Costa Rica Real Estate Investing 101 Ultimate Guide: The FAQs

Costa Rica Real Estate Investing 101 Ultimate Guide: The FAQs

We want to help you be successful with your Costa Rica real estate investment choices by making informed decisions.

You may be looking for a property for enjoyment and personal vacations.

Maybe you want to retire and enjoy a great lifestyle by acquiring property in a less expensive area.

Or maybe you just wish to expand your income and Costa Rica investment property opportunities.

Whether for sound investment strategies, retiring as an ex-pat, or buying a second home away from home, this guide highlights what you should be aware of before taking a dive into the world of offshore investing.

Costa Rica real estate investing: Frequently asked questions

These are the frequently asked questions you should consider before taking a leap into the Costa Rica real estate market.

Is Costa Rica still a good place to retire?

Yes! Costa Rica is one of the oldest democracies in America. And it counts with a stable economy, which has always been dependent on tourism and exports.

The country has kept political stability for decades. And peace is definitely one of its most valuable features.

The country counts with no army, and civil and rural police ensure citizens’ protection.

  • Education: Costa Rica has an outstanding state-paid educational system. Plus, American private schools and colleges are also available. The literacy rate in the country is 93%.
  • Languages: Spanish (primary language). English (second), Italian, French, and German are also spoken.


Costa Rica is a tropical, beautiful country located between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.

It includes a large variety of beaches, mountains, volcanoes, valleys, plains, and rivers.

The Costa Rica habitat ranges from lowland rainforest to tropical dry forest. And the country is recognized for its continuous natural conservation activities.

When in Rome . . .

To make the best out of your real estate investment opportunities in Costa Rica, consider learning the language, the culture, and the local customs.

Remember: Understanding and knowledge are power. And to show humility on your side is not weakness.

Try to grab a good understanding of the local economy.

How does this new economy landscape fit your buyer objectives and goals?

Also, if you’re not intending to live in the country, our team can be there for the entire transaction.

Of course, this is always optional, and you can always feel free to choose your local representation.

Can a US citizen buy a house in Costa Rica?

Yes. And a lot of the basic things you must consider when buying Costa Rica homes for sale are similar to the things you must consider when investing in the USA.

Required Personal Documents: Just a copy of your passport, tourist visa, and residency card where applicable.

Owning Costa Rica property under a corporation

Because corporations allow you to count on a series of tools that individual buyers just don’t have access to, we at Finish Touch Enterprises definitely encourage you to acquire real estate property under a corporation.

Costa Rica beachfront properties

When it comes to coastal property, this area is government-owned.

But all you need is to get a concession to develop from the local municipality, which is granted for 5 to 20 years.

With that said, there are a few restrictions on concessions that applies to foreigners.

What is the Traspaso or Escritura?

The Traspaso or Escritura is simple the title change of property, the sale agreement in the form of a public deed.

Now, we recommend you create a corporation to buy property in Costa Rica.

Simply because of the variety of real estate tools you will have at hand by working with a corporation.

When creating this document you will require the assistance of a public notary.

The great thing is that all Costa Rica lawyers are also public notaries.

And if you wish to, here at Finish Touch Enterprises we can also give you a hand with all of these legal documents.

How is the title transferred?

All Costa Rica real estate properties are registered with the Registro Publico or National Registry.

The seller will get a certification from the Registro Publico, listing things such as the kind of property, the location, who currently owns it, if there are any liens, or mortgages pending attached to it, etc.

If everything looks good, then the property will be properly registered, and you, under your new Costa Rica corporation, will become the new owner.

Should I invest in Costa Rica real estate?

Yes. There are a lot of great reasons to venture beyond your backyard and into the Costa Rica real estate market.

And, investing in Costa Rica real estate is a straightforward process.

It’s really as easy as buying property back at home.

And, by building a home in Costa Rica with Finish Touch Enterprises, we can help you align your monetary goals with the lifestyle you wish to have.

So, if you’re an investor or considering expatriating to Costa Rica…

Just imagine a beautiful income property that will pay for itself…

A second home…

Or an ex-pat residence on the beach or in the mountain, where you can live in a temperate climate…

Offshore investing: Factors to consider:

  • Are you willing to engage with the local language, culture, and customs?
  • Will you be living in Costa Rica?
  • Are you buying as an ex-pat?
  • Are you financing the purchase?
  • Will you be using your retirement funds?
  • What are the tax consequences at home and in Costa Rica?
  • What are the inheritance laws?

