Friday, July 6, 2012

Costa Rica Real Estate Law & Property Rights

Real Estate In Costa RicaThis holds true for both Costa Ricans and foreign investors, who benefit from similar property rights and privileges of the locals. The state, however, imposes a firm decree on the details of land ownership prior to the purchase of foreigners who are not permanent real estate of Costa Rica.

  • Land Ownership:

Costa Rican laws and the constitution guarantees private ownership of land. By law, foreigners have the same property rights as citizens. For foreigners, there are almost no restrictions to ownership of private land. However, there are government programs that sell or give land to Costa Rican citizens. After a time period, these lands can be freely traded or acquired by foreigners. You do not need to be a citizenship, residence, or live in the country to own property.

  • Clear Title Registration and Information:

Costa Rican law requires that all property documents with clear title must be registered in the property section of the Public Registry (Article 460 of the Civil Code). All property must contain a titled registration number, the Folio Real. The national database can be searched with this number or by name index.

This report, the informe registral, will provide all detailed information about the property. The information including the name of the titleholder, all boundary lines, tax appraisal, any liens, unpaid mortgages, recorded easements, and all other recorded instruments that would affect clear title for the property. To protect the buyer, Costa Rica follows the doctrine of first in time, first in right, all recorded instruments regarding land for sale presented to the Public Registry are given priority according to the date and time in which they are recorded. For the buyer, this means that any mortgages or liens, which are not recorded by the national registry at title transfer, are not valid. Since the certificate of title issued by the Public Registry is conclusive evidence for clear title on the date issued, any lean or instrument not recorded at the time the certificate is issued is invalid by Costa Rican Real Estate law. This means that there is no need for title insurance, because any instrument not in the report is deemed invalid. 

  • Registration Procedure for Title Transfers:

Costa Rica Real Estate Property RightsOne of the responsibilities of the legal counsel is to make sure that the property title is taken care of after settling all the bills. It is the obligation of the specific notary public who made the transfer to present and register the deed with the Public Registry’s Property Department. As the selling or buying party, it is imperative for you to ask for updates on your property’s title transfer. The office of the Public Registry does not recognize deed transfers with unsettled or pending registration and tax bills. Among the other needed documents is a certified copy to be obtained from the Finance Ministry office after providing certifications of the seller’s current payments on property taxes.

Supporting documents can be easily acquired from the local municipal office, where both parties are required to settle municipal tax requirements. As soon as the transfer is acknowledged for registration, the registry office will give back all original papers, complete with documentary stamps. Transfer papers must be registered with the office forty five to sixty days within its presentation.  

  • Property Closing Expenses for Land Title Transfers:

The sale of land includes spending on legal fees, such as transfer charges and stamp tax, to name a few. This aspect of the sale covers about three to six percent of the total cost of sale. Charges involved in the transfer are paid for by the buyer. The amount of transfer tax is based on the declared worth of the property as assessed by the realtor. Legal fees charged on the sales cost of the property also depends if the property in Costa Rica is held by a local corporation, or a multi-national group of investors. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Finding Certified Real Estate Broker in Costa Rica

Finding Certified Real Estate Broker In Costa Rica
The Costa Rica Chamber of Real Estate Brokers (CCCBR) is a self-regulating institution, founded in 1974, with a goal of providing consistency and integrity in those who conduct real estate brokerage services within Costa Rica.  The Costa Rica Chamber of Real Estate Brokers, while not under national regulation, adheres to a strong ethics code and actively advocated for the requirement for all brokers to obtain a real estate license.  Costa Rican law does not require that a real estate broker have any certification so it is important to incorporate your own good judgment when selecting the criteria that you find to be vital in deciding whether a potential broker is qualified to represent you in the buying process. Membership in this group does not guarantee the knowledge and expertise that you may deem requisite for an individual to represent you in a real estate transaction.

It is not mandatory to have broker representation when buying Costa Rican real estate.  If you are well versed in Costa Rican property law, assessing property value, and speak fluent Spanish, it is possible to go it on your own.  However, a good broker with experience, a track record of satisfied clients and knowledge of the area can always help.

