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Buying Real Estate in Costa Rica

Buying Real Estate in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has a central Registry which records all real estate titles in the country. Most properties are under a system called Folio Real, which is basically a number assiged to each property, which begins with a number which refers to the Province in which the property is located, and followed by a six-digit number, and then followed by a three-digit number, which refers to the number of property owners in a given real estate property. This system is centralized at the offices of the Public Registry in San José. Before buying land, a title search in Folio Real should be performed. Such a title search will show all data on the property, including area, ownership, boundaries, location, mortgages and other liens. Our firm can help you perform due diligence, so that your investment is safe.

A few properties have not yet been incorporated to the “Folio Real” system. These properties are still registered in special books kept in the Public Register and may also be accurately title searched in the Public Registry.

When considering buying land, the first question to be asked is if you are being offered ownership rights (“derecho de propiedad”) or possession rights (“derechos de posesión”). In the case of possesion rights, you would be dealing with land that has not been registered, cannot be title-searched and must go through a long process in order to be registered. Ownership rights, on the other hand, are registered and are equal to the concept of land ownership in the United States or Canada.

Another situation one may encounter regarding land, especially in in relation to beaches, is the concession. In this case, the government gives a private party the right to use the land for a specific period of time. In general terms, the concession may be considered similar to a lease. The concessions registration system is different than the one for regular land, and has particular requirements regarding zoning, terms, and occupation.

Contact us for more information about buying real estate in Costa Rica. Email: lawyer@crtitle.com