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Purchasing real estate in Costa Rica

Tambor beach - Delfines
When looking at purchasing real estate in Costa Rica, there are many things you need to take in consideration. Most decisions concerning real estate in Costa Rica are very similar to those decisions to purchase land anywhere. You want to ensure that your property in Costa Rica is in an area where you want to live and you want to ensure that your Costa Rica real estate is going to be able to do what you dream it to do.

Nearly all of the real estate in Costa Rica that you find will have a title and will be free and clear of any liens and encumbrances. Similar to what you'd find in your home country. One key element that we highly suggest is obtaining local, legal representation. It will save you a tremendous amount of time and effort employing someone who has a full understanding of the Costa Rica real estate laws, codes and systems. A good attorney in Costa Rica can really streamline a lot of things concerning your property and should be able to completely cover any issues and answer all questions you could ever have about buying property in Costa Rica. All in all, your attorney should be one of your best friends down here.

Water fall - Montezuma
The Costa Rican government takes a lot of measures to ensure that this beautiful, ecological paradise remains just that. It is a difficult teeter totter when you balance the ecological preservation of Costa Rica (which drives nearly all of the tourism) with the explosive development and investing that's occurring here in Costa Rica. Therefore, the government of Costa Rica, in regards to real estate in Costa Rica, has a strong department to regulate the development of their country.

Golf course - Delfines
One of the conditions is with the usage of the coastal lands and properties of Costa Rica. The government has claimed that the first 50 meters from high tide are to be public domain, ALWAYS! If someone tries to sell you a shack on the beach or the first 50 meters of beach, be careful because they do not own the land. The government has taken it a step further. The government also owns the next 150 meters (roughly 450 ft) of coastline beyond the first 50 meters deemed "Public". So, in this regard, the government of Costa Rica owns the first 200 meters of coastal land (approx 600 ft).

The government of Costa Rica has devised a department of records and an entity to control and monitor the usage of this specially-zoned 200 meter boundary (called the Mari-time zone). This department has devised a system for investors to obtain this special coast line zoning. The system consists of two zoning requirements. The first is the "Right of Possession" and the second is the "Concession".

Beach resort - Delfines
The "Right of Possession" gives an investor, individual or group, the permission to occupy or "Possess" the land for a contracted period of time (usually 5 yrs, 10 yrs, or 20yrs). Obtaining the "Right of Possession" grants the possessor to obtain the land and sell or transfer the "Rights of Possession" to someone else but it does not permit the possessor any rights to develop, build, change or construct any real or substantial structures on that property. A small, simple shack can be built for the purposes of a shelter but that is pretty much all.

Future restaurant - Tambor hills
Once an investor or individual obtains the rights to possess this land, the possessor would then have to hire an architect (and possibly and Engineer) to come to the property and create official drawings to reflect what the possessor wants to build, whether it be a personal home, a hotel, a bar/restaurant, etc. Once the official drawings are created, your attorney would then submit them to the government for obtaining your "Concession" or permission to construct what you'd like.

Read more:

- Page 1 /Purchasing real estate in Costa Rica.
- Page 1 /Costa Rican government.
- Page 1 /Right of Possession.
- Page 2 /Development and building.
- Page 2 /Purchasing land.

- Download Buying land in Costa Rica (PDF)
read more about Buying land in Costa Rica page 2
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