Is It Better To Buy A House Or A Condo In Costa Rica?

Is It Better To Buy A House Or A Condo In Costa Rica?

Is It Better To Buy A House Or A Condo In Costa Rica?

When deciding between a house and a condo in Costa Rica, potential buyers are faced with a unique set of considerations. This comparison delves into the key differences, advantages, and challenges of each option, providing insights into the distinctive real estate landscape of this tropical paradise. 

Whether it's the allure of a standalone house with its spacious gardens and privacy, or the convenience and community of a condominium, understanding the nuances of buying a house vs. a condo in Costa Rica is crucial for making an informed decision that aligns with your lifestyle and investment goals.

Buying a House in Costa Rica

Before making any big investment, doing your due diligence is a must; especially when choosing between two different types of property. When choosing between buying a house or a condo in Costa Rica, there are several considerations to keep in mind, each with its positives and negatives.

If you’re leaning towards the idea of owning your own home in Costa Rica, here are our top considerations to keep in mind before making your decision. 


Privacy and Space: Houses in Costa Rica often come with more space and privacy compared to condos. This is ideal for those who prefer a more secluded lifestyle or want extra room for gardens, pools, or guest accommodations.

Freedom of Customization: Owning a standalone home provides more freedom to customize or expand your property, whether it's renovating the interior or adding new structures.

No HOA Fees: Unlike many condos or gated communities, many single family houses in Costa Rica do not have Homeowners Association (HOA) fees, which can lead to significant savings over time.

Investment Potential: Real estate in Costa Rica has been a good investment, with property values generally appreciating over time. This can be especially true for homes in popular areas or those with unique features.

Rental Opportunities: If you're not planning to live in Costa Rica year-round, homes can be rented out as vacation rentals, providing a source of income. The country's growing tourism industry makes this a viable option and an attractive revenue stream.

Residency Options: Property ownership can be a pathway to obtaining residency in Costa Rica, which can be an advantage for those looking to relocate permanently.

Diverse Locations: Houses are available in a wider range of locations, from urban areas to secluded countryside settings.

Lifestyle: Owning a house can provide a more authentic experience of the local culture and community.


Maintenance Responsibilities: Homeowners are responsible for all maintenance, which can be costly and time-consuming and at time may not be to the standards and code found in countries like Canada, UK and USA.

Security Concerns: Individual houses may require more extensive security measures.

Infrastructure: In remote areas, access to utilities and amenities might be limited.

Costs: Initial purchase costs, property taxes, and upkeep can be higher than condos.

Natural Hazards: Houses, especially in rural areas, might be more exposed to natural hazards like flooding or landslides.

Buying a Condo in Costa Rica

If owning your own smaller space within a safe and comfortable condominium complex is more suited to your lifestyle and desires right now, here are some factors to consider before buying a condo in Costa Rica.


Lower Maintenance: Condos typically require less maintenance from the owner, as common areas and external structures are usually managed by the homeowners' association (HOA). This is particularly appealing for those who do not reside in Costa Rica year-round.

Amenities & Services: Many condominiums come with a range of amenities like swimming pools, fitness centers, and social areas. Some also offer services like security, gardening, and housekeeping, adding to the convenience.

Security: Condominium complexes offer enhanced security features like gated access, guards, and surveillance systems, providing peace of mind for residents.

Community Living: They offer a sense of community and can be great for networking, especially in expat-friendly developments.

Affordability: In many cases, condos can be more affordable than houses, especially in prime locations. This makes them an attractive option for those with a smaller budget.

Rental Potential: Condos can be an excellent investment for rental purposes, especially in tourist-frequented areas. They are often in high demand for short-term vacation rentals.

Location: Condos are often well-located in urban areas or popular tourist destinations, close to amenities.


HOA Fees and Rules: Condo owners must pay HOA fees and abide by association rules, which can be restrictive.

Less Privacy: Condos generally offer less privacy than standalone houses.

