Costa Rica housing has become a phenomenal location for expatriate retirees because of the fantastic tropical climate, overwhelming beauty, and incredibly affordable cost of living. However, there are still some questions involving where to buy your home and how to go about the purchasing process. Before you actually make the move, spend a month or so on vacation in different regions of Costa Rica, learning what it’s like to live in each, as the climate varies based on elevation and proximity to the shoreline. Prices will vary as well, depending upon your goals.
If you are aiming to live in a reasonable small home within a suburban or even urban area, you can really find a bargain. Homes in the rural areas tend to be more expensive due to the luxuries that are typically provided, the size of the home, and the fact that there is usually land involved.
The majority of homes and neighborhoods in Costa Rica would be classified as middle class, with lower middle class homes in a Tico neighborhood (Tico being the 98% of the population that identifies as white or mixed heritage) being around 400 square feet in size and costing between $25,000-50,000 USD. Upper middle class homes in the same areas are slightly larger and can cost anywhere from $50,000-300,000 USD, depending on your extravagance. Luxury homes have no limits, as is the case almost in every country in the world.
Most people opt to live at a reasonably modest level, taking into consideration the Costa Rican lifestyle and not flaunting a background of greater value. It makes the most sense to choose a small home in which you can be comfortable during your retirement and enjoy spending your retirement dollars on more entertaining purposes.
In terms of Costa Rica housing, ownership of land is a constitutional right, whether you are a citizen of the country or not.
However, going through the proper channels to purchase a home is recommended. You should contact the reputable AMCHA (Costa Rican Chamber of Realtors), the Association of Residents in San Jose, and a lawyer, who will be responsible for going to the National Property Registry to make sure the property you intend to purchase is legal and free of liens so that it is ready for sale. The lawyer will also help you with all proper documentation.
To get the best deals on your home purchases, work with a Tico friend in the country, since a seller may raise the price of their home knowing that the purchaser is a foreigner. You’ll find in the meantime that these individuals are also excellent bargainers. Try negotiating the price in local currency, since it has been devalued and will go a lot further than the American dollar. This is another area in which your Tico friend can help you.
To take a quick look at some additional great housing options check out this Costa Rica Adventure Package.
It’s jam packed with all kinds of things to see and do!