Costa Rica Property Buying Process

Buying property in a foreign country can seem daunting.  There are questions of trust, language, laws, customs and much more.  How do you know who to trust and how do you navigate the process? Costa Rica does not license real estate agents/brokers, however instead it is important to choose an experienced agent who is:

  • Registered with SUGEF –The Costa Rican financial regulator, and required for all legally-operating agents
  • Member of National Association of Realtors (NAR) – Members of CRGAR and CCCBR are affiliated with the NAR and are required to abide by the ethical rules of the association. Also provides them full access to MLS
  • Affiliation with an Internationally-recognized brand such as RE/MAX – RE/MAX We Sell Paradise is affiliated with the RE/MAX brand you already know. RE/MAX agents adhere to strict ethical & training rules

We represent and can help both buyers and sellers navigate the process and help you get a great property at a fair price while protecting your interests.

This is a summary of the process.  To get a more detailed format, contact me at [email protected] and I can give you a deeper explanation of the players and steps involved.

Purchase Process Summary

Remember that no two transactions are exactly alike.  Variations are common, but this is a short summary

  1. Find an agent – Ask around and choose and agent with a good reputation from a brand you can trust such at RE/MAX – We Sell Paradise. Contact us at or [email protected] .
  2. Search for a property – There is no complete MLS in this area. Start with and contact me at [email protected] for regular updates.
  3. View properties – Because many properties are occupied by the owners or renters, 24-hours notice is often required. Planning ahead can ensure you see all the properties available.
  4. Letter of Intent – Once you find the property you want to purchase, I will provide you a letter of intent (LOI) with your offer terms (price, closing date, more) for you to sign. The signed LOI is your “offer”.  10% deposit is typical.
  5. Counter offer/acceptance/rejection – The seller can choose to counter offer, accept, or reject your offer.
  6. Sales and Purchase Agreement – Assuming the offer is accepted, the buyer’s attorney will draft a Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) outlining the terms of the agreement including selling price, deposit, closing date, etc. This is “the contract” and will guide the process moving forward.
  7. Deposit and Escrow – The buyer, based on the terms of the SPA, will wire deposit funds to the escrow company.
  8. Buyer’s Due Diligence – The buyer generally has 30-45 days (based on SPA) to perform due diligence. We will help you coordinate the professionals required to perform inspections, surveys, title search, etc.
  9. Closing – Assuming all conditions are met, you transfer the remaining funds to the escrow company to pay for the property, the escrow company pays everyone, and you gain access to your new property

Now enjoy your property, you earned it.  And don’t forget to invite your agent to the housewarming party!

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