Avoid the pitfalls and get support to avoid disappointments when buying in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a true paradise for nature lovers and real estate investors. This small Central American country offers beautiful beaches, lush forests, and an enviable quality of life. However, buying property in Costa Rica can be a real challenge for the uninitiated. In this article, we will explore the pitfalls to avoid and the importance of getting support to ensure a smooth real estate transaction.


Buying property abroad can be an exciting but also intimidating experience. Costa Rica, with its idyllic setting and attractive real estate market, attracts many international buyers. However, to avoid disappointments, it is crucial to understand the local specifics well and to get support from competent professionals. This article will guide you through the key steps to successfully purchase your property in Costa Rica while avoiding common pitfalls.

Getting Familiar with the Real Estate Market

The Costa Rican real estate market is unique and can differ greatly from what you know in your home country. Prices can vary considerably by region, with tourist areas such as Tamarindo, Manuel Antonio, and the Guanacaste region often being more expensive. Therefore, it is essential to understand the local market well before making an offer.

Concrete example: Julie, a French expatriate, was attracted to a beautiful house for sale in Manuel Antonio. Upon investigation, she found out that the asking price was well above the local average. By surrounding herself with a local real estate agent, she was able to negotiate a fairer price and avoid paying a “tourist” premium.

Checking Property Titles

One of the most common pitfalls when buying property in Costa Rica is related to property titles. It is imperative to verify that the seller is the legitimate owner and that the title is free of any disputes or charges. This often requires the intervention of a lawyer specializing in real estate law.

Anecdote: Paul, a Canadian retiree, almost bought a house whose title was contested by a distant heir. Fortunately, his lawyer discovered the problem before signing, saving him from a costly and stressful legal battle.

Understanding Local Regulations

Each country has its own laws and regulations regarding the purchase of real estate. In Costa Rica, foreigners can buy real estate, but some restrictions may apply, especially for properties in maritime zones (maritime-terrestrial zone). Therefore, it is crucial to be well-informed about these legal aspects.

Inspecting the Property

As with any real estate purchase, it is essential to have the property inspected by a professional to avoid unpleasant surprises. Costa Rica’s tropical climate conditions can cause specific problems such as excessive humidity, termites, or other pests.

Example: Marco, an Italian entrepreneur, discovered through a prior inspection that his dream house had foundation problems caused by humidity. He was able to negotiate a price reduction to cover the necessary repair costs.

The Importance of Professional Support

To avoid disappointments, it is highly recommended to get support from trusted professionals, such as a real estate agent, a lawyer, and a notary. These experts know the specifics of the local market and the regulations in place, and they can help you navigate the buying process safely.

Protecting Yourself from Scams

Unfortunately, real estate scams also exist in Costa Rica. It is important to beware of offers that are too tempting and to verify the credibility of sellers and real estate agents. Do not hesitate to ask for references and to consult the reviews of other buyers.

Anecdote: Clara, a German traveler, almost fell into a scam where an “agent” offered her a luxury villa at an incredibly low price. By checking the agent’s background and contacting a real professional, she discovered that the offer was a fraud.


Buying property in Costa Rica can be a great adventure if you take the necessary precautions to avoid common pitfalls. By familiarizing yourself with the local real estate market, scrupulously checking property titles, understanding local regulations, inspecting the property, and surrounding yourself with competent professionals, you can achieve your dream with complete peace of mind. Don’t let potential challenges deter you from enjoying everything this beautiful country has to offer. With the right precautions and adequate support, you can make a safe and profitable real estate investment in Costa Rica.

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