How many Americans live in Costa Rica?

As many as 50,000 Americans live in Costa Rica, according to the U.S. State Department. And many of them are Baby Boomers flocking to the country’s tropical beaches to retire. They’re drawn to Costa Rica’s biodiversity, the political stability, and its cheap health care.

How much is rent in Costa Rica?

While home prices vary depending on the city and town, Costa Rica’s overall housing market is one that is both strong and relatively affordable. According to Numbeo, the average rent per month for a one-bedroom apartment in a city center is just $475.13.

Can I use US dollars in Costa Rica?

Something many visitors to Costa Rica find convenient is the fact that U.S. dollars are accepted virtually everywhere. This means you won’t have to waste a lot of time converting your cash into Costa Rican colones before you can start shopping.

Is real estate in Costa Rica a good investment?

Costa Rica is a beautiful country where buying real estate can be a really good investment, usually, property sells for a fraction of what it would cost you in the United States for something similar; property taxes are reasonable and whether you live here permanently or vacation occasionally the country has a lot to offer, not just in terms of beauty and excellent weather. When It comes to the every day life Costa Rica has a lot of pluses such as economic and political stability, friendly people, good options for work and education, good health services, and it is considered the best place in the world to retire abroad. So yes, buying real estate can be a good idea, as long as you go about it the right way.

Where is the best place to retire in Costa Rica?

It depends mainly on what you are looking for, however many expats choose these cities to retire in Costa Rica:

Tamarindo Real Estate

Dominical Real Estate

Santa Ana Real Estate

Nosara Real Estate

Jaco Real Estate

How much money do I need to retire in Costa Rica?

A single person can live on between $1,400 and $1,700 a month. Some single people scrape by on considerably less, and others spend hundreds of dollars more, depending on their lifestyle. Many retired couples live well on $2,000 per month and even better on $2,500 to $3,000.

Can US citizens retire in Costa Rica?

Residency: To qualify for Costa Rica’s pensionado visa, expats must prove that they have a pension of at least $1,000 coming in each month. (Here are the details of that program.) Once you have lived in Costa Rica for three years, you can apply for permanent residency.

What taxes do expats pay in Costa Rica?

Residents pay Costa Rican income tax at relatively low rates on a scale of 1% to 25%. Non-residents (including Americans who spend less than 183 days a year in Costa Rica) are also subject to a flat withholding tax on any Costa Rican income they may have, at either 10%, 15%, or 25%, depending on the income type.

Does Costa Rica tax retirement income?

You do not have to pay tax on your Social Security income, pension, investment income, etc. And if you telecommute to a job abroad, have a business or rental property in your home country, online business, or are a freelancer, you do not have to pay income tax in Costa Rica.

Can I collect US Social Security in Costa Rica?

Receiving U.S. federal benefits via direct deposit is mandated by U.S. law. Social Security Beneficiaries in Costa Rica have several options for receiving benefits via direct deposit.

How long does it take to get residency in Costa Rica?

After two years of pensionado, rentista, or inversionista status, application can be made for permanent residency in Costa Rica. This is usually unrestricted, and working is permitted. Citizens of Spain can apply for permanent residency right away. Permanent residents must visit Costa Rica at least once each year.

How long can I stay in Costa Rica with a passport?

US passport must be valid for a minimum of one day from the day you enter Costa Rica. As a tourist US nationals cannot stay more than 90 days. For a stay longer than 90 days a residence permit must be established.

Can a foreigner own beachfront property in Costa Rica?

You have the same property ownership rights as Costa Ricans except for beachfront property. The Maritime Zone Law governs about 95% of Costa Rica coastline. The first 200 meters from the high tide mark define the Maritime Zone boundary. Property within the Maritime Zone is available only as a concession for use defined by the Maritime Zone Law and other regulations set by municipalities and the Institute of Tourism. Only Costa Rican citizens can own a concession. However, you can enter a partnership with a Costa Rican as the majority partner.

