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How to buy a house in Costa Rica

Buying a house in Costa Rica

As with any major purchase, knowing what to expect when buying a home in Costa Rica will make the transaction more enjoyable and less stressful. If you want to make your dreams come true, Gap Real Estate can help you get started.


Location, Location, Location

Choosing a good neighborhood is crucial while searching for a home in Costa Rica. While its beaches and tropical woods attract tourists, the country also features busy towns and peaceful rural areas. When deciding where to settle down, it’s crucial to think about things like convenience to services and other people, closeness to public transit, and the general quality of life in the area.


Research and Due Diligence

Do your homework on the neighborhood, the house, and the seller before putting in an offer. The buyer should do their due diligence by investigating the local market and looking for any outstanding debts or liens against the property. Having a local real estate agent or lawyer on hand is also helpful.


Financing and Closing

Most property deals in Costa Rica are settled in cash. A mortgage through a local bank is available, but the application process may be more onerous than in your home country. It is essential to work with a trustworthy lender and to have all the required paperwork in place.


Legal and Tax Considerations

Real estate purchases in Costa Rica carry with them a number of legal and tax considerations. That means knowing the ins and outs of the property’s title and any associated taxes and fees. It’s also crucial that the land is in accordance with all building codes and zoning ordinances.


These are some common questions new buyers that come to Costa Rica frequently ask Gap Real Estate:


  1. Can a foreigner legally buy and own real estate in Costa Rica?

Regardless of residency status, everyone has the same rights as a citizen to buy and own property in Costa Rica. The only exception is that no one can own Maritime Zoned property (ZMT).

  1. What is Maritime Zoned Property?

Any land located within 50 meters of the high tide line is public and protected. The following 150 meters from this protected land is the Maritime Zone (ZMT). Land in the ZMT is a concession by the municipality (government), and a foreigner cannot have a concession.

Very little property within the ZMT is titled in Costa Rica, except “grandfathered” property, meaning they got in long ago before the laws changed.

  1. What restrictions and zoning do I need to look out for?

Costa Rica has zoning set restrictions to protect its beaches, lakes, rivers, and forests from new construction. Nature conservation comes first here. If you have water on your property, such as a river, lake, pond, or something similar, you won’t be able to build near it and risk anything in progress being shut down.

Therefore permits are of the utmost importance when looking to build new projects. Some permits can take years to finalize, so Gap Real Estate can ensure they come with your property purchase for you.

  1. Do I need to hire a real estate attorney?

It is strongly recommended and considered standard practice to use a trusted real estate attorney to purchase a property. Gap Real Estate works with a team of attorneys ready to assist you.

  1. Can I purchase my property through a Company?

You can privately purchase the company that owns the property you want or form a new corporation to transfer it to.



Buying a house in Costa Rica can be an excellent investment, but it’s important to understand the process and the factors involved. By researching the area, the specific property, and the seller, and by working with a local real estate agent or lawyer, you can ensure that your purchase goes smoothly and that you get the most out of your investment.


NOTE: Many tourists visit Costa Rica, fall in love with this beautiful country, and think of staying and making it their new home. If you are ready to make this life-changing decision, there are several residency categories to choose from. The most popular are Retirees, Renters, and Investors.
This means if you buy a property valued at $150,000 USD or more – congratulations – you already qualify to apply for the Investor category!


-Written by Glenn Tellier (Founder of Grupo Gap)

+506 8500-2085


If you have questions about obtaining your Residency status in Costa Rica, click HERE.


Contact Gap Real Estate HERE.


Need Residency in Costa Rica? – Click HERE.
Want to invest money? – Click HERE.
Need to borrow money? – Click HERE.
Ready for a Relocation Tour? – Click HERE.


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