Sales commissions of 5% to 11% are paid by the seller so it is important to recognize that their loyalty may not be with you.  How do you tell if someone is going to do a good job advocating for you?  Many North Americans find asking prices that are way too high and brokers that are not as professional as they should be.  Some of the larger real estate franchises have moved into Costa Rica and bring a big and familiar name.  Franchises charge up to $30,000 for membership, annual dues of up to $500, a brokerage service fee of 2% per successfully closed real estate transaction, corporate overhead and advertising fees and regional advertising fees.  All of these costs must be recouped and the burden is placed on their buyers.  There is no legitimate affiliation between owners of the franchises and you can easily find one who is unethical and under-handed in their dealings.

So if you cannot rely on certification or big named companies where do you go?  The answer is to use some of these perimeters like certification with the CCCBR, but most importantly incorporate your best judgment.

Judging experience, integrity and area knowledge?
·         Does your broker have formal real estate training?
·         How long have they been in the business?  In Costa Rica Real Estate?
·         Can they introduce you to satisfied clients from the past?
·         Are they Costa Rican or are they legal residents of the country?
·         Are they fluent in Spanish and in English?

Real Estate Broker In Costa RicaJudging professionalism

·         Are their listings current?
·         Are they a full time broker?
·         Are they timely and accurate with appointments and contact with you?
·         Do they seem to constantly sell real estate?
·         Are they helping you understand the entire process? (prices, location, contracts, financing, terms, transfer fees and legal process)
·         A good broker should give you a free registered survey map of a property of interest with a unique registration number..
·         Are they asking the right questions to help you find what you are looking for and showing you Costa Rica properties that match your requests?

In summary it is important for you, a prospective real estate buyer, to not only look at certification from outside organizations, but also use your own judgment in the certification process.  A CostaRica real estate purchase is a very personal thing.  The most important criteria is your confidence that a broker will do their best for you!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Why Properties in Costa Rica?

The acquisition of real estate is one of the most significant investments a person makes during his or her lifetime. It can also be one of the most stressful. In foreign countries such as Costa Rica, the normal stress of the purchasing process can be compounded with other risk factors, such as language barriers and unfamiliarity with local laws and procedures. That said, foreigners can and do legally and successfully purchase property in Costa Rica. In fact, Costa Rica offers potential buyers many types of real estate products including houses, condominiums, time-shares, farms, finished lots and beachfront property. 

Dominical real estate, Puntarenas - Costa Rica Real Estate :

Dominical real estateDominical has an easy going atmosphere, with a large community of foreigners. There is a great choice of accommodations to suit every purse and style, some young surfers sometimes just like to set camp on the beach and to sleep under the stars. The food is really good and those who like fish and sea food will be in heaven; there is a large array of restaurants and sodas serving fresh fish, lobster and crab everywhere in the area.
The beauty of the area, the diverse community, the property prices and convenient infrastructure has transformed it into a tourism paradise and a thriving hub for active travelers and nature lovers. The diverse wealth of activities, ranging from bird-watching, whale watching, horseback tours, swimming and movie nights to ultralight flights, sport fishing and live Community Theater. Through infrastructure improvements and thoughtful management this area has matured into a hotspot for luxury real estate. Evenly paced and holistically minded, the Costa Rica real estate market here achieves an exemplary balance of nature and convenience; those are the reasons why all the owners and associates of our office have personally invested in Dominical real estate.

Uvita Real Estate - Costa Rica Real Estate :

Uvita Real EstateThe Uvitareal estate market has witnessed a steady pulse – with interest increasing yearly here, more and more people are discovering the beauty of Uvita Costa Rica.

The Uvita real estate market is trending in a different direction aside from the norm in Costa Rica real estate. Here we are seeing more properties being segregated and sold off with the help of an existing model home or some sort of structure at all.

Ojochal Real Estate - Costa Rica Real Estate:

Ojochal Real EstateThe Southern Pacific currently offers some of the best real estate investment opportunities in Costa Rica. Boasting one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world this area is characterized by rich green foothills, white sandy beaches and clear pacific waters. This is where the mountains meet the sea, where dolphins play amongst the waves and where humped backed whales and turtles come to visit throughout the year.
Like many towns in the South Pacific, Ojochal real estate is expanding but local residents are eager to keep this to a minimum. Ojochal has a real sense of community and this is what makes it so special. Families moving to this area can be sure they will be welcomed with open arms.