Can a foreigner purchase Costa Rica real estate?

Any foreigner, resident or non-resident has the same rights as a citizen, except for voting rights in presidential and municipal elections and can, therefore, purchase and own Costa Rica real estate legally.

Are home inspections common?

They are not common, but they are extremely useful. We highly recommend contracting an experienced home inspector, or at the very least a trusted contractor, to examine your potential purchase from top to bottom and provide a quote for necessary repairs.

Are electricity and water available in rural areas of Costa Rica?

This largely depends on the location, but most properties in Costa Rica have electricity and water brought to the property boundary. It is the responsibility of the owner to connect those utilities on the property itself.

 

How many homes should I view before buying one?

That’s up to you! For sure, home shopping today is easier today than ever before. The ability to search for homes online and see pictures, even before setting a foot outside the comfort of your living room, has completely changed the home buying game. Convenience is at an all-time high. But, nothing beats visiting a home to see how it looks and ‘feels’ in person.

Should I sell my current home before buying a new one?

If the built-up equity in your current home will be applied to the down payment on the new home, naturally the former will need to be sold first.

Some home buyers decide to turn their current home into an investment property, renting it out. In that case, the current home will not need to be sold. However, your loan advisor will still need to evaluate your risk profile and credit history to determine whether making a loan on a new home is feasible while retaining title to the old home.

Buyers often have a short time frame to sell their current home when relocating to a new city because of a job transfer. If you are moving but taking a position with the same employer, check to see if they offer relocation assistance to help offset some of the costs.

When buying a new home, what upgrades should we go for? What holds the most value? Do we upgrade the lot? Pick more square footage in the house? Add an extra bedroom?, etc.

A lot depends on why you are buying the house. Are you buying it mostly as a home or mostly as an investment? There is a difference.

For the most part, upgrades are high-profit items for builders. They aren’t designed to enhance the value of the house, but make you happier with the house you do buy.

If you are looking at your home as an investment, then you buy from the smaller to medium size in the tract and spend only a minimal amount on upgrades. If you are looking at your purchase as a home, then you select upgrades that will enhance your quality of living.

One rule of thumb is to always upgrade the carpet and padding.

I have to make a choice between an updated home in an older neighborhood or a newer home in a more modern neighborhood. The home in the older neighborhood has almost everything I want and is much larger, but which makes the most sense as an investment?

If your goal is to buy a home for it’s resale value and the one you are thinking of buying in the older neighborhood is at the upper end of values for that neighborhood, then it may not be the wisest choice. If it is similar or lower in price to the others, then there should be no problem, because pricing should be considered in relation to the local neighborhood and not compared to homes in other neighborhoods (for the most part)

Plus, is it a neighborhood on the decline, or are others going to be fixing things up, too, so that it is a neighborhood that is improving? It could turn out to be a very good deal as long as you don’t “overpay” because of the recent improvements.

Remember that you also buy a home for it’s value to you as a “home,” and that is something else you should consider. Which neighborhood would you AND your family feel most comfortable in?

I have a family friend who is a Realtor. I like her and she is a help but she gives me one price to sell my home for and I think it is too low. So I called another agent who suggested a price more in line with my expectations. Who do I choose?

You might want to consult a couple more Realtors on the market value of your home. Most of the estimates should be in the same ballpark.

It could be that your friend is being more honest with you about the value of your home and the other Realtor gave you a higher number because he already knew you expected it. This is called “Buying a Listing” and is the subject of an article on our web site.

Or it could simply be that your friend is a good friend, but not that great of a real estate agent.

Mixing business and friendships is always risky to the friendship. On the other hand, if your friend is truly competent and was providing wise advice, she may be offended if you ignore the advice and choose another agent.

Why should I use a real estate salesperson?

A real estate salesperson is more than just a “sales person.” They act on your behalf as your agent, providing you with advice and guidance and doing a job – helping you buy