Costa Rica - Facts

GENERAL INFORMATION

WHY COSTA RICA?

Costa Rica has no army, and instead of spending tons of money on building a military program, has put its resources into expanding its education, infrastructure, roads and other social services. Costa Rica is safe and is often referred to as the Switzerland of Central America.

Costa Rica is roughly the size of West Virginia. Costa Rica has a composite of climates and topographies, mountains, beaches, rivers, waterfalls, and coastal zones to choose from. Telephone, electricity, Internet and television services are modern and reliable. The medical facilities in the private hospitals are first class and a fraction of the cost in the US, as is the medical insurance available to foreign residents. Taxes are low and the cost of living makes retirement affordable and attractive in Costa Rica.

MORE ABOUT COSTA RICA:  topography, with rivers, waterfalls, volcanoes and hot springs which are unique in all of Central America and the beauty will remind you of many other beautiful areas of the world, such as The Lake region between Switzerland and northern Italy. While Costa Rica only covers .03% of the earth's landmass, the nation is endowed with over 5% of all her life forms. Costa Rica has preserved this incredible bio diversity in National Parks and restricted areas covering fully 25% of the country, which no other country in the world even comes close to.

Costa Rica is also the oldest democracy in Latin America and in 1949 became one of the very few countries in the world to disband its army, so that it could redirect this money to needed social programs, education and welfare.
Costa Rica's free universal health care covers everything from maternity, to dentistry to open heart surgery and Costa Ricans enjoy a life expectancy exceeding that of North Americans. Medical care is modern and first class, yet 50% to 70% less the US, thus making medical tourism important to the economy here also. Medical insurance, available to foreigners is also a fraction of the cost than the US.

Education is another important factor in Costa Rica, with a literacy rate of over 96%, the highest in the Americas; together with the Governments pro business attitude has attracted numerous high tech companies like INTEL and others to open facilities here to take advantage of the skilled and educated work force.
Taxes are also very low, and the low cost of living and good medical care, make retirement extremely affordable and attractive.

Tourism is the engine that fuels the Costa Rican economy and is up over 500% in the last 10 years alone. The Government is responding with new and better roads and new and improved airports to fuel this tremendous tourist boom the entire country is experiencing.

For example, the beautiful Central Valley area is considered one of the lushest, panoramic and its topography is breathtaking. It is full of mountain top properties with rivers, waterfalls. The Central Valley region is one of the premier real estate and touristy destinations in all of Central America and its ample rainfall and numerous rivers give it a cool but lush tropical annual ambiance known for its unique exotic and diverse flora and fauna. Another example is Lake Arenal and Volcano Arenal, a 50 square mile area, with pristine fresh water lake high in the cool tropical mountains is fast becoming recognized as The Volcano region will remind you of many other beautiful places in the world such as the lakes between Switzerland and northern Italy.

PURCHASING PROPERTY & DEVELOPMENT

Costa Rican law does not restrict foreign ownership of Costa Rican property. Therefore you may own as many or as little property as you wish to own, knowing that your rights as property owner, are fully protected in Costa Rica.

The Costa Rican Government operates a computerized public registry of properties in Costa Rica which provides information as to ownership, title, liens, encumbrances, boundaries, property taxes and other recorded documents, so that clear title can be assured when property is purchased.

There are quality development opportunities in Costa Rica area such as single family homes, land sub division, condo Development and commercial activity which we are happy to discuss with you and guide you through the laws and regulations. We work with and can recommend certified surveyors, engineers, as well as assisting you in your construction and developing a property in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica maintains a year round temperature of approximately 72-82 degrees and supports a growing sport fishing destination including the good eating Rainbow Bass known as Guapote.

Costa Rica also hosts some of the best windsurfing in Central America with winds that exceed 40 miles per hour.
Taxes are also very low, and the low cost of living and good medical care, make retirement extremely affordable and attractive.

Costa Rican economy is stable, progressive and booming, with equitable laws that are foreigner friendly. The last 20 years yielded changes in government policies toward foreign investments and overall economic growth. The Central American Free Trade Agreement, (CAFTA), with the United States is one such policy allowing trade between both countries, while at the same time, enticing vanguard industries to invest.  As companies such as Intel, Proctor & Gamble, Citibank, 3M, KPMG, Lucent Technologies, Baxter Healthcare to name a few, are investing and locating divisions of their corporations in Costa Rica, the Costa Rican Gross Domestic Product (GDP), rises, making it an excellent time to invest in Costa Rica.