Limited Space: Space is often more limited in condos, both indoors and outdoors.

Noise and Proximity: Proximity to neighbors can lead to noise issues and less personal space.

Investment Limitations: Some condos may have restrictions on renting out the unit, impacting investment potential.

House vs. Condo, Which is Right For You?

Buying real estate in Costa Rica, whether a house or a condo, offers unique opportunities and challenges. Houses provide privacy, space, and the freedom to customize, but come with higher maintenance responsibilities and costs. They're ideal for those seeking a more authentic local experience and a direct connection to Costa Rica's rich natural landscapes. 

On the other hand, condos in Costa Rica are appealing due to their lower maintenance needs, built-in amenities, and enhanced security. They offer a more affordable and convenient option, especially for expatriates or those looking for vacation properties. Condos also present a strong investment potential through rental opportunities, particularly in tourist-heavy areas. 

However, they may come with HOA fees and rules, and offer less privacy and space than houses. 

The choice between a house and a condo in Costa Rica largely depends on individual lifestyle preferences, budget, and long-term goals, making it crucial for potential buyers to thoroughly consider their options and seek expert advice in navigating the local real estate market.

If you are still not sure what type of property is the ideal choice for your vacation bliss, it is important to talk to an experienced local agent who can give you a better understanding of your options. Contact us at For detailed information about type of property, legal information, costs, and property management read our guide to buying a property in Costa Rica.

Get in touch with us today

By completing this form, you agree to Coldwell Banker Tamarindo Realty Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy. Data may also be used to send relevant property news and marketing tips.

We had so much fun at Buena Vista. Thanks for arranging that with Memo.
I also want to say many thanks for all that you have done. We have enjoyed Costa Rica and I have found you so helpful with everything and a pleasure to deal with that it was a very stress free vacation. When I do come back here hopefully you will still be doing what what you do.
Our last couple of days will be spent enjoying the sunshine and eating at great restaurants. Sincerely,

Tara, Kevin and Roy., Costa Rica

We are- UNHAPPILY- home safe. Would much rather be back in Tamarindo. THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING you did to make our stay a joy ! We look very much forward to seeing you on our next trip to Costa Rica. PURA VIDA !

Steve Perry, Costa Rica

Laurel and Tony,
The both of you were fantastic with us throughout the property search and purchase process. As we had mentioned, two other attempts to find thorough, attentive, responsive agents to work with in Tamarindo were failures. I expect that we are more work to deal with than many others as we asked a lot of thorough and analytical questions and expected responses to all of them. You two never failed to deliver. The organization and execution of our condo shopping trip in January was excellent and the fact that you two devoted 2 full days to us, around our schedule, to get this deal done was key to our success. The selection of properties that Laurel planned out, including a few places above and below our target zone helped us to refine our interests. We truly appreciated your interest in our success. This could easily have been very stressful for us, and yet, it wasn’t. Thank you very much.
As a side note, when we walked into the Coldwell Banker office randomly with no appointment in November had we not found your office staff patient and accommodating from the start we would have simply walked on to the next agency. Your staff deserves special mention for getting us interested in the agency to begin with.
We will give you some advance notice before we make our first trip down so that we can plan to get together for lunch or dinner. We are tentatively planning on somewhere in the last 2 weeks of May, as soon as our son gets out of school for the summer.

Dan Batliner, Costa Rica

While my computer is still running here, I'd like to take the opportunity to thank you for your help during our stay.
When we first came to your office, we were in dire straights and in desperate need of assistance. Andrea was extremely compassionate, spoke with candor, and had a "can do attitude" that was of immense help.
In addition, Andrea has put us in contact with Steve, with whom we are working, preparing to view a little property that might be just what we are looking for at this particular time.
In addition, having gotten to know Andrea personally as well as professionally has been our great pleasure. I wanted to let you know what a tremendous asset she is to your company. She is a great treasure -- a one in a million.

Tina Parker, Costa Rica
Sign Up For Property Alerts