Costa Rica Real Estate Market Recovering

The Costa Rica real estate market was booming for years prior to the global financial crises and took a major hit as did the rest of the world.  Currently the market is recovering, prices have stabilized, and future outlook is extremely positive.  Joshua Kanter of United Country – Properties in Domincial discusses the current Costa Rica real estate trends and investment opportunities in the Southern Zone.

Playa Dominical, Costa Rica (PRWeb) November 30th, 2012

Costa Rica has historically been a profitable real estate investment with 15%-20% year over year returns from 2000 to 2008, until the financial crises hit the U.S. and rest of the world. This once hot and booming market drastically cooled with a downward turn.  This has caused previously over inflated real estate prices to drop to realistic and fair market values over the past few years.  The result; prices are the most affordable they have been in years and investors once again are buying homes and property with the opportunity for future gains.

FDI in CR 2006-2011

Foreign Direct Investment in Costa Rica 2006-2011

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Costa Rica reached record levels in 2011 and is expected to outperform those numbers for 2012.  *see graph from AM Costa Rica 

International Living’s Ronan McMahon ranked the Southern Zone of Costa Rica 3rd of 27 on the list of “The World’s Best Real Estate Markets for 2012”.  The results were based on the following criteria:

“The top five places in this Global Real Estate Index are all fast-emerging beach locales. These are places on the up…where it’s still not too late to get in. Each offers outstanding natural beauty. Real estate prices are affordable. And something is happening that I believe will push prices higher. These are places where you can work with reliable contacts; your rights are enshrined in law and the costs of buying, selling, and holding real estate range from ridiculously low to affordable.”

Ronan McMahon’s conclusion for the Southern Pacific Zone of Costa Rica was as follows:

“…Costa Rica’s Southern Zone stayed off the radar, though. And it’s nicer than up north, the area most folks know.

Bright, thick, green jungle canopy rolls down to a coast of sandy beaches and rocky points. It’s truly stunning.  And, while prices in other parts of the country soared, prices here stayed low. It was difficult to get to. But a new, smoothly-paved coastal highway has changed that… 

…It’s very good value for money. Because of the new road, I expect prices will rise. And that makes the appreciation potential strong, too.”

Uvita - Whale's TailCosta Rica has been ranked the best country for real estate investment for the upcoming 2013 year according to International Real Estate Investments Magazine.  Not surprising considering the stable government, property rights for foreigners, and close proximity to the U.S. and Canada.  Additionally, the Baby Boomer generation is beginning to retire with many looking for opportunities abroad and this trend will continue to propel the Costa Rica real estate market for years to come.  The Southern Zone is poised for the greatest potential increase and return on investment due to advances in infrastructure, increased worldwide recognition, and ideally tropical setting.

Joshua Kanter of Dominical Property, S.R.L. predicts a positive trend in the coming years, “We have seen an increase in inquiries and buyers on the ground this past year and are optimistic for the upcoming 2013 high season and beyond. Most of the ‘Fire Sales’ have been bought up, although there are still great deals depending on an individual seller’s financial position.  The Southern Zone is Costa Rica’s last frontier and the real estate market with the most potential upswing for investors.  If the planned International Airport for Southern Zone becomes a reality; that will be the ultimate game changer for this area as it was for the International Liberia Airport in the Northern Zone.”

Joshua Kanter, Agent
United Country – Properties in Costa Rica
Toll Free: 1-888-679-1227

FIRE SALE!! – Home in Lagunas, Dominical

REDUCED BY OVER $1,000,000 USD!!!!

Asking Price: $590,000 USD
Property Size: 7,584 m² / 0.75 hectares / 1.88 acres

The ultimate in luxury with top of the line finishes throughout the home and a large infinity pool with spectacular coastline views all the way to Manuel Antonio.

End of the road privacy within the exclusive community of Lagunas and only 15 minutes to Playa Dominical.  Property includes large home, huge pool, garage and garage apartment of 1,500 sq ft, plus another big home site ready to build.

The main house has an open living room and kitchen overlooking the pool and view and a there is a spacious master bedroom and bath with Jacuzzi tub.  Downstairs there is a self sufficient studio apartment with full kitchen as well.  The un-used flat area between the garage and garage apartment and the main house could be used to build an amazing dream home and the current main house could be turned into the pool/guest house.

The amazing view spans all the way to Manuel Antonio and enjoys breathtaking year round sunsets. There are also mountain, valley, and jungle views with daily wild life visits such as White-Faced Monkeys, Toucans, Parrots, Sloths and more.

The property also borders a 75 acre private nature reserve with trials for hiking and nature watching.  This is the perfect property for retirement residence, luxury vacation rental and second home, or family home in paradise.

The finished homes have top of the line finishes such as; ceramic tile roofing, granite everywhere, slate tile flooring, infinity pool, satellite TV, 3 full kitchens, high-speed internet,  handmade custom wood cabinets, and more.

