The Costa Rican government does not collect capital gains tax.
That depends on what you want.
If you find your dream property already built, chances are you can negotiate a great deal. However, purchasing your ideal land and building can also prove an amazing value, so it all depends on your preferences and needs.
Costa Rica’s Maritime Zone Law protects the first 200 meters of land stretching inland from the ocean.
If a potential property is located within 200 meters (about two blocks) of the beach, check public records for a municipal lease. Without a lease from the local municipality, any existing or future structures may be illegally located.
The luxury home tax is collected by the Finance Ministry and is not related to existing property tax.
The tax applies to anyone with homes valued at more than 106 million CRC (about $212,000 at the current exchange rate). The tax is based on a sliding scale and depends on the property value.
A home valued at $212,000 is taxed at .25% percent of the property value, and a $1.5 million dollar home is taxed at .40%.
In most cases, new construction runs $40-$100 per square foot ($430-$1,076 per square meter). Very simple construction starts around $30 per square foot ($315 per square meter), while luxury homes can climb to more than $200 per square foot ($2,152 per square meter).
A real estate agent can help you navigate the Costa Rican real estate market and the language barrier.
However, bear in mind that agents are not required to be licensed or pass a test, so anyone can legally advertise himself as a real estate agent.
We have both commercial and private properties for sale and lease; just let us know your preferences, price range and location and we will do our best to locate the right property for your lifestyle and budget.
Recommendations and references are extremely important in Costa Rica. Ask around, check with friends, and inquire on online forums and message boards for good recommendations. Your embassy may also be able to help.
Yes, there are zoning laws in Costa Rica, although the Central Valley (where the capital San José and its suburbs are) is the only area with prominent zoning.
There is no central MLS in Costa Rica.
Several websites advertise an MLS search, which is usually a collaboration between several real estate agents to list their properties in one location.
Costa Rica collects property taxes, though they are very low compared to taxes in the United States. Typically, properties are taxed at 0.1% of the property value.
Yes, caretakers are affordable – generally less than $500 per month plus lodging – and offer excellent protection for your property.
There are numerous Canadian and American builders and architects that work in Costa Rica and build homes using U.S. standards. Many have adapted their building methods to take advantage of local building materials and labor.
Bank financing is very complicated due to local laws and bureaucracy, and interest rates are high – usually around 10-12%. However, many sellers offer partial financing, usually with a down payment of 40-50%.
They are not common, but they are extremely useful. We highly recommend contracting an experienced home inspector, or at the very least a trusted contractor, to examine your potential purchase from top to bottom and provide a quote for necessary repairs.
This largely depends on the location, but most properties have electricity and water brought to the property boundary. It is the responsibility of the owner to connect those utilities on the property itself.
There are several ways to may apply for and obtain a temporary residency.
The most common are by claiming “pensioner” or “rentista” status. Individuals who apply for these types of residency permits must prove that they receive at least US$1,000 per month from a lifetime pension, in the first case, and US$2,500 per month (or a deposit of US$60,000 into a Costa Rican bank), in the latter.
A third way to establish legal residency is to invest in the country. You can be eligible for investor (“inversionista”) status by investing over US$200,000 in Costa Rican real estate.
All titled properties in Costa Rica are titled under a single, legal, government-managed system, known as the Costa Rican Public Registry. Property titles are registered in the Registry, whose records serve as ultimate proof of ownership. In addition to recording title, the Registry also indicates whether a given property has any liens, encumbrances or easements associated with it. Registry records are public and are accessible via the Internet.
In Costa Rica, foreigners may purchase fee simple title to property. The only exception to the rule is regarding the so-called Maritime Zone Regime, in which a Costa Rican citizen must always have a percentage ownership.