The outlook on the horizon for Costa Rica is healthy, as it has maintained economic and governmental stability for decades. Costa Rica has one hundred years of solid government established on democracy, similar to that of the United States, with an elected President, two elected Vice Presidents, a judicial system, and legislature based on a system of checks and balances.

Combined with a growing economy, a solid infrastructure supporting the economy, a strong educational system, a large middle class, all give Costa Rica stability and makes investing in Costa Rican real estate one of the most high-yielding investments in that class.

Like California in the fifties, with its limited supply of oceanfront properties, Costa Rican real estate market values increase as demand for property escalates, particularly in Guanacaste.

Beachfront real estate values are significantly lower when compared with those in the U.S. In the past ten years, Costa Rica has seen a boom with its real estate market. Because of this boom, resale value is climbing, driving retirees to Costa Rica while prime properties are still available and affordable.

In addition to affordability and high-yielding resale opportunities, tax laws make investing in property in Costa Rica desirable. Property taxes are negligible. Other tax laws and legalities in Costa Rica are favorable toward investors including those who seek retirement.

We are here to assist you in finding and safely purchasing properties such as condominiums, townhomes, villas and lots of vacant land. In Cost Rica, our expertise is with beautiful properties at or near beaches, rivers, and mountains.

The schools, culture, and businesses, are all thriving. Costa Ricans pride themselves with the education system. Ninety three percent of the population is literate. Going to school is mandatory and largely government subsidized. Private schools, American, German, and Japanese, add to the quality of education in Costa Rica. Costa Rican children spend six years in elementary school and six in high school, with some of that time spent towards focus on a career.

In addition to education, Costa Ricans place prime importance on culture, especially high culture. Costa Rican culture is based principally on Western traditions. They give their full support to the arts.

Like education and culture, the business environment is dynamic, as well. What used to be a largely agricultural country exporting coffee and bananas primarily, is now a very technologically savvy environment with local businesses competing globally. Today, Costa Rica exports electronics and textiles. Ecotourism is growing, making it an essential part of their economy.

The medical field, as well, enjoys rapid growth, with the level of medicine being comparable to that of highest U.S. standards.

Costa Ricans also enjoy a healthy lifestyle. The water is drinkable and safe in Costa Rica. Unlike Mexico and other Central American countries, the Costa Rican government takes care of  the quality of drinking water. Medical facilities are excellent and well-equipped. Doctors and dentists are as well educated as Americans with many educated in the United States.

LEGAL TIPS LEGAL TIPS


In Costa Rica foreigners have the same rights as nationals when purchasing real estate and the constitution guarantees protection of such property ownership rights. Purchasing real estate in Costa Rica is fairly simple, but it is necessary to verify the credentials of the seller and the title to the property.

The buyer must be certain that the title being offered is exactly what has been bargained for.
Consequently, the buyer should retain the services of a lawyer to perform a title search in the Public Registry and to recommend whether to acquire the property personally or through a legal entity. In order to perform the tile search, the lawyer requires the property number and /or the name and identity number of the owner(s), whether it is a person or a company. The Public Registry maintains a very accurate database of all registered properties in the country. The title search will verified the identity of the owners, the property size, location and boundaries, the nature of use of the property, and whether the title is free and clear of any encumbrances, such as mortgage or pending legal action.

Zoning or other types of restrictions may affect the property. For example, if the property is a part of a condominium, some construction restrictions may apply. If the property is an environmentally sensitive area or includes a historical site, limitations of use may apply. The buyer's lawyer should research if any restrictions exist and consult with the corresponding local government or government agency to determinate the extent of such restrictions.

The maritime Zone Law regulates the land within 200 meters of the ocean, which belongs to the government, with some exceptions where titles war registered before the law was enacted. The vast majority of the beaches in Costa Rica a re now subject to this law. The first 50 meters from the high tide mark are considered public areas with very restrictive uses. The next 150 meters are subject to concession or leasehold rights granted by the local government with particular terms and conditions that must be carefully reviewed. These concessions can be transferred with the approval of the local government.

