Coldwell Banker Tamarindo FAQ
People from all over the world are drawn to Costa Rica based on its unmatched beauty, high standard of living and the friendly locals, known as Ticos. Costa Rica, well known for the premium that it places on environmental protection, education, health and democracy has lead to it being one of the happiest and healthiest countries in the world: • In 2009, Costa Rica was ranked the happiest country in the world, based on indicators such as education, lifespan and environment. • Costa Rica has quickly become a top destination for medical tourism, treating patients from developing countries seeking excellent dental and medical care. • In 1949 the government abolished the army, allocating all would be military expenses to education and health care. As a direct result, the literacy rate rose to 95% and still continues to be one of the highest rates in the Americas. • A leader in environmental protection, National Parks and Reserves cover 25.6% of its land area. In fact, The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) made the announcement in March 2015 that it hit 75 days using only renewable power sources — a record for any country. • In recent years, its government has announced plans to be carbon neutral by 2021 and become the first developed country in Latin America.
That depends on you. We recommend you take your time, hire a car and drive around the country. Lake Arenal, the Central Valley and Tamarindo make you feel like you are in 3 totally different countries. There is a wild diversity of fauna and flora and the weather and seasons vary enormously across the country. The Pacific Northwest (Guanacaste area) is dry with low humidity, only 2 months rainy season per year. The South (Jaco-Dominical-Osa Peninsula) is dominated by rainforest and has perhaps 3-4 times more annual rainfall and higher humidity.
The Costa Rican real estate market is unregulated. Everyone from your taxi driver, bell boy, tour operator to your waiter will have a cousin selling a great piece of land. Beware, these are rarely bargains. We highly recommend using a licensed realtor or broker from a recognized international Real Estate brand. A seasoned Realtor with a track record in Costa Rica will be able to highlight true values and help you find that property you have been dreaming about.
The general custom is for the Buyer and Seller to equally share in the closing costs, but this can be a point of negotiation. Closing costs are as follows (these %’s vary slightly depending on the deal size): - 1.25% for the notary to register the property in the National Property and perform closing duties which generally include the due diligence tasks - 2.4% in government stamps/fees - Escrow fees commonly apply if you're going to use a third-party escrow company, which is recommended. Generally the cost is around $500 and is paid by the buyer.
Escrow is a process that allows a potential buyer to place an amount of money in the secure hands of a neutral third party for a set amount of time. In so doing, the buyer demonstrates to the seller the intent and capacity to make payment on the property. The escrow agreement establishes conditions (proof of title, etc.) for transfer of the money, and only when those conditions are met does the escrow agent distribute the money to the seller.
Property taxes in Costa Rica are significantly lower than those in North America and Europe. They are 0.25% of the declared value of the home, so for every $100,000 property value, the owner pays $250 per YEAR. In addition there is a luxury tax on higher value properties, but this is modest also by international standards.
Getting bank financing in Costa Rica is a difficult and expensive undertaking. The bank interest rate is between 8.5% and 12% for a standard mortgage. Most real estate transactions are cash deals and in rare circumstances financed by the Seller. They are generally short-term with high down payments (expect to put at least 50% down). Oftentimes, the Buyer can get a better rate and faster approval using a first or second mortgage on a property they own in their home country. That cash can then be used for buying property in Costa Rica.
It is important to find a good attorney to take the necessary steps in order to properly register the property and confirm that the property is free of liens before purchase. A title search at the Registry confirms a clean title and proper ownership. The Public Registry report provides detailed information on the property, including the name of the title holder, boundary lines, tax appraisal, liens, mortgages, recorded easements, and other recorded instruments that would affect title.
Yes. You do not need residency to purchase property in Costa Rica, you may purchase as a tourist.
HOA stands for home owner’s association. CC&Rs stands for covenants, conditions and restrictions. There are basically the internal rules of a gated community. The monthly HOA fee (strata in Canada) is the total cost of running the community (communal roads, infrastructure, gardening and security) divided by the number of homeowners in the community.
