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Why a Real Estate Attorney Matters When Purchasing a Property in Costa Rica

“Before anything else preparation is the key to success,” said Alexander Graham Bell

Real Estate attorneys will be helpful for buying or selling properties in Costa Rica

Without a doubt, a Real Estate purchase can be one of the most exciting yet at the same time stressful experiences one can have. After all, buying a home which is often the place where the buyer and their family will live is quite an important decision and therefore preparation is key.

In every country the process in which one buys or sells a property is different. In the case of Costa Rica, the legal process can become very bureaucratic and cumbersome for someone with no expertise whatsoever.

That’s why getting in touch with a good law firm is a must if you wish not only to have the purchase or sale to go as smoothly as possible, but to also guarantee that everything is done according to the Costa Rican Law.

Purchase Agreement for Real Estate in Costa Rica

For instance, one of the first things that the buyer and seller must get done in order to begin the purchase or sale of a property is the Purchase Agreement (“opción de compraventa” in Spanish).

Under Costa Rican Private Law a Purchase Agreement can be understood as a binding contract between parties (buyer and seller) in which both not only figure out and establish important factors such as the purchase price of the property, the place and the date of closing and many other details.

The agreement also gives securities to the parties since it gives obligations to both (for example, most purchase agreements must guarantee that the seller will remove the property off the market for the time the contract is valid, so they cannot sell such property to another buyer).

After this initial part is done, one must take into consideration that sometimes a property, while it may look beautiful at first, can have hidden dangers or “red flags” that may cause that may even make the property absolutely unusable.

If you want to buy or sell a property in Costa Rica, it's better if you hire a law firm

If you want to buy or sell a property in Costa Rica, it’s better if you hire a law firm

Why it’s better to hire a law firm for Real Estate in Costa Rica

A law firm focused on Real Estate can do a detailed investigation of not only the property itself but also all the legal and administrative details that might not be visible to an untrained eye. Law firms can also prevent fraud by doing investigations which are mostly referred to as due diligence.

For example, a property in itself might look fine —even with a beautiful home—, yet the home itself could have no access to water at all, the property could have been made in an illegal plot of land, or the owner of the property could even be owing property taxes that the buyer will then acquire without knowing it.

Finally, and maybe one of the most important reasons to use a Real Estate law firm, is that not only one has to consent with the other party (as stated above) but also one has to deal with the State and its bureaucracy.

Costa Rican bureaucracy when acquiring a property can be overwhelming, even more so if you are new to this country. However, Real Estate law firms not only help you make this process go smoother, but use tools that the State has given them to your advantage.

Some of those tools law firms have are the Digital National Registry query platform, which allows you to search in real time for the status of a property, or the National Cadastral System, that indicates the limitations of the property and how it should have been registered.

In summary

In summary, getting into Real Estate in Costa Rica can be a beautiful adventure, as well as a very stressful event unless you come prepared. And what better preparation can you get other than from a Real Estate law firm?

Not only will you be able to sleep better at night knowing your process is in the hands of a team of professionals but you will get the legal backing for either a purchase or a sale. So, if you need legal assistance in this regard, feel free to contact us. We’re here to help.



Carlos Escobar, legal assistant, is currently finishing his law degree, he considers himself a bit of a nomad, having lived in three different countries during his lifetime has really changed his perspective not only on life, but on people. He has always been fascinated to get to know new cultures and most importantly different views of life and their pursuit of happiness.

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