Property taxes in Costa Rica are very low when compared to the rates in North America and Europe. Before closing the sale, the buyer should request from the seller a certificate issued by the local government assuring that there are no municipal and/or territorial taxes due.

Municipal taxes cover certain public services such as street lightning and garbage collection services. Territorial taxes are established by law and are determined by the size, location and value of the property, among other issues. These taxes can be paid annually, quarterly, or by semester.

In addition, if the buyer plans to build a structure on the property. The property must be acquired via a public deed (escritura publica) issued by a lawyer and Notary Public who is responsible for registering the sale in the Public Registry.

As a general rule, the Buyer selects the Notary in cash transactions. However, if the property is to be financed or mortgaged, the Seller selects the Notary.

Closing Costs are about 4% of the total purchase price. These costs include legal fees, property, transfer taxes and other common expenses. If the buyer wants additional assurances of the title being acquired, one can purchase a title guarantee from First American Title Company or Stewart Title Co. with offices in Costa Rica.
Purchasing property in Costa Rica can be a rewarding experience and we are here to assist you in selecting the right attorney to securely finalize your real estate transactions.

INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN COSTA RICA INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN COSTA RICA

Costa Rican economy is stable, progressive and booming, with equitable laws that are foreigner friendly. The last 20 years yielded changes in government policies toward foreign investments and overall economic growth. The Central American Free Trade Agreement, (CAFTA), with the United States is one such policy allowing trade between both countries, while at the same time, enticing vanguard industries to invest. As companies such as Intel, Proctor & Gamble, Citibank, 3M, KPMG, Lucent Technologies, Baxter Healthcare to name a few, are investing and locating divisions of their corporations in Costa Rica, the Costa Rican Gross Domestic Product (GDP), rises, making it an excellent time to invest in Costa Rica.

The outlook on the horizon for Costa Rica is healthy, as it has maintained economic and governmental stability for decades. Costa Rica has one hundred years of solid government established on democracy, similar to that of the United States, with an elected President, two elected Vice Presidents, a judicial system, and legislature based on a system of checks and balances.

Combined with a growing economy, a solid infrastructure supporting the economy, a strong educational system, a large middle class, all give Costa Rica stability and makes investing in Costa Rican real estate one of the most high-yielding investments in that class.  Like California in the fifties, with its limited supply of oceanfront properties, Costa Rican real estate market values increase as demand for property escalates, particularly in Guanacaste.
Beachfront real estate values are significantly lower when compared with those in the U.S. In the past ten years, Costa Rica has seen a boom with its real estate market. Because of this boom, resale value is climbing, driving retirees to Costa Rica while prime properties are still available and affordable.

In addition to affordability and high-yielding resale opportunities, tax laws make investing in property in Costa Rica desirable. Property taxes are negligible. Other tax laws and legalities in Costa Rica are favorable toward investors including those who seek retirement.

ENVIRONMENT

The schools, culture, and businesses, are all thriving. Costa Ricans pride themselves with the education system. Ninety three percent of the population is literate. Going to school is mandatory and largely government subsidized. Private schools, American, German, and Japanese, add to the quality of education in Costa Rica. Costa Rican children spend six years in elementary school and six in high school, with some of that time spent towards focus on a career.

In addition to education, Costa Ricans place prime importance on culture, especially high culture. Costa Rican culture is based principally on Western traditions. They give their full support to the arts. Like education and culture, the business environment is dynamic, as well. What used to be a largely agricultural country exporting coffee and bananas primarily, is now a very technologically savvy environment with local businesses competing globally. Today, Costa Rica exports electronics and textiles. Ecotourism is growing, making it an essential part of their economy. The medical field, as well, enjoys rapid growth, with the level of medicine being comparable to that of highest U.S. standards.

Costa Ricans also enjoy a healthy lifestyle. The water is drinkable and safe in Costa Rica. Unlike Mexico and other Central American countries, the Costa Rican government takes care of the quality of drinking water. Medical facilities are excellent and well-equipped. Doctors and dentists are as well educated as Americans with many educated in the United States.