foreign Ownership:

While Costa Rica welcomes foreign investment in its real estate market, there are regulations and considerations that foreign buyers should be mindful of to ensure a smooth and compliant transaction:

  1. Zoning Regulations:

Certain areas in Costa Rica may have zoning restrictions that dictate the type of development or construction allowed on the property. Buyers should conduct thorough due diligence and consult with local authorities to understand the zoning regulations in their desired location to avoid any surprises down the road.

  1. Maritime Zone Law:

Costa Rica’s Maritime Zone Law imposes restrictions on real estate ownership in coastal areas to protect the country’s beaches and marine ecosystems.  Foreign buyers eyeing properties near the coast should familiarize themselves with the regulations governing maritime zone concessions to navigate the purchase process effectively.

  1. Residency Requirements:

While non-residents and foreigners can own property in Costa Rica without the need for residency, there are tax implications and considerations for individuals residing in the country for an extended period. Understanding residency requirements and tax obligations can help foreign buyers plan their real estate investments strategically.

Navigating the Real Estate Purchase Process:

The process of purchasing real estate in Costa Rica as a foreigner involves several key steps to ensure a seamless transaction and ownership experience. Let’s delve into the detailed process that foreign investors can follow when buying property in Costa Rica:

  1. Engage a Real Estate Professional:

Partnering with a reputable real estate agent or broker who specializes in properties for foreign buyers can simplify the search and purchase process. An experienced professional can provide valuable insights on market trends, property options, and legal considerations to guide you through the transaction.

  1. Secure Financing (if needed):

Foreign buyers may opt to finance their real estate purchase in Costa Rica through a local bank or financial institution. It is advisable to explore financing options early in the process and obtain pre-approval to strengthen your offer and streamline the transaction.  

  1. Sign Purchase Agreement:

Once you have identified a property and negotiated the terms of the sale, it’s time to sign a purchase agreement outlining the conditions of the transaction. The agreement should encompass crucial details such as the purchase price, closing date, and any contingencies to protect your interests during the transaction.  Your real estate agent and/or lawyer will assist you in writing the Purchase and Sale Agreement.

  1. Conduct Due Diligence:

Enlist the services of a knowledgeable attorney to review the legal aspects of the transaction and ensure compliance with local laws.  Your attorney will conduct a thorough due diligence to evaluate the property’s title, ownership history, zoning regulations, and any encumbrances or liens, check to make sure the taxes are paid, the utilities are up to date, review a copy of the HOA bylaws and financials.  It is at this time that an inspection can be done on the property as well as a topography study.

  1. Close the Transaction:

On the closing date, finalize the real estate transaction by signing the deed of sale and transferring ownership of the property. Working with a licensed notary public is essential to authenticate the transaction and ensure that all legal requirements are met.

Discovering the allure of owning real estate in Costa Rica as a foreigner is just the beginning of a thrilling journey.  Flamingo Beach Realty emerges as the premier agency in the Guanacaste area, offering unparalleled guidance to navigate the intricate process. From understanding legal requirements to exploring diverse property options, their expert team ensures a seamless experience for every client. With a deep-rooted understanding of the local market and a commitment to personalized service, Flamingo Beach Realty stands as the trusted ally for foreigners seeking to make their dream of owning property in Costa Rica a reality.  Reach out to one of our agents today and we will your dream come true!

Skip to content