Learn About Titled Property in Costa Rica

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Titled Property in Costa Rica

Part 1 of 3 – condensed version

Be sure to get the full guide: Buying / Owning – Rules of the Road

how to buy property in Costa RicaPart 1 of 3 – Buying and owning property in Costa Rica or any  foreign country can be a confusing and intimidating   process.  The desire to make good decisions isn’t enough. You have to educate yourself along the way.

Can I just leave everything up to the lawyer?  What are my rights as a foreigner?  Can squatters invade my land?  Is there such a thing as zoning?  These and many other questions are answered in more detail in our free guide – Buying / Owning – Rules of the Road.  Costa Rica does have a system, although not perfect it works fairly well.  Thousands of foreigners have safely invested here. You can be one of them.

The Costa Rica constitution guarantees equal rights to private property to both nationals and foreigners.  All titled land is recorded in the the National Registry and is public record but there is still a fair amount of land today that is un-registered, without public  title, still owned by right of possession.  All titled property has a corresponding survey or plano which is also public record.  Even un-titled property (possession property) must have a registered plano.  The survey shows some important and useful information which is described in more detail in the full version of our guide.  Basically you need to make sure the survey is updated to reflect current zoning and restrictions and other information –  which goes for all private property, both titled and possession land.

Possession land (untitled) is bought and sold by locals and sometimes  foreigners by way of a private bill of sale, drawn up and notarized by a Costa Rican lawyer.  Although common practice there are some drawbacks to buying untitled (possession) land and in many cases is not recommended.  Should I be concerned about squatters or settlers?  Yes, the possibility of having a conflict exists but only if you’re not paying attention as an absentee owner.  You need to have someone keep an eye on their property while you are away.  Homesteaders could potentially build a shack, plant a few crops and  live there unopposed if nobody is around or checking on your place. But by following a few basic rules you will be fine.

Is there a risk of expropriation? As in most places in the world, laws exist  that allow the government to expropriate land for national interests, for public works like roads and highways, easements, national parks, ports etc.  For the  most part this is a non issue.  Costa Rica is no longer expropriating land for national parks.

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Author Jeff Lantz  – I enjoy what I do.  Connecting people to the land.  Something I’m truly passionate about. Helping people that come for all the same reasons I did 30 years ago comes natural. It’s not just about buying a property.  It’s about investing in a whole new lifestyle.  So feel free to contact me.  I’m happy to help.

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