This is an excellent question and is often asked after buying property in Costa Rica. The best way is to employ a property management company to maintain your property, pay your bills and manage your rentals. There are many property management options available in Costa Rica and Tamarindo, but we work closely with and recommend the services of Blue Moon Costa Rica. Blue Moon offers full property management services and vacation rental services. Please visit www.bluemooncr.com for more information.
VISITING/LIVING IN COSTA RICA
Most of the crime in Costa Rica can be categorized as opportunistic, petty crimes (i.e. pickpocketing or theft of items left in a car or on the beach), violent crime is really very rare. Exercising normal precautions is always a good idea: don’t travel with expensive jewelry or large sums of cash on your person and be particularly vigilant when leaving any items in your car.
A valid passport is mandatory to travel in Costa Rica. Make sure you have at least six months before the passport expires.
That depends on your country of origin. The U.S.A, Canada, Australia and most European countries do not need a Visa; check with your local Costa Rican consulate to confirm.
Most visitors receive permission to remain in Costa Rica for 90 days upon arrival although this depends on your nationality.
Your valid driver's license will allow you to drive in Costa Rica for 90 days. In addition to your driver’s license, you will need a credit card to rent a car.
While Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica, you will find English widely spoken in most tourist destinations. The locals are very accommodating to tourists and many enjoy practicing their English with tourists. It is a good idea to carry a Spanish phrase book and try to learn the basics of “please and thank you” which can go a long way in any foreign country.
Yes! Ticos and Ticas (as the locals are called) are friendly, educated and polite. They are very proud of their country and welcome visitors from all over the world.
Costa Rica has distinct wet and dry seasons. You will find that temperatures vary primarily with elevations versus seasons. On the coasts, temperatures remain hot year round, while in the mountains it can be cool at night any time of year. Generally, the rainy season (known as winter or "green season") is from May to mid-November. Days often start sunny, with rain falling in the afternoon/evening. The dry season, which is considered summer, lasts from mid-November to April. In general, the best time of year to visit weatherwise is in December to April, which happens to coincide with the chill of winter in North America and Great Britain.
No. However, living in Costa Rica on tourist status will require you leave the country once every 90 days to renew your legal status. Some foreigners without residency enjoy traveling to north to Nicaragua or south to Panama for a few days while renewing their visas. However, if you plan to relocate to Costa Rica on a more permanent basis, you will find it easier if you have legal residency.There are many forms of residency available, and an attorney can assist you in determining what residency status would work best for your personal situation.
There are several excellent bilingual private school options in Guanacaste, some offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma, accredited by the IBO in Geneva, Switzerland and others offering U.S. High School Diplomas.
Private hospitals and clinics offer high-quality medical care at a fraction the international equivalent cost. In addition, it is very common to receive care for common ailments in a pharmacy (farmacia) in Costa Rica. Several drugs that would require a prescription in the U.S. are available without a prescription, and pharmacists can quickly and accurately diagnose and treat many common problems. In addition, Costa Rica’s public healthcare system (Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social), commonly known as the Caja, is available to all citizens and legal residents. For non-emergencies, small clinics, known as EBAIS are located in most communities.
Yes, it is very simple for foreigners to marry in Costa Rica. The needed documents are: original documents of single status, a valid passport, police record, divorce decree (if applicable).
The vast majority of the country’s water is potable, but we recommend bottled water for the first few days of your stay while your body acclimatizes. Ice is safe to have in drinks.
The local currency is called the Colon. U.S.dollars are also legal currency and readily accepted in almost all tourist destinations.
Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in businesses. ATM machines are widely distributed throughout the country, particularly in larger cities and coastal resort towns.
Electrical outlets are 110 V, with a standard two prong plugs (same as the U.S.)
When your pet enters Costa Rica they must have a health certificate (distemper, hepatitis, lestospiroisi, parvovirus and rabies) issued by a licensed, endorsed veterinary service (VS) veterinarian within 2 weeks of your trip and certification of the document by a Costa Rican consulate.