Frequently Asked Questions About Real Estate in Costa Rica
Can I own a property in Costa Rica even if I’m a foreigner?
Yes. You will have to register first in the Ministerio de Hacienda to get a NITE or open a legal partnership and then you can purchase a property, paying taxes for it and registering it in the Registro de la Propiedad. It might be harder regarding beach-front properties because those zones have special laws and rules, depending on the zone.
How to register my property?
Law is to register it in the Registro de la Propiedad, which is part of the Registro Nacional.
How to get the property?
You can purchase it through the NITE or the legal partnership based in Costa Rica. Whichever you rather choose has to be registered in the Ministerio de Hacienda.
What to know before purchasing a property in Costa Rica?
You have to be registered in the Ministerio de Hacienda, you can check the properties in the Registro Nacional online to verify everything you´re being offered is correct, choose how to purchase it, get a good lawyer to make the legal transfer of the asset and last, register it in the Registro de la Propiedad as yours.
What are the Legal obligations for the foreigner person acquiring the real estate
Property taxes (around 0.25%) and municipal charges. You must find out when you have to pay these because it depends on the Municipality.
You need an accountant to calculate the property tax declaration and income tax. Take into account that if your property is a luxurious one, it will pay more taxes. Also, if you chose to register the property through a legal partnership in Costa Rica, you have to pay taxes for education and culture, financial declarations for every partner, corporate and the registration fee. Calculate to pay the accountant at least twice a year for the math.
Check if your asset is inside a condominium because there are fees and internal policies additional you have to be aware of.
What if I purchase the lot and want to build?
Get the best engineer/architect you can. Make sure the contracts are in order, that the builders are insured (sometimes they´re not and if an accident happens it would be your responsibility). The blueprints must be approved by the correspondent entities (you might need an additional sustainability study provided by SETENA if your property is a big one) and then by the municipality before starting the building process.
Am I getting benefits for buying assets in Costa Rica?
You can get temporary residence if you invest in a property equal or superior to $200.000 or you can rent your property and expand your income.
If I get the temporary residence, do I get benefits from it?
First, your spouse and children (under 25 years old) get it too. You could open bank accounts in government banks, get a tico driver´s license, you can pay for national public health insurance (which, by the way, also includes a retirement plan and if you pay for it, you can enroll your significant other and children for no additional money) and it also looks good if you´re interested in being a citizen or get residency.
Contact us if you have additional questions about getting properties in Costa Rica.