Five Things you should know about buying luxury property in Costa Rica

When foreigners come to buy luxury homes in Costa Rica they usually have in mind a very different perspective of what the local market is all about.  Buying luxury real estate in Costa Rica can be different from any other experience you have had before when buying property in your home country.  In the task of getting adjusted to the local culture and the diverse changes that come with living abroad, they might lose sight on what the property hunting trip is all about.  There is always the risk that they will end up with a long list of unanswered questions and they will go back home without been able to complete their task, and a huge question mark on their face.  

If you are planning to buy luxury real estate and million dollar homes in Costa Rica you should at least keep in mind the following five premises:

  1. Contact a luxury real estate professional to represent your needs.  In preparation for your visit get in contact with an experienced luxury real estate professional with a proven track record of completed sales in the high end market, someone with knowledge of local regulations, a luxury real estate expert with enough experience in the local luxury home market to answer your questions or guide you in the right direction.  This professional must be able to keep good working relations with other local realtors, because in order to have access to what the market offers, the realtor who represents you must be willing to search into the databases of multiple luxury real estate companies in Costa Rica, due to the lack of an standard MLS system.  Keep in mind that the commission to the realtor is paid by the seller.
  2. Get top class legal advice.  You are in a new country.  Hire the best attorney.  You must schedule one or more appointments with a highly reputable law firm to represent your needs.  During your property tour many legal questions will arise and you need to have the legal assistance of a local attorney, because transferring property in Costa Rica must be done by an active registered attorney in the Colegio de Abogados de Costa Rica.   The attorney should have wide experience in high end transactions, taxes, real estate contracts and immigration matters, so that his office can also guide through the process of getting your property registered in your name and all matters related to your Residency papers in Costa Rica.  Ask your luxury real estate broker to recommend three top attorneys so that you can narrow your search for the best legal representation.  
  3. Location should be on top of your criteria list.  Buying luxury real estate in Costa Rica in the wrong location will mean that you will have a very hard time selling whenever you need to sell.  On the other hand, the luxury real estate market in Costa Rica is very slow and getting a property sold might become a titanic task if the property is not located in the cities with more demand.  If you plan to buy luxury real estate in Costa Rica as an investment, it is important that you buy property in a location with high demand.  If you are planning to buy property in the Central Valley of Costa Rica the locations with more demand are Escazu and Santa Ana and in these cities the gated communities with more demand are Eco Residencial Villa RealCerro AltoParque Valle del SolBosques de LindoraLa Hacienda, and Hacienda del Sol.  
  4. Branding your home.  It is very important that the architectural, construction and engineering firms behind the home you select are reputable, highly recognized and with a proven track record of experience in high end projects.  This will add value to your investment when it comes to selling your home, you will be able to offer a branded product, and this will give your property an important advantage in the marketing of the home.  A property backed up by the names of reputable interior designers, landscape architects, architects and engineers, will bring credibility and trust along the process of selling your home.  
  5. Be patient, do your homework and be represented only by the best brokerage firm.  Lastly but not less important, add a large doses or patience to the process.  Don’t come unprepared.  Take time to understand the market, the different locations, the local regulations, etc.   Choose the best brokerage firm to assist you along the process.  Your realtor will become your right hand along the process.  Ask the questions and expect the right answers.  Don’t be content with less than what you would expect from a luxury real expert in your own country.  An experienced luxury real estate professional will become an asset during your property search.  The educational process will be an important part of the bonding that will come out of the relationship between you and the luxury real estate broker that you choose to represent you along the way.  

Written by Yalile Alpizar – Broker/Owner  of and, the top luxury real estate boutique brokerage firms of Costa Rica, offering credibility, leadership and expertise in the high market of Costa Rica since 1990.  

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