We know that moving house and/or becoming independent is a difficult and important decision for the rest of your life. That’s why we’ve put together this definitive guide with the keys to choosing your perfect Home in Costa Rica. It is important that you do not determine your decision by first impressions and that you remember that a beautiful Real Estate in Costa Rica on the outside does not mean that it does not have problems on the inside that can cost you dearly in the long run.

Ten key steps to choose your ideal home

First of all, decide whether you want to buy or rent. Houses for Sale or Houses for Rent? What is better?

Keys to choosing your ideal home:

The first thing to keep in mind is the rule of the three L’s (location, location and location), and the three P’s (position, price and perfection).

In short, the key points to look out for when choosing your ideal home are

  • Location
  • The Price
  • Perfection
  • The Space
  • The Distribution
  • Security
  • The Age of the Home
  • Energy Efficiency Certificate
  • The Community
  • Analyze it not only on the Outside but Also the Inside
  • Fixed Costs: Central Heating? Water? Light? Community Costs?
  • Garage: Will I Have to Rent a Parking Space?

Well, now we go one by one and step by step..

Steps to choose the best housing:

Step 1: Make your list of wishes and needs

Make a list of wants and needs to check off the requirements of each of the homes in Costa Rica you will visit. This way you will be able to compare.

Step 2: Calculate your Budget

  • How much money do I have?
  • How much money can I borrow?
  • How much am I willing to spend?

By answering these questions, you can determine the range in which your budget will be adjusted.

Step 3: Look for All Possible Ways

Internet: The interesting thing here is that in Sausko.com you configure your filters with the criteria that you are looking for, in order to make your search for your home more pleasant.

Real Estate Agencies: You have many Real Estate Agencies Online in Costa Rica or Real Estate Agent in Costa Rica that can help you but make sure that they work as you like. A good real estate agency will be in charge of making an economic study for you, a market study with all the properties that meet your criteria, give you their opinion based on their knowledge and valuation and make the economic assessment of each property, negotiate with the owners and present them with your proposal, even look for the financing, find out if the property has any hidden information or debts, prepare all the paperwork with the notary, among many other things.

On the other hand, make sure that the real estate agency you choose works well by checking the opinions of clients in forums or on the Internet by searching in google “Opinions + the name of the real estate agency”. But above all, even if you think their fees are high, you may get them for free, since the money they save you by negotiating the price may be much higher than their fees.

Step 4: Get Informed About the Costa Rica Real Estate Market

The more knowledge you have about the real estate market in which you intend to purchase a home, the better prepared you will be to make a good decision. Here is an special report from the New York Times on the real estate sector in Costa Rica.

Step 5: Make a Planing with the Properties to Visit

Once you have your favorites, contact the agencies or individuals and make a plan to visit the number of houses you consider appropriate, always depending on the availability of the time you have. We recommend that you don’t see more than 5 properties a day, because you might get tired and lose heart and not be objective.

To make a good decision, our recommendation is that you visit 15 to 20 properties, then limit yourself to 10, finally 5 until you finally decide on one.

Step 6: Make a Comparative Chart with all the Properties in Costa Rica you have Visited

The best thing is to visit them in the morning to get a good look at the details, but don’t forget to stop by at night to see how noisy the area is. Once you have it, give a score to each of the essential items for your ideal house and add up the total points. It is clear that the day you visit your ideal house you will know it because surely each house you will see will be compared with the best one.

Properties in Costa Rica

Step 7: The 3×3 Rule, Reduce your List to 3 Properties in Costa Rica

When your dream home list is reduced to three and you analyze more detailed aspects such as the following

Dimensions of the housing stays: think well about what family situation you are in, do you have children? are you planning on having children? do you have older people who may become your dependents over time? All these things are important when deciding how many rooms you need. What you need today may not be worth it tomorrow.

  • General physical condition of the floor, walls, furniture, tiles, ceilings, floors
  • Do you have heating? Do the radiators work?
  • Pipes and electrical installation When was the last time you changed them?
  • That the services work correctly (water pressure)
  • That the vents are in good condition
  • What businesses or facilities are around? It seems silly but how close the supermarket, pharmacy, subway … gives you a comfort that can be transformed into quality of life
  • Do you have a garage? If you don’t have a garage, and it is essential for you to take into account when deciding your budget that you need to have a part for the monthly rent. And another question that comes with it is can you park well in the area? If the answer is no you may not have the option to pay for it.
  • What is the orientation of the property? The best thing is that you study the orientation of the building, for that maybe the best option is that you approach at different times of the day to see if the apartment has enough light. And not only because of the light but also because of the temperature. There are times when the internal floors are better oriented than those facing the outside. Remember that the sun rises in the west but moves throughout the year.
  • Which floor is it? Think that the higher the floor, the less noise and the lower the floor, the closer it is to the street and therefore the louder it is. That’s why penthouses are preferred by most people.
  • The age of the house: Many times the important thing is not that it is new but that it is well built with good quality materials. There are new constructions that before one year already have leaks in the garage or cracks in the walls. Although it is true that facilities such as electricity and water deteriorate greatly over time and it is not cheap to change the water pipes in a building 30 years old. So it’s best to check that all that is changed recently.
  • The community Are you sure you want close neighbors? It’s a difficult decision. On the outskirts of cities there are usually affordable individual houses without having to pay community fees. But if you want downtown areas you will always have to live with it. The expenses also depend a lot on it. The buildings with few sales are calmer but the fixed costs increase as it can be the doorman, the repairs, the administration…
  • Is it too noisy? Ideally, you should visit the house at different times to check if it is noisy. But it would be best if they let you live there one day.

Step 8: Negotiate the Price

Once you have identified all the pros and cons of the house you can negotiate the price with more arguments. So all you have to do is calculate the average price of the area by researching the surrounding apartments or homes for sale with dimensions, age of the property and price. According to the latest study by idealist: Buyers are still squeezing: they still demand discounts of more than 20% on the sale price

Do you want to know if an apartment is expensive or cheap? Compare it with similar properties

Step 9: Make your Offer:

Be careful, because most of the real estate agencies ask you for a sign if you want to make an offer to the owner to see that you are interested. The first offer you make should be lower than your maximum limit. Once made, the real estate agent must answer you in less than three days.

But the best way to negotiate, as we said, is to have an absolute vision of the surrounding real estate market to have the power and argument based on contrasted and true information. The time invested in investigating the whole market can mean significant economic savings in the long term.

Do you agree? In case you accept it, the contract of sale should be elaborated as soon as possible with the final price you have proposed.

Do you disagree? In case you reject it, you may be made a counter-offer. It is better to think it over and respond to it in several days.

Another piece of advice: Make it clear to the buyer that you are serious and that you have the money. But above all, let them know that you are serious.

Step 10: Choose the Payment Method Carefully:

Do you have money available? Great, then all you have to do is contact the owner or real estate agent, sign the papers and enjoy your ideal home.

Do you need financing? Choosing your ideal mortgage is one of the most important things to live well for the rest of your life. Choosing a mortgage with low interest rates, comfortable terms… are essential. Choose the mortgage that best suits your needs