An Overview to Buying Costa Rica Real Estate
For individuals with an interest in buying Costa Rica real estate who have not done so will need an understanding about the process; this overview will familiarize the reader with a basic knowledge base of doing so.
If you are considering a land purchase in Costa Rica you will need to familiarize yourself with some of the legalities involved and the process of transferring title from the original owner to yourself or a corporation. First, all titled properties in Costa Rica are registered in the public registry and can be easily researched by yourself or your attorney. This makes it possible to reassure yourself that the property you are interested in is in fact owned by the person or corporation who has offered it for sale. Once that fact has been established you may begin serious negotiations with the owner. This is usually done with the help of a real estate broker or agent except in the case where the listing is “for sale by owner.”
We at Pavones Local hope you will use our services to locate and purchase your dream property in Pavones or elsewhere in Costa Rica. Our expertise is based on buying, selling and brokering properties in the Pavones area since 1976. We have a long list of satisfied clients who are now our neighbors and friends and whom will provide referrals upon request.
Titled or Concession Land?
Briefly, there are two different types of properties in Pavones. Titled land and concession land. Concession land is in the area defined by law as Maritime Zone. This property is found in the first 200 meters inland from the mean high tide line. By now the entire coastline of Costa Rica has been surveyed by the government and concrete marker posts (mojones in Spanish) have been placed at regular intervals all along the coast. These markers define the 50 meter line above mean high tide. Those first 50 meters are considered public land and are protected for use by the public. No one can own property in that zone or deny access to others. The next 150 meters inland are all concession property (with a very few exceptions) and must be leased from the Municipality that governs the area. In the case of Pavones, all concessions must pass through the Municipalidad de Golfito.
Once one’s paper work is in order and approved by the Municipalidad it then must go to the
ICT (Costa Rican Institute of Tourism) for final approval. Concession applications must include plans for development which are in accord with the zoning as outlined by a Regulatory Plan approved by the Municipalidad. Foreigners may not hold concessions directly but may use a corporation to circumvent that limitation. The corporation must be comprised of at least 51% Costa Rican citizens. This process of attaining a concession is generally difficult, frustrating and expensive but it may be achieved if one remains patient and keeps his or her eye on the eventual goal. Help will be necessary in virtually every case.
On the other hand, buying a piece of registered titled property is normally very simple and straightforward. A title search will be necessary and another search to be sure there are no outstanding liens or claims of any kind against the property. The property taxes will have to be paid up to date and that must be confirmed as well. Once those issues have been settled the purchase may be completed according to contract. An attorney/notary can handle the transfer and have the new owner registered upon payment. There is a standard fee involved based upon a percentage of the purchase price. Buyer and seller often split that fee but that is not always the case. Your attorney will cover that eventuality in your contract to purchase.
Those are some of the main points to bear in mind when considering buying Costa Rica Real Estate. If you need more specific advice please contact your attorney. You may also feel free to contact us at Pavones Local for further general information.