Invest in Costa Rica's Real Estate


The Latin American country of Costa Rica is currently enjoying a boom on real estate, thanks to the renewed interest by the foreigners to invest in this Latin American country.



How to Invest in Costa Rica’s Real Estate

Due to this impressive economical performance, Costa Rica placed within the top five of ideal place for foreign investment in the world. This is also due to the minimal restrictions set by the government on foreigners who own properties in the country. This means that foreigners can avail of the same rights imposed on the locals when it comes to acquiring properties within the country. However, there is an exception and this is called the “Terrestrial Maritime Zone.” This means that there are restrictions set for land use, including the land that you might purchase for yourself.

“Terrestrial Maritime Zone” applies to both Costa Ricans and foreigners.

With this in mind, it is recommended that you do the appropriate research before you acquire a property in Costa Rica. This means that you get the needed advice from qualified professionals such as real estate agents, engineers and government agencies involved in this. It must be determined first if the property that you are interested to acquire is livable, safe from problems such as sudden land erosion and other unforeseen catastrophes.

The government agencies that you may be able to approach are the Institute of Farming Development (IDA), Ministry of Housing and Human Resources (MIVAH), Ministry of Agriculture and Cattle (MAG), Ministry of Health, Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT), Water and Sewage Authority, National Institute of Housing and Development and Ministry of Energy and Environment.

There are certain zones in Costa Rica that could not be purchased. These restrictions may have been made because the land was reserved for preservation of nature (like forests and others). There are zones that only impose limited construction due to the fact that water supply is acquired from that area (water reserves). Cutting of trees within a preferred zone may be restricted as well.

Documents needed prior to acquisition of real estate property in Costa Rica:

• Proof of Residency or Passport: This particular requirement has been imposed for foreigners. This is usually presented to a notary public attorney. If you are representing a company, you need to present the company identification card and an authorization that you are the legal representative.
• Clearance from Municipality: The municipality where your preferred property is located must be able to provide clearance that you (as the interested buyer) have no existing debts to the local government while the seller (or the owner) must have paid the appropriate taxes due to the municipality (property and local taxes).
• Survey Plan: The preferred property must also have a plan of survey. It should be updated and conducted recently.
• Certification from Public Registry: To prove that there’s no lacking documents or other hindrances.
• Power of Attorney: As an interested buyer, you can actually give authority to another person provided that you made a power of attorney, giving that individual the authority to transact business during the purchase process. The signing of such document must be done before a lawyer (notary public) or an official from the Costa Rica consulate.
• Public Property Registry: The notary public will be conducting the registry of the property at Public Property Registry. This is a government-mandated documentation of all properties. This is deemed necessary and the information can be gleaned at this website: www.registronacional.go.cr.
• Folio Real registration: The folio real or “property number” must be placed to the number of province in which the property was acquired.
• Right of Way: There may be properties wherein the rights of way are deemed necessary. The updated land survey is needed because it’s possible that this may no longer apply due to certain cases like a transfer.
• National Survey: This documentation may be procured at the government office catering to public registries.

There might some instances wherein there are typographical mistakes between what was surveyed and on the registry report. It could be due to failure to update the notarized registry document after a survey had been made. The mistakes may range from the owner’s name, measurements of the property, folio real, property pathways and location of the land itself. It is always important that the documents must be updated at the registry. You can always remind the owner before the final transaction will be made to make sure that all the documents are in order from his end.

It’s easy to correct these mistakes, provided that you and the land owner know where to go. There’s a need for you to make this correction at the national survey and public registry departments. By presenting the original deed of the land, the mistakes on the personal information can be corrected. Notary-related mistakes can be done by modifying the deed and an authorized engineer or topographer can make the corrections on the survey plan by conducting an updated survey.

Other information concerning the zoning law can be referred to your attorney. You attorney on the other hand can procure a copy of the Maritime Zone law and can explain to you further the restrictions set on it. It is better to be informed about these restrictions before you purchase your own property. It always pays to be vigilant in a foreign country.