The pros and the cons of buying a condominium in Costa Rica
IVO HENFLING | OCTOBER 3, 2015
If you buy a condominium in Costa Rica for sale, will you be able to adapt to a different lifestyle than what you have been used to your whole life?
If you have lived your whole life in a single family home, is it going to be easy for you to live in a condominium or a townhouse in a gated community?
The older home owner generations have never lived in a condominium in Costa Rica and have never had to follow rules that might or might not make them happy, but it is necessary to constitute bylaws so neighbors are able to live in harmony.
Many have raised a family in that single family or custom built home, that had all the specifics to match their lifestyle but once they retire, they look into other options. Younger generations are looking for a different lifestyle and better security, amenities and less maintenance are a few reasons to have a hard look into buying a condo.
Do you think are you ready to purchase a condo or a home in a gated community? Is condo living for you? Let me help you take the right decision by giving you some of the pros and the cons of buying a condominium in Costa Rica for sale.
• Less investment. You have full property rights to a smaller piece of real estate: the interior of your unit in case of an apartment or townhouse and the size of the land in case of a gated community.
• Taxes. You share ownership of exterior and common areas so you pay less property tax.
What are the pros of buying a condominium in Costa Rica?
• Location, location, location. An apartment or a townhouse may be more affordable in higher priced markets, especially in central locations.
• Amenities. The condominium or gated community may include amenities, such as a fitness center, swimming pool, playground, clubhouse and guards.
• Bad neighbors. Neighbor disputes are taken before the Home Owner Association (HOA) board.
• Maintenance. Your HOA fees cover most maintenance costs and insurance, cutting the grass, cleaning the pool, buying a new treadmill and replacement of the water treatment plant and except interior maintenance of your unit.
• Repairs. A larger HOA usually has a maintenance employee available for any necessary repairs.
• Pay, like it or not. You pay monthly HOA (homeowners association) dues. You will have to contribute to assessments for major maintenance or renovations.
• Bylaws. You may find bylaws or condominium rules and regulations restrictive. If you have pets, check the bylaws on pet regulations before you purchase.
What are the cons of buying a condominium in Costa Rica?
• HOA meetings. Ownership responsibilities of condos are sometimes legally and financially complex.
• Lack of privacy. You are bound to share common areas with people you do not like or behave different than you and your family does and usually the homes in a condominium or gated community are very close to each other, if not attached.
• Mortgage restrictions. Some lenders have restrictions on making loans for a condominium (if they’re set up as a Coop).
• A re-sale condo, apartment or a townhouse is more sensitive to market trends than a single-family home.
• Living by the rules. You might be surrounded by tenants who do not live by the HOA rules and it is sometimes difficult to oblige a tenant to live by the regulations.
• Delinquency. If due to divorces or other financial problems your co-owners cannot make HOA fee payments, the cost will have to be carried by the rest until foreclosure, which might take years.
• During HOA meetings, usually very few home owners show up and you might not agree with propositions from a majority of votes.
• Bad finances. Financial control over condo administration is usually very poor and high salary of administrator can make HOA fees unaffordable.
• Headaches. Unfortunately, when buyers purchase a condo or a property in a gated community, they generally do not realize there are many more details involved in condo ownership that they think.
• Noise. Many condominiums have no internal ceiling heights and floor slab levels with height requirement to stop neighbor’s noise.
• Storage. Many condominiums have no storage areas except for the bedroom closets.
• Change in Home Owner Association (HOA fees). HOA fees are low while developer is in control but once the HOA takes over the administration, usually condo fees go up a lot and they change at least once a year.
Every condo re-sale our office experiences, new issues come up and I will try to write about those experiences like this long list of concerns you should cover before buying a Condominium in Costa Rica for sale. If you are looking to purchase a Costa Rica condo, townhouse or home in gated community and take advantage of our experiences that will enable you to make a smooth purchase, contact us now.
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I DO want to remind our readers that we appreciate any referrals you can send our way. We love referrals and we appreciate them. Please remember the GoDutch Realty agents when you talk about your home in Costa Rica, when you meet someone who wants to purchase one, thank you!