Is It Worth It?

The answer is a resounding YES.

From the luxury ex-pat residences to the amazingly affordable starter homes, the wide range of investment opportunities Finish Touch Enterprises offers you are excellent.

Also, what’s great about buying property in Costa Rica for your portfolio holding is that these offshore properties can serve as a cushion versus economic downturns in a particular area.

And, needless to say, this is particularly true because when you invest in real estate, you get more stability than investing in an intangible asset such as stock.

Is real estate expensive in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica real estate is definitely affordable when comparing the same type of property in the United States.

But, as with any property transaction, the price doesn’t determine the final value of Costa Rica investment property.

When acquiring homes for sale in Costa Rica, you must consider the actual cost of the purchase.

Our great prices are what first attracts you to the deal, and when working with Finish Touch Enterprises, there’s always the chance to negotiate!

But consider the fact that the price you see is missing a few general costs to complete the purchase.

Back at home in the USA, you can calculate purchasing costs because they come with a HUD-1 closing statement.

With that said, a lot of the elements are quite similar.

And precisely for this reason is that you can translate your current knowledge from U.S. real estate transactions to the Costa Rica real estate market.

Do ex-pats pay taxes in Costa Rica?

Remember that United States taxpayers get taxed on their global income.

Now, you can buy Costa Rica investment property while getting tax breaks at the same time.

And the great thing is that you will be investing in a country whose government and economy are stable.

Also, if you want to acquire Costa Rica investment property, it’s key to be familiar with United States tax laws and Costa Rica tax laws.

With that said, if you’ve been making real estate investments in the USA, you have a great starting point.

This allows you to build on your familiarity of acquiring real estate domestically and then venturing further.

Plus, including tax implications, Costa Rica investment property will always generate positive cash flow.

Now, although investing in Costa Rica real estate is very similar to investing in the U.S., there are a few things you can’t do with the offshore property.

For example, you can’t acquire Costa Rica houses for sale with a 1031 exchange for property outside the USA.

But, you can invest 401(k) cash and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) everywhere, although you still need to pay taxes in Costa Rica.

Is now a good time to buy in Costa Rica?

Yes. In fact, this is the best time. Because real estate prices are high in the United States.

So you can sell high, and acquire great investment deals in a powerhouse in the making such as Costa Rica.

Plus the world population continues to increase. And from the perspective of an investor, this means that resources and land are dear, and demand will remain high.

Costa Rica Airbnb properties

Investing in coastal real estate property in Costa Rica is an outstanding decision.

And the reason is that developments, such as marinas, golf courses, hotels, and most importantly, Costa Rica Airbnb properties have been rising dramatically in value.

Local management for Vacation Rental

If you want to keep things going smoothly with you having to take care of everything personally, you can always hire a local property manager.

The ideal person or company for this job is someone that knows the area well. And who also knows who to contact for general maintenance or if something needs special repair.

You can also trust this person or company to help you:

  • Find the tenants for the property
  • Prepare the necessary rental agreements
  • Collect rents
  • Pay utility bills

Plus, the person or company you choose will also be paying a visit to the property on a regular basis for frequent inspections.

Offshore Investing Checklist

  • Have reasonable goals related to the ROI or return on investment after expenses
  • Consider tax implications, both in the United States and Costa Rica
  • Decide on the home design you’re interested in
  • Decide on the use of the property: vacation, investment, residency, or maybe a combination of these
  • Choose how you want to acquire the property: through a corporation or personally
  • Research the legal aspects of ownership
  • Agree on a realistic timetable for delivering the property
  • The valid contract is the most recent one
    Read everything in full before signing
  • When buying Costa Rica land for sale, make sure the seller has paid all property
  • Determine that the person selling can legally dispose of the land for sale in Costa Rica
  • Check out for restrictions on transferability.
  • Check out for outstanding agreements (lease, rental) or prior real estate tax issues.
  • Verify which identification types you and/or your corporation need.
  • Verify agreement types, including preliminary agreements
  • Check for the necessary insurance (earthquake, flood, etc).
  • Determine the method of funding the transaction: How the cash will be brought into Costa Rica and how it can be applied to the purchase.
  • Determine the taxes involved
  • If you can’t stay in the country, figure out who you will be assigning power of attorney to.
  • Find a local to handle property management

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