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How to select a Costa Rica real estate closing attorney

How to select a Costa Rica real estate closing attorneyIsn’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).

Notary public

A Costa Rica real estate closing attorney also needs to be a notary public to be able to register the purchase – sale deed.

To become a notary public in Costa Rica every “Notario Publico” MUST be an attorney first. After additional training, an attorney can become a notary public, if the professional completes certain requirements.

How to select a Costa Rica real estate closing attorney
Will you need escrow for your real estate closing?

How many lawyers specialize in real estate?

Who knows, probably Google does, but I can’t find the information anywhere. Google, when you do a search for “Costa Rica real estate closing attorney” will first show you a few lawyers who advertise their business in Google AdWords. If that office comes up as being specialized in real estate, it’s probably worth it to check them out.

Following the Google AdWords, you will find quite a few articles about real estate lawyers, such as my own. After that, you get almost 5 million results, minus 10. It might take you a while to wade through the offers, which is why I wrote this blog.

Who should you look for?

Let’s make it easy for you to find a Costa Rica real estate closing attorney who will do the job for you without getting into trouble.

Notary Public

We already went through this by explaining what a notary public is. If the lawyer you find is not a notary public, you are wasting your time.


I always say that you want three people in your new life in Costa Rica to be fully bilingual. Those are your doctor, your lawyer and your real estate agent. Don’t hire an attorney who you cannot communicate with.

A real estate specialist

Why would you ask a dentist to have a look at your heart? Your dentist is also a doctor, but is it the right specialist? I’m amazed how many Costa Rica real estate buyers use a Costa Rica real estate closing attorney who does not specialize in real estate.

Costa Rica real estate closing attorney
You don’t speak Spanish?


You want your earnest money in a safe place. Use an attorney who has an escrow account or uses an escrow company. Too many closing attorneys in Costa Rica hold the earnest money check or put the money in their personal bank account.

Other services

There are certain additional services that you will need but that nobody thinks you will. For example, if you are a foreign resident, a will or testament should be a standard service offered at or immediately after closing.


Ask around on the online forums, check references. I’m sure your real estate agent can give you a list of recommended Costa Rica real estate closing attorneys.

The idea of this article is to make you realize that your choice of the right Costa Rica real estate closing attorney is one of the most important decisions you will be taking when you move to Costa Rica.

For more information on Costa Rica real estate closings, contact your GoDutch Realty agent.

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I DO want to remind our readers that we appreciate any referrals you can send us. Please remember the GoDutch Realty agents when you talk about your home in Costa Rica, we appreciate it.

We Love your Referrals at GoDutch Realty

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Ivo Henfling

If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the central Valley, or looking for any property for sale in Escazu, you need to call me. I have been selling real estate in Escazu for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and other areas. To me, a deal is not a good deal unless both buyer and seller are happy.

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