SUGEF and real estate agents in Costa Rica
The real estate buying process in Costa Rica is quite easy and simple as long as you have a professional real estate agent, a comprehensive sales agreement, a reputable attorney and a safe Sugef registered escrow account.
Since May 2019, there's an extra step to ensure you are in good hands. All real estate agents in Costa Rica must also be registered with SUGEF, the public entity overseeing the stability of the national financial system. SUGEF ensure the stability, solidity and efficient functioning of the national financial system, with strict adherence to legal and regulatory provisions and in accordance with the rules, guidelines and resolutions issued by the institution itself, all in safeguard of the interest of the community. The main idea to have the real estate agents registered is to avoid money laundering and get more control over the real estate transactions. SUGEF is similar to the Federal Reserve Board in United States or The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions in Canada.
Real estate agents must be permanent residents or citizens of Costa Rica to be legally working in Costa Rica. To be registered with SUGEF, the real estate agents must have a firma digital, a new tool accessible only to permanent residents or citizens of Costa Rica. The real estate agent’s bank account will be monitored by SUGEF on a regular basis by a compliance agent. If an agent is involved in a transaction and receives a commission and he is not registered with SUGEF, the bank will refuse the deposit and his/her account will be immediately shut down.
Therefore, it’s important to work with an agent who is registered with SUGEF, and who knows the market extensively and has experience in the process. All of our agents at RE/MAX Ocean Surf and Sun are registered and legally working. We are here to help!