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Choosing a Real Estate Attorney in Costa Rica

Choosing a Real Estate Attorney in Costa Rica

Whether you are looking for a piece of paradise in this tropical haven or trying to flip your current property, a good and dependable real estate attorney will make your transaction run much smoother.


A lawyer who is also a licensed Notary Public is essential for navigating the complex legal system and avoiding any potential headaches. You will need an attorney for conducting a title search, facilitating the due diligence process with the National Registry, and preparing a public transfer deed when the time is ready.


Finding the right attorney to represent your interests can be a bit tricky. We suggest the following actions:


Do your own research


It’s important to be diligent in finding a good lawyer to assist you.  Consult with people you know in Costa Rica to see if you can get a personal recommendation. If that is not possible, you can choose from a list of established attorneys from the U.S. Embassy website or conduct some independent research online.  


If you are not fluent in Spanish, you will likely be better off with a bilingual attorney who is able to help you with authenticating foreign documents. Some law offices, such as Outlier Legal Services in the San José suburb of Escazú, are geared specifically for English-speaking expats looking to do business here.


We suggest going to the Costa Rican Bar Association’s website to check the background and status of any attorney before hiring them. It’s important to find a lawyer you are comfortable with so do not be afraid to consult multiple attorneys before making a decision.


Attorney fees


When negotiating a rate with your attorney, keep in mind the current minimum fee schedule set by the Costa Rican Bar Association. The minimum notary fees for drafting the purchasing agreement can be a bit pricey, between one and two percent, depending on the size of the transaction.  


Like most legal services in Costa Rica, the client should expect to make no more than a 50 percent down payment and you should not have to pay the remaining money until your lawyer has done his or her job.


Karen Ebanks

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