Additional Options for Sale: 2 Homes with 30 acres of land for $1,750,000 USD | 2 Homes with 100 acres of land for $2,750,000 USD

Casa Cartago – FIRE SALE Luxury Home

Once in a while a deal comes along that seems too good to be true and this is one of them!  The Casa Cartago is an amazing luxury home minutes from Dominical and the beaches located in the most exclusive gated communities in the Southern Zone.  The other homes in the neighborhood are all million dollar plus range and all have some of the best views Dominical, Costa Rica has to offer!

Casa Cartago is an elegant luxury home for sale at a discounted price only 1-2 minutes off the pavement and inside the gates of a 24 hour guarded neighborhood.

This 3 bedroom and 3.5 bath home overlooks Dominicalito Bay, Playa Dominical, and all the way up the coast to Manuel Antonio.

The home is designed in an old World classic Spanish-Colonial style with red barreled tile roof and arches yet has all the comforts of a modern luxury home.

Downstairs there is a living room with built in entertainment center leading to an arched walk way lined with antique bricks into the full U-shaped kitchen.

The full gourmet kitchen has an island, breakfast bar, and pass through window to the porch area bar.

There are two master bedrooms downstairs, both with en suite bathrooms for added privacy.

The open living room flows onto a covered porch next to the infinity edge pool that appears to drop off into the Pacific Ocean.

The upstairs has another master suite even more spacious than the ones downstairs and the en suite bathroom has large shower and bath tub.

The master bedroom’s private upstairs balcony offers some of the best views in Dominical, Costa Rica area.

All three master bedrooms have bathrooms with over sized showers, dual vanities, built in armoires, and walk-in closets.

Throughout the house top of the line finishes, intricate details, and hand crafted local wood cabinets and doors make this luxury home and absolute bargain in a neighborhood of million dollar plus homes!!

Call or Click Today to schedule a viewing of this once in a lifetime investment opportunity!!

Top Mistakes Buyers Make in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is an amazing country with tons of biodiversity and natural attractions, friendly local people, safe for retirees and families, and real estate opportunities for any level investor.  Many come to Costa Rica with romantic dreams and grandiose plans of how they will live the rest of their life in tropical paradise stress free on the beach or a mountain retreat.  However, some common mistakes can lead to frustration and disillusionment of this idyllic dream and for some, result in returning to their country of origin.  This blog will discuss some of those mistakes and how to avoid them in order to truly enjoy the “Pura Vida” lifestyle.

Buyer Beware – There are many buyers that come to Costa Rica and think they can purchase a home or property on their own and do not need to use a realtor.  There are tons of “Se Vende” or “For Sale” signs everywhere and it is not hard to find many property options, however, it is not easy to find quality property options.  Basically anyone can try and sell their property by placing a sign on it or having their brother or uncle try and sell it for them, but many do not understand the legality and usability of their own property.  By using a qualified and experienced broker you can quickly filter through a lot of properties that are just plain undesirable and start to view properties that work for your specific goals.  Many factors can change the actual usability of a property for example: set backs from rivers, creeks, and springs can make building where you planned impossible and if there is no other place to build on that property, then it is not worth purchasing.  Also minimum property sizes on a private road can vary in different Cantons of the country, so having someone that knows these details is an invaluable asset.  Make sure you realtor or broker has experience in their local area, legal and other useful contacts, and at the very least has taken the course offered by the national real estate association; Camara Costarricense de Corredores de Bienes Raices (CCCBR).

Not in Kansas Anymore – This goes without saying, but many people assume everything here will be just like in the States, Canada, or Europe.  Well surprise it is not!  Although Costa Rica is developing and now has many amenities it did not have even a few years ago, it is still not a “get whatever you want when you want it” society.  People used to this type of immediate service and availability can be in for a rude awakening.  Everything takes longer here and especially real estate transactions where the “Rigistro” or National Registry is involved processing papers and building permits from the local Municipality take longer as well.  It is not just buying land or a home, it can be anything and a common example I like to use is just going to the hardware store.  In the U.S. you go to Home Depot or Lowes, everything is well marked and you can usually find what you want without any help, grab it, and go check out.  Here not so fast…. you need to get someone to help you and sometimes even take a number if it is crowded, then they gather your items and write up a “factura” or bill and sometimes can even pass you on to someone else for this.  Then you have to go to another employee at the register or “caja” and pay your bill.  Meanwhile another person is packing up your items and then you have to go show them your receipt and retrieve the items you paid for.  If there is a word in Spanish for efficiency it is not used in the Costa Rican vocabulary often.  Rather than dwell and complain about the differences it is better to learn patience and embrace them as part of life in a new culture.

