Yes, absolutely foreigners are very welcome to purchase property in Costa Rica! They have the same rights as Costa Ricans. Private titled property is protected by the Constitution of Costa Rica. It is no different than owning real estate in United States or Europe. Costa Rica is a beautiful country to live in and invest or to retire.
There are no restrictions that apply to foreigners when purchasing titled property here. You do not require a Costa Rican partner. Maritime beach front property however, is different and you can read about that on our Maritime page.
You can acquire property under your personal name, however it is more common and recommended to acquire the property through a corporation in order to separate potential personal liabilities, facilitate the closing procedure, and allow for easier transfer to relatives in case of casualty. Having a Costa Rican corporation (holding company) also makes it easier to obtain services such as electricity, cell phones, as well as opening a bank account.
Your attorney can assist you in setting up a new corporation or you can simply use the existing corporation owned by the seller, which will be transferred to you at closing.
First, of course, we hope you use a reputable agent such as Latitude 8 Realty. When you have chosen your property, your agent will submit an offer ( letter of intent ) to the seller in order to agree upon the purchase price and basic terms of the deal.
Second; once the offer is accepted, you will hire a Costa Rican attorney of your choice or use the seller's existing attorney. It is usually most cost effective to use the same attorney. The attorney will then draft the formal Sale and Purchase agreement. This is a legal binding document and will clearly state all conditions of the transfer deed.
There is then a period we call due diligence when the property is completely researched to insure there are no liens, legal issues, or problems, and that the property is indeed as represented by the seller. Surveys, soil samples, and home inspections are done at this time as needed.
Then the wonderful day of closing arrives when your attorney will register the property and if an existing corporation is being used, the shares of the of the company are transferred to you at this time. The attorney, who is also a notary public, will then change the name in Costa Rican Nacional Registry.
Finally, you or your agent will declare the property to the Municipality of the area you have purchased, file various forms, and fill out documents for tax purposes. Finish with a celebration with your agent, and welcome to Costa Rica!