Real Estate in Santa Teresa and Mal Pais Costa Rica
Properties in Mal Pais, Santa Teresa, Playa Hermosa and Manzanillo
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Costa Rica Real Estate Guide

Buying Titled Real Estate in Costa Rica (Fee Simple)

  Buying real estate in Costa Rica is often easier than buying in other developing countries. Foreigners can own titled property in Costa Rica in their own name and share the same rights as a Costa Rican citizen. There are two documents that describe "titled" or fee simple property which comprises most land except land in the maritime zone. The title (escritura) is registered in the National Registry ... more

Private / Untitled / Possession Property

  The great majority of land in Santa Teresa, Mal Pais and Manzanillo is title. Throughout Costa Rica, however, there is a lot of untitled land, that may qualify for title. In a possession scenario, it is the recording of the legal transaction that establishes possession or ownership rights to the property - not a title. The reason is that for many years, farmers and settlers never applied for their ... more

Maritime Zone Land (Beachfront) / Concessions

Santa Teresa, Mal Pais and Manzanillo are blessed with over 25 km of beachfront land. Real Estate located within the Maritime Zone is dealt with in a different way. The Maritime Zone Law or Ley Zona Maritima Terestre 6043, commonly called the "Concession Law", was established in 1977 and defines the Maritime Zone (ZMT) as the 200-meter strip of land along the shoreline, calculated from the "average ... more

Option Agreements

In some cases, a buyer may want to make a down payment or buy an "option" on a piece of real estate. The final deal may depend on some outstanding details to be worked out or obligations to be met, but both the buyer and the seller would like to formalize a provisional agreement. Examples might be that the property needs to be re-measured to verify boundaries or that the seller offers to make improvements ... more

Building Permits

The process of getting permission to build outside the beach zone can be complicated depending upon where your property is located. Beachfront development has a different set of rules compared to private land. Although it is national code that regulates building, practical application will vary in populated areas like San Jose versus rural areas such as the Nicoya Peninsula. Santa Teresa, Mal Pais ... more

Closing Procedures and Costs

Once you have found a property in Santa Teresa or Mal Pais or Manzanillo that you want to buy, you will need a Costa Rican attorney/notary to execute the transaction. As with real estate agents, it is typical for an attorney to represent both the buyer and seller. It is the buyer’s right to select the attorney. Ask around and get a good recommendation by others that have had a good experience. Again ... more

Land Taxes

Collection of land taxes became the responsibility of the local municipalities several years ago. In the case of private land (both titled and untitled), property tax previously was at a rate of 6% of the declared value based on the Tax Law No. 7509. In May of 1995, this code was changed and the tax was lowered. According to the new law No. 7729, taxes are based on 0.25% of the declared value. In most ... more

Income Taxes

Costa Rica is a "source" jurisdiction from an income point of view. Residents, non-residents and corporations generally are subject to tax only on their Costa Rican generated income. For this reason, Costa Rica offers no credit for foreign taxes paid on foreign source income by Costa Rican residents or non-residents. Tax Rates are: 30% on corporations, 30% catch-all rate on non-residents, and a graduated ... more

Luxury Home Tax

Depending on the value of your home, you may owe between .25% - .55% of the property valuation annually. There are exemptions and actually very few people are paying it due to lack of enforcement. Ask your attorney about this.

New Capital Gains Tax

In December 2018 a seismic change in Costa Rican tax law came to pass. The “Leyes Numero 9635 Fortalecimiento de las Finanzas Publicas” became law with far-reaching ramifications. In addition to real estate, the new law touched on areas which include: global income, capitalization rules, distribution of dividends, loss carry-forward rules, donation deductibility, new tax brackets, profits distributed ... more

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