Lost in Translation – Costa Rica is obviously a Spanish speaking country, but many locals speak some English and a person can get by on vacation with virtually no Spanish.  However, once you live here full time it is best to learn some Spanish for daily interactions.  Many full time residents do not even bother learning basic phrases and expect everyone to know some English; which in tourism areas may work, but in local towns and more rural areas knowing some Spanish will help tremendously.  Also local people respect the effort of trying to learn their language and will commonly try and help out with pronunciation or vocabulary.  Many times they will want to try out their English while you try out your Spanish.  Whether you take a course once moving here or practice at home with an online course, it will pay off in everyday interactions and help you integrate with the local community.

Jumping In – Another common mistake buyers make is moving too fast.  They fall in love with this country while on vacation, go home and sell everything, and make the plunge.  This can work out for a few, but most people should take their time and rent a home here first or make numerous extended visits to make sure Costa Rica is the right move for them.  At least research first and consider carefully the differences of life in a foreign country vs what you are used to.  This is a huge lifetime decision and a substantial financial investment, so making the right decision is vital.  Renting in a various areas to see which part of the country you like the best is a good idea, maybe different climates too like next to the beach or in the mountains.   Most of our clients we work with through the research stage and for a couple trips before they purchase.  We can also help in finding vacation and long term rental homes for any amount of time.  Whether it is your first or fifteenth trip we can help you through the process, and will work with you as long as it takes to make the right decision for you.

How Hard Can it Be – Many buyers think they will find the perfect piece of land and build their dream home easily and quickly and move right in.  Well, not so fast…. the building process here takes much longer and just getting the proper permits can take well over 3 months.  If you are not going to be here during construction than an English speaking builder/contractor is highly recommended in order to ensure everything goes to plan and can provide you with constant and accurate updates of the building process.  If you are planning on being here during construction it is still worth considering a professional contractor that knows the in and outs of building here, is well connected with local architects, engineers, and the local municipality for permitting, has knowledge of the best supply stores, and has a crew that has worked together many times before.  Another good idea is to build a small caretaker home or guest apartment first in order to have a place to live while you build a larger main house.  Building a home anywhere from scratch is stressful enough, why not make it as unproblematic as possible by hiring a professional.

Patience is a Virtue – Basically most mistakes and frustration come from lack of patience.  This is a hard learned skill and toke me some time after moving here to achieve any resemblance of patience.  I was a very impatient person over 7 years ago and wanted immediate results for anything and everything.  That had to change in order for me to truly appreciate this country, the people, culture, and customs.  Still would not say I have fully obtained it and still find myself sometimes screaming on the inside “HURRY UP!” while waiting at a bank or I.C.E. office and my number has a long way from getting called.  But it is a constant learning process and you just have to really stop and smell the roses, or thousands of different types of flowers in this case.

For more local tips and advice you can contact me by phone or email ( and check out more of the Costa Rica Lifestyle Blog or the United Country – Dominical website!!

Legal Advice

Legal representation is the most important aspect of purchasing property in Costa Rica after choosing a professional real estate broker.  Although much of the buying process is similar to the U.S., Canada, and Europe there are differences to the process and an attorney can walk you through the process step by step.  Most properties in Costa Rica are purchased through corporations for liability and tax purposes and your attorney will set one up for you.  The lawyer will also perform all the necessary title search and due diligence to ensure a property has fee simple title, free of any liens, no boundary disputes, and is completely safe to transfer ownership.

Below is a list of attorneys we have worked with and can recommend for prospective clients.

Local Area Attorneys at Law

Randall Sanchez Mora
Sanchez and Associates
Phone: (506) 2771-3501
Apartado: (P. O. Box) 201
San Isidro de Pérez Zeledón
011901, Costa Rica
Location: Pink/red two story building across from ICE Office and Delji Chicken

Ana Vargas Jara
Vargas Abogados
Phone: (506) 2771-0098
Fax: (506) 2771-0858
Apartado: (P. O. Box) 40
San Isidro de Pérez Zeledón
011901, Costa Rica
Location: Central park across from front entrance of church entrance near a pharmacy

Casimiro Vargas Mora
CV Firm
Phone: (506) 2771- 4504 / (506) 2743-8535
Fax: (506) 2743-7191
Apartado: (P. O. Box) 845
San Isidro de Pérez Zeledón
011901, Costa Rica
Location: Office in San Isidro next to 5 Menos and also at the Dome Commercial Center in Uvita

Kristi Penand
Uvita Law Firm
Phone: (506) 2743-8416 / 2743-8619
Fax: (506) 2743-8417
Location: Centro Comercial “The Dome” Offices #14 and 15
Uvita, Osa, Puntarenas

San Jose Attorneys

Arias & Munez
Phone: (506) 2204-7575
Fax: (506) 2204-7580
Location: Centro Empresarial Forum, Edificio C, Oficina 1C1
Santa Ana, San José, Costa Rica, C.A.
Apartado 12891 – 1000

Alberto Sáenz-Roesch
LLMR&T – Lara, López Matamoros, Rodríguez & Tinoco
Phone: (506) 2519-7500 / (506) 8880-5252
Fax: (506) 2519-7575
Location: San José, Costa Rica