In general, there seem to be many questions and misconceptions about purchasing property in Costa Rica. However, the process can be simple and straightforward.
Plan a Visit
For those considering a purchase at Finca Bellavista, a visit is always recommended prior to considering a purchase. The Finca Bellavista treehouse community concept is unique and unconventional in its amenities, standards, and guidelines. The region surrounding the finca is also quite different in vibe than the more touristy areas of Costa Rica where the majority of visitors to the country have traveled. Experiencing and seeing the finca is a critical first step towards making the decision to invest and build here. Real estate tours are by appointment only, and can be coordinated in advance.
In Costa Rica, a foreigner may own the title to property, sell it at a future date, or deed it to a family member. For those that own property in the United States or Canada, the purchasing process will seem familiar.
When purchasing property in Costa Rica, the first step is to find a trustworthy and experienced attorney that specializes in Real Estate. Ideally the attorney lives and works within the same region as your area of purchase and is familiar with the location of the property and associated local municipal laws that may affect it. Future meetings are much easier to plan and negotiate with a local attorney as well.
When the property is purchased, it will be held in a Limited Liability Corporation, or an LLC. This LLC is considered a third-party corporation and benefits the buyer in several ways. For example, if a property owner were to get into a lawsuit, the LLC is not liable to the lawsuit. In addition, the rental income earned on the property, or capital gains from a future sale, will be taxed as company income and not personal income. With this corporation, you may also open a Costa Rican bank account for ease in paying construction and maintenance expenses and handling future rental income.
After the Real Estate agent negotiates the sale and an agreed sales price is reached, your attorney will draft a Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA). At this time your attorney will assist in opening a third party Escrow Account backed by a bank in Costa Rica. Upon signatures by both buyer and seller on the SPA, a 10% deposit will be moved into your escrow account for the duration of the due diligence period. The timeframe of due diligence is relative to the property you buy, but usually takes less than 30 days. Once all contingencies to the sale are met and due diligence is completed, the remaining balance will be transferred to the seller and the property will be transferred into the buyer’s corporation. Costa Rica has a public National Registry available online. Your attorney can show you the property registered in your corporation’s name, or you may find it yourself.
Unless you’ve built a treehouse before, the whole process of designing and constructing a livable treehouse will likely be a new experience. Exploring books and websites for ideas, and touring different tree houses in your home region is recommended. Great subjects to explore in the book department are Tiny Home and Cottage Design, Treehouse, Build-in and Woodworking, and Do-It-Yourself books.
In addition, if living in Costa Rica involves relocating and/or considering career changes, gaining residency, securing health care or any other major life change, start researching the possibilities for your specific situation and nationality. Visa requirements vary from country to country, and everyone’s life paths are different. A great book to digest is Living Abroad in Costa Rica by Erin Van Rheenan.