Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
The Costa Rican Buying Process
Purchasing property in Costa Rica is very different from making a similar purchase in your home country. The laws of Costa Rica and its property registration process can be somewhat confusing to a foreigner. Your best bet is to work with a reputable Broker when looking for property. When you find a property, your Broker can help you negotiate the price and then assist you in the necessary due diligence which follows the Seller's acceptance of your offer.

When you decide to buy real estate in Costa Rica, an attorney is absolutely necessary to do the legal work for purchasing property. We at Arenal Lake Partners work with only a small, select group of trusted, seasoned real estate attorneys who will do a thorough search of all records before you make your purchase and make sure there are no encumbrances (gravámenes) on it. One of the biggest errors made by foreigners buying real estate is not properly researching the title for liens. Arenal Lake Partners and our attorneys will do this for you. We are highly experienced in researching the necessary information contained in the Registro Nacional of Costa Rica. This is where all legal transactions done in Costa Rica are recorded. If the property that you decide to purchase is held in a corporation (known in Costa Rica as a Sociedad Anonima or S.A.), we will also verify who the legal representatives of this corporation are, since they are the ones who have the power of attorney to make the sale.

If the property appears free and clear of encumbrances, your attorney can then proceed. At this point, your attorney will draft a transfer deed or "escritura" to move the ownership from Seller to Buyer. In Costa Rica, the Buyer and the Seller customarily share the closing costs, which normally run about 4-5% of the total purchase. A small real estate transfer tax of 1.5% of the actual value is included, a registration fee, stamps, and notary fees, which vary and depend on the price of the sale. Title insurance is optional but advisable.Arenal Lake Partners works with U.S.-based title companies and will assist you during the purchase process in securing your title insurance.

Buying and registering a property in a corporation has many advantages, the main one being asset protection in the event of a divorce or a lawsuit, which could result in you losing the property. When a corporation owns the property, the sale or purchase of the company can be negotiated, so you don't have to pay property taxes or stamp fees. All you have to do is change the Board of Directors, the legal representatives of the corporation and transfer the shares.
At Arenal Lake Partners, we firmly believe that each Buyer and each Seller should be represented by separate attorneys. This is not the law in Costa Rica, but it is part of our Code of Ethics.

If you can't live on your property year-round, then you will want to hire a guard, caretaker or a reliable housesitter to watch it for you. Arenal Lake Partners works with a reputable Property Management firm here at Lake Arenal called LAPM. LAPM is owned and managed by a couple from the United States who always "go the extra mile" for our clients. Arenal Lake Partners does not take a fee from LAPM nor from our clients who use LAPM. We are simply referring our clients to be sure that they receive the best care possible when they are not at their property in Costa Rica..

Real Estate Speculating / Investing
If you are interested in purchasing real estate for investment purposes, you will be pleased to know that the Costa Rican government welcomes your investment. If you choose to speculate in real estate, the Lake Arenal region is a prime area at this time because the land prices have not increased dramatically the way that they have at the beaches and in the Central Valley.
US Phone:(318) 239-9990 Costa Rica Phone: +506-2694-5000   
"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." - John Wooden, UCLA
Founded by a Broker previously licensed in Colorado and Washington