Many people come here for vacation and end up falling in love with Costa Rica. Day 2 of their trip, we see them coming in our office with many questions about buying property in Costa Rica. For those who dream of buying, I have a few pieces of advice in order to help to choose the right option.
1. It’s important to know that almost all sales are cash. There are some owners that offer to finance with a 50% down payment at an interest rate of 6-9% for 1 to 3 years but most of the buyers bring money from their country, it makes the process easier and cheaper. It also gives you more room for negotiation.
2. If you are planning to move here permanently, ask yourself those questions:
a) Do I need to be close to the schools for my kids?
b) How far from churches, groceries stores, restaurants I am ready to be?
c) How far from the beach I am willing to be?
d) What will be my source of incomes? If you are planning to work in Costa Rica, you need to read this page: Immigration and residency.
3. If you are planning to visit here a few weeks or months per year and would like to rent the property when you don’t use it, you need to know that in our area (which is a touristic zone), you can expect to rent for 10%-12% gross income versus the value of the property you are buying. If we use the example of a 200,000 condo, it would mean 20,000 to 24,000 per year. The rental incomes would cover the annual expenses and you could expect a 4-5% return net. It could be a little bit more if you manage the rentals by yourself.
You should know that:
a) If it is in a touristic zone, a rental and management company will take care of the property for you but if it is outside the touristic zone, you will have to find someone to live on site or go on a daily basis. You will also have to hire someone to take care of the security.
b) The profit of the rental income is taxable at 10-20% rate. The net profit you will make won’t be enough to pay off a big mortgage on the property. The financing option with the owner is a short term solution and you should make sure that you will be able to pay at term otherwise you will loose your property and the payment you made to buy it.
4. Should I buy a condo or a home? Your budget and the area you will choose will mainly determinate if you have the option or not. The closer you are to the beach, added to the “ocean view” factor increase the price of the properties. You can buy a 3 bed home 5 driving minutes from Tamarindo for the same price than a 1-bedroom condo with ocean view in Tamarindo.
5. Take your time and plan your purchase in advance. Make sure you know what you want and have the money available before making an offer. That will help you sleep better at night!
We are available to answer your questions and help you find the right property within your budget. The decision of buying is important and only a professional real estate agent will be able to direct you properly. We, at Remax, are a team of professional to help!
Isabelle Emond, Owner/Broker