Although technically the Costa Rican constitution allows equal access to credit for both foreigners and Costa Ricans, it is significantly more difficult for foreigners to qualify.
Out of country collateral and income is not normally considered by the banks. In some cases you will need a co-signer (fiador). Even then, Costa Rican interest rates are very high so it is probably more economical to bring funds from abroad.
In addition, many properties don’t qualify for a mortgage. Beachfront property with a permiso de uso (right of use) doesn’t qualify for a mortgage (not even for Costa Rican citizens) because the land is technically owned by the state, not the occupant. Untitled property also cannot be mortgaged. On occasion, some terms may be negotiated for seller financing, but usually only for a short length of time. For these reasons, almost all real estate transactions are paid in cash upon closing. Recently a company in San Jose has been offering financing for American citizens with a reasonable downpayment. We are speaking with them to see what their terms are and, if you are interested in financing a property purchase in the Mal Pais, Manzanillo, Santa Teresa area, please contact us to go over this option.