Costa Rica Property Buyer & Seller Tips

How to select a Costa Rica real estate closing attorney

How to select a Costa Rica real estate closing attorney

Isn’t the internet a marvel? You are looking for a Costa Rica real estate closing attorney and you just go to Google and type “Costa Rica real estate closing attorney”. This is what you get:  just short of 5 million results.

That’s worse than trying to find your wife in a full football stadium on a Super bowl and not knowing her seat number, right?  

In Costa Rica, lawyers are obliged to be a member of a bar association, or “Colegio de Abogados”. The Costa Rican bar does not publicly say how many members they have. The La Nación newspaper published an article in 2015 where they state that there are approximately 22,500 lawyers in Costa Rica. 1,300 More lawyers graduate each year. 

This same article states that in the period from November 2014 to April 2015, the College applied the test to 1,126 graduates in Law and only 338 passed the evaluation with more than 80 (minimum grade of the exam). 

Use a self-directed IRA to buy a vacation rental long before retirement

Use a self-directed IRA to buy a vacation rental long before retirement You might not be able to retire for another few years. For sure you have the picture of your dream retirement home tucked away in a corner of your mind. Maybe it looks pretty much like the home in this photo? Did you know you use a self-directed IRA to buy a vacation rental? 

Retirement is years away, maybe even decades. You might not realize you can buy your retirement home in Costa Rica when you’re 25 years from retiring. As long as you have enough money saved up, you can buy a vacation rental with a self-directed IRA, long before retirement. 

Now you can get your foot in the door ahead, without even using your savings. There is a tremendous shortage of vacation rentals in certain markets of the Central Valley in Costa Rica. By making a smart investment you can put your self-directed IRA saving to work with ease.  

If you have a self-directed IRA, you can use that to purchase a vacation rental in Costa Rica.  Let me explain.

How to purchase property in Costa Rica on remote control

How to purchase property in Costa Rica on remote control

Maybe one day it will be necessary for you to purchase property in Costa Rica on remote control.  One good reason is that the wire from your bank, to pay for the property, needs to be in person.

Most banks will not allow you to just put in a phone call or send an email to send the wire. 

Another good reason is that you will want to pack your personal belongings and send them to your new home country. Therefore, it is very well possible that you won’t be in Costa Rica for the real estate closing.

Even if you had expected to purchase property before traveling to Costa Rica, you probably did not know the necessary steps of such a decision. So you think you’re in a limbo, but you’re not. 

Maybe you didn’t know, but it’s not absolutely necessary for you to be in Costa Rica to close on your property. Of course we prefer you’ve seen the property in Costa Rica before you decide to purchase. To my opinion, purchasing a property in another country sight unseen is outright irresponsible. Once you have seen the property, you need to make an offer and go through the purchase process if the offer is accepted by the seller. Are you going to wait in your hotel to go through this process or will your life go on as usual meanwhile?

5 Magic tips for a normal life while selling your house

5 Tips to have a normal life while selling your housePlanning on selling your house or you already have it for sale? I bet you already know that selling a house in Costa Rica can take a while. Some don’t realize that the time that it takes, is really up to the seller. Pricing is usually the reason that a house sells quickly, or not!

As important as the price is the way the house shows. Most homes we show are just a mess, all the time. Buyers see the mess, not the details that could attract them enough to buy the house.

I assume you have already read some of my past articles. In those, I told you about the helpful home owner and my yellow card system. If you have any pets, I’d recommend you get up to date on that too.

If you are selling your house through an open listing, the agent will not come over to tidy up the house to show it. Even though most agents will call ahead to make a showing appointment, you might not have a lot of time to tidy up. I know, it’s a total hassle, but you want to sell, right? So you and your family will need to put in some effort too and cooperate in getting it sold.

And I assume you’d like your life to go on as normal as possible in the process. For that simple reason, I’d like to give you these 5 Tips for a normal life while selling your house:

7 Costa Rica Real Estate Contract Killers You Should Know About

7 Costa Rica Real Estate Contract Killers You Should Know About

You think that as soon as the real estate contract is signed, you can take the day off and celebrate?

I’m sorry but unless you have the perfect real estate contract and everything else falls in place, you will not be able to celebrate until after closing.

I know quite a few real estate agents who, as soon as the real estate contract is signed start booking their family vacation or even purchase a new car. I have seen sellers go crazy spending their savings in their celebration that their house was sold. Well, don’t do that YET. 

A signed offer is not a legal commitment. Our agents use a written offer so there won’t be any disagreements later on. 

The buyer’s attorney uses that written offer to write up the formal real estate contract, which we call option to purchase – sale agreement. Others in Costa Rica call it a buy – sell agreement, a property purchase agreement or sometimes a promise to purchase. 

