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Today’s Home Buying Process: The United States vs Costa Rica

New buyers who call or drop in to our offices are wondering about how the buying process in Costa Rica differs compared to their home nation. Questions about the buying process are some of the first and most important requests for information from new potential buyers of Costa Rican real estate, and we are more than happy to answer them every time.

If you are only just beginning to think about buying property in Costa Rica, here is a basic rundown of the real estate process in Costa Rica, and how it compares to the North American standard as an example.

In North America, the traditional process goes as such:

  1. Choose an agent to represent you.
  2. Consult with a lender for pre-approval and lock in your rate.
  3. View properties online and at open houses, while your agent previews and looks for homes not yet on the market or coming soon.
  4. Identify your ideal home and then begin negotiations.
  5. Do due diligence, meet all guidelines and time frames and close on the property.
  6. You get to move into your new home.

So how does this process differ in Costa Rica? Nothing is the simplest answer, but let’s take it step by step so that you can better understand the nuances of the real estate market in Costa Rica.

Choosing an agent

Agents in Costa Rica don’t need to be licensed to sell you property. They don’t need to live here, they don’t need to know about the area, and they hold much of the control over your purchase since the laws, language and customs are largely unfamiliar to the casual buyer. In the Southern Zone of Costa Rica’s pacific coast, we have established a tight community of realtors that provides the checks and balances that Costa Rica’s real estate needs.

At Osa Tropical Properties, we only work with a small number of great clients at a time to ensure the personal attention that you deserve, and we will contact the best agents in the region for all the hot deals and coming soon listings that they manage. Bottom line is that we will find your ideal property with professional and personal integrity.

Financing your purchase

All over the world, realtors prefer to work with cash buyers. In Costa Rica, it is pretty much a necessity. Although it is possible to obtain Costa Rican bank financing and the qualifying requirements for foreigners are similar to North American banks, the long wait times and high interest rates (generally 10%) rule this possibility out for most buyers. Seller financing is sometimes offered with the expectation of a 50% down-payment and short terms of generally two years, allowing for buyers to allocate the necessary funds with the sale of their home property.

If you are wielding cash or have available financing and ready to buy, the Southern Zone is currently in a buyer’s market and the communities in the area as well as the unspeakable beauty of the region make the purchase of property a great investment for your portfolio, as well as your lifestyle!

Searching for properties

Costa Rica does not have an MLS equivalent system to look for properties, so buyers in Costa Rica rely heavily on realtor websites that are specific to the regions they are searching. Although anyone can peak around our website or any of the others representing this region, if you are serious about considering the Southern Zone, get in touch with our local office with details about your preferences and we will scour all of the listings in your areas of choice and select the best matches, regardless of representation. Our aim is to help you find the perfect property for you.

We do daily and weekly previewing of houses for sale on your behalf, even before we hear from you! We essentially do our best to stay on top of our real estate game in this region that we love to represent, using marketing campaigns to find “off-market” homes and we will only show you the properties that match what you want, not necessarily what the best deal is for us.

Selecting your ideal purchase and closing the sale

Once you have found the place that you know is right for you, you want your agent to negotiate aggressively on your behalf. Our team has the experience you want when buying in the Southern Zone. The extended team that we have built include top-notch lawyers, surveyors, construction experts, architects, builders– and we have great working professional relationships with all of the necessary ministries.

Basically, we’ve done this all before many times and know all of the points of due diligence that need to be covered, all of which we will readily share with you before you even begin your search. Our objective is to inform and equip you with all of the ins-and-outs that will make your purchasing experience a smooth transaction and close. Buying a home can be stressful; our job is to remove much of that stress from your home buying process.

Moving in

Where many agents might cut and run after the sale closes, we are more than happy and willing to help our new neighbors make a smooth transition into their new property. We’ve done it for most of our clients in the past and we see it as a professional courtesy as well as a civic duty to make sure that everyone in our communities are informed about what to expect from daily life in the Southern Zone. Our extensive list of contacts will more than help you get started– we want to get you from start to settled as effortlessly as we can make it for our buyers.

Call us today if you are considering starting a new chapter of your life. Diversifying your portfolio is both easy and profitable with properties in Costa Rica’s Southern Zone. Our agents are ready to answer your questions today. Visit our website now to give your dreams the wings to fly.


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