6 Tips For Finding A Property In Costa Rica

May 11, 2023 in Buying Process, Real Estate in Costa Rica, Tips for Buyers

Buying a property in Costa Rica from long distance is no everyday task. But it can surely be done! Thousands of people purchase properties in Costa Rica from all over the world each year. Expats from around the world numbered around 420,000 at last count, roughly 10% of Costa Rica's population. Working with the right real estate team is the trick to making this task a success. With a bit of patience, persistence and luck, you, too, can find the tropical home that meets your budget and lifestyle needs. 

Ready to begin your search? Here are some tips for making your long distance hunt for a property in Costa Rica a successful experience:

Research Costa Rica

To begin, it's a good idea to determine what type of lifestyle you are looking for. Costa Rica has many diverse lifestyle opportunities on offer. Read some guide books about Costa Rica and look at maps to get to know the different regions and the types of people who choose them.

Check out some property listings in local real estate websites (there is no centralized MLS in our region yet). This will help you get to know the price ranges around the country.

Keep up with local news and views by joining online community pages and blogs. Most community pages will accept prospective buyers who want to know more about the area before deciding to buy.

Reach out to your relatives or friends who have already moved to Costa Rica to ask the more personal questions about the area.  

Figure out your needs

To have an understanding of your wants and needs is essential to make a decision when it comes to buying assets anywhere in the world. And for those specifically looking at buying a property in Costa Rica -- whether you’ve been here yet or not -- ask yourself:

    • Do I want to live in a rural or urban environment?
    • What style of house/property do I want?
    • What is my ideal budget?
    • Do I want to live in close proximity to certain amenities?
    • Do I want an ocean, mountain or jungle view property?
    • How many bedrooms and bathrooms do I need?
    • Do I want more living space indoors or outdoors?
    • Is it important that I live near an airport? Hospital?
      • Do I need a furnished home?
    • Do I want to live in a gated community?

There are many more questions to consider. The point is to get a head start so that you can narrow down your search to what you really need before you tackle your wants.

Decide on a (realistic) budget

There are many expat destinations in Costa Rica and each community has its own average prices. Even within our Costa Ballena region, we have different price points on properties that depend on location and amenities.

Cost of living must be built into your budget, too, and the considerations here are quite different. Having a good realtor on hand is important because he or she will share information with you about average local monthly expenses. Car maintenance costs, home owner’s associations costs, taxes, food, going out, childcare, rental rates, etc., are all important considerations.

Plan at least one visit to your favorite locations

Researching a place online can only be so revealing. We highly recommend that you visit the Costa Ballena before buying here. As much as we love it, it may not be as ideal for you. Everyone has different preferences for climate, views, amenities and proximity to attractions.

You should plan to see various neighborhoods within each location to get a feel for your comfort in each of them.  Spending time in your top community choices will allow you to familiarize yourself with the area so that you make a more informed home buying decision. The best way to do this is to rent a home and stay in each of your locations of interest. We also suggest dining out at local restaurants, exploring the transportation options and shopping at nearby stores and markets. Every area in the Costa Ballena has its own individual feel.

The Southern Zone of Costa Rica is small enough to enjoy the many great communities and attractions here regularly. But it is still important to feel close to your home community.  Choosing your favorite in the Costa Ballena can be hard, but you will be rewarded with a strong sense of community no matter where you go. Keep an open mind before you arrive. You may think that you want one thing until you see what else is out there. You may not know if it’s right for you until you live it.

Use a top-notch realtor in Costa Rica

Having an expert agent on your property hunting team is essential. You want someone local who will show you the ins and outs of each community in their region of service. You want to make an informed decision and it helps to learn about more than just properties in your search process. Without the help of a seasoned and trustworthy agent by your side, you could easily end up making a costly mistake by choosing the wrong location for you.

Choose an agent with excellent contacts and client reviews shows that they are good at proactively communicating with clients and easy to reach. A great buyer's agent should be ready to go see a new listing in-person as soon as it comes on the market to determine if it fits your needs and report back to you. Our Costa Ballena region can be a fast-paced market for the best positioned listings. You want an agent who is on the ball and ready to report the best listings to you as soon as they come on the market.

Overcome remote home buyer jitters

You may be nervous about making an offer overseas. Moving long distance is a fresh start in a new country with a new culture, new people, and new experiences. No matter how many properties you’ve bought and sold before, we know that the process is different (and a little scary) when it’s in a new country. Ask us any and all of the questions that you have. We understand your nerves and our team of agents are friendly, helpful and open to conversing with you about our lives in Costa Rica. We have coached hundreds of buyers and sellers through the processes of Costa Rica real estate.

We invite you to get in touch with us today.  It’s never too early to start your search for that special property in Costa Rica!  

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