10 steps on how to buy a building lot in Costa Rica

How to buy building lot in Costa Rica in 10 stepsNot necessarily do you need to have an eccentric taste to prefer buying a building lot for your future custom house in Costa Rica. Even the budget for your future house should not matter.

There are quite some reasons you might want to purchase a home lot in Costa Rica. Some buyers have their ideas well organized and know what they want (or they think they do), others don't have a clue until they walk into the right house.

A few of the reasons to buy a building lot in Costa Rica usually are:

•    You are not ready to move to Costa Rica yet, but you're looking to get a foot in the door for a future move or retirement.

•    You have some money set aside and want to invest this money. Instead of investing it your local real estate market, the stock market or just handing it over to your banker, you're looking for something more promising and exotic. 

•    You want to custom build your custom home to very detailed specifications to suit your own needs.

Before you start looking to buy a building lot in Costa Rica, first find out where exactly you would like to live. That of course, depends on your specific needs and lifestyle, such as beach, mountains, rural area, city, golf courses, hospitals and other amenities that are important to you.

Will property in Costa Rica sell faster on an exclusive listing agreement?

Will property in Costa Rica sell faster on an exclusive listing agreement?

Unless you love to suffer, do not sign an exclusive listing agreement for your property in Costa Rica with any real estate agency, no matter how sexy, famous, smooth, handsome or successful the agent who promises to sell your property next week is.

Why would you put all your eggs in one basket and sign up with only one agency? Will your property sell faster if you sign an exclusive listing agreement with one agency or not and what are your options?

As you probably already know, anybody can be a real estate agent in Costa Rica, some are trained and others are not. Real estate in Costa Rica is not regulated and there is no formally functioning Multiple Real Estate Service (MLS) that covers all the property listings in Costa Rica by real estate professionals, as is customary in other countries like the USA.

Are appliances included in your Costa Rica home purchase or rental?

Are appliances included in your Costa Rica home purchase or rental?Darling, I love that luxury condo in Escazu; I just sent you the link so you can have a look at the photos. I already sent an email to the realtor if that 36” Sub-Zero side-by-side built in is included in the sale of the condo.  

And you should see the rest of the appliances in the kitchen; imagine they include the GE Profile Stainless Steel Fridge and freezer, GE Warming drawer, built in GE Profile Double Ovens, Gas 6 burner Viking range, 15,000 BTUS per burner and Dishwasher. 

Its wow! I’d buy that place in a heartbeat if it’s true they really include all the appliances in the sale of the condo. 

When you look for Costa Rica home for sale online, it’s usually not very clear if the appliances are included in the sale or not. A smart real estate agent would probably remember to mention it in the description of the home or condo, especially if the appliances are top of the line.

5 common objections to a realistic Costa Rican property listing price

5 common objections to a realistic Costa Rican property listing price Listing a Costa Rican property for sale can be a lot more difficult than you think, especially if you are a motivated seller. My article for the Tico Times last December “8 reasons why your property in Costa Rica has not sold in 7 years” has generated a lot of emails and call from sellers who have been trying to sell their property for a while and have not been successful. 

A realistic Costa Rican property listing price is a variety of factors and you need all the necessary information of those factors to be able to make an educated decision. 

Many sellers of Costa Rican property think we still live in the 2006 - 2008 real estate boom. Of course we all want to make a profit on the real estate investment we made. But if you have purchased your property at the top of the market, you cannot expect to walk away with a profit if you want to sell while the market builds up again. 

The behavior of a real estate market is more or less the same everywhere in the world. One of the most important rules in real estate is “buy low to sell high”. Investopedia explains it very well in this article, if you’re interested in diving a bit deeper into this interesting topic.

Selling your house in Costa Rica showing collectibles or war trophies

Selling your house in Costa Rica or collectibles and war trophiesLast week, I received a surprising call from a seller who I had not seen or heard from in over 20 years. The seller wanted me to give them an idea of what their house in Escazu can sell for.

The house is quite beautiful, well-built, well designed and very well maintained. There was one little problem: there are collectibles all over the house. There are collectibles in the hallway, in the living room, the kitchen, and all the bedrooms and there are even collectibles all over the master bathroom. You can hardly walk anywhere without crashing into a collectible.

This reminded me of a house for sale that my partner in the spice business we owned was planning to buy. I was not even a real estate agent then, so it’s been a few years now. It was owned by a gay couple and there were phalluses all over the living room, of all sizes, some even taller than I am.

I thought it was crazy the realtor didn’t tell the sellers to put them away because some buyers (actually most buyers) might be quite shocked when they walk into this surreal landscape, and not buy the house.