Buying Land in Costa Rica as a Foreigner



By Caroline Kirby

A tropical climate, thriving economy, safe and stable political atmosphere, incredible beaches — what other reason do you need to make buying property in Costa Rica a priority? Over the last decade, the beautiful national parks, incredible landscapes, and overall good vibes of one of the happiest and most peaceful countries on the globe have led to an increase in tourists looking to come back to Costa Rica as landowners.

Whether you’re looking for a place to settle into your laid-back lifestyle or simply want a home away from home that you can rent out from time to time, here’s why and how you should buy land in Costa Rica.

Buying property in paradise

Purchasing property in other countries than your own can seem to be overwhelming and inaccessible, but when it comes to buying land in Costa Rica, you’re in luck! The “Rich Coast” actually has pretty foreign-friendly and upfront property laws.

The first and perhaps best bit of news about purchasing a property in Costa Rican paradise is that foreigners have the same purchasing rights as locals do, meaning you can own a property outright either in your name or in your corporation’s name. The one exception? A beachfront concession property requires a local partner (Costa Rican national). However, let’s focus on the simple stuff for now. Check out the top benefits of buying property in Costa Rica as a foreigner:

• Costa Rica has a central land registry, and most property or land has likely already been titled and registered. This makes the process of confirming a clear title to your property much easier.

• Costa Rica also has low property taxes at 1/4 of 1% annually. So if you buy property priced at $200,000, your property taxes would only be $500.

• The process of purchasing land in Costa Rica is very similar to the process in the U.S. So if you’re an experienced investor, this process won’t be much different. You’ll work with a local real estate agent, who must be SUGEF certified, which is the public entity overseeing the stability of the national financial system.

• When you find the land you like, you and your agent will draft an offer and send it to the seller. If all goes well, you can expect to see closing happen between 30 and 60 days after signing contracts. It’s typically recommended that financing be done in your home country as rates are lower. However, if you need financing in Costa Rica, it is possible through owner financing.

• Of course, there are some legal exceptions, although they are very similar to restrictions you would find elsewhere in the world. One restriction is the 50-meter zone which means you cannot develop property in the first 50 meters inland from the high tide line as this is considered public property.

• The other restriction is the 150-meter zone, as this space is typically owned by the local municipality. However, there are also exceptions to the exceptions, and you may be able to lease by concession for up to 20 years. To own this land as a foreigner, a Costa Rican national must own over 50%.

Testing Out the Tropics

Are you about ready to pack your bags and move to Costa Rica? We don’t blame you! However, it’s understandable that you may be hesitant before purchasing international property. As we continue to move forward from the pandemic, Costa Rica is reviewing an exciting opportunity – the chance to enter the country on a special tourist visa for remote workers.

This new legislation which has been widely discussed for the last few month amongst Costa Rica’s top courts is called the “Law to Attract International Workers and Remote Service Providers”, or Law No. 22.215. As remote work becomes more and more common, the country is looking for safe ways to reopen and entice travelers to come, stay, and contribute to the economy by providing the means for them to stay in Costa Rica for longer periods of time.

Currently, any person who entered the country in 2020 can stay without penalty until June 2021, while that date is not far away many legal experts and tourism professionals are hopeful that the updated legislation will pass soon meaning you could make the move to Costa Rica and give the area a test run while you look for property.

Costa Rica is a hidden gem when it comes to property investment, and if you’re a foreigner looking for an attractive investment, don’t miss the chance! This is a safe and stable country with transparent and foreign-friendly purchasing opportunities. Have your own Costa Rica property you want to list? Advertise your land on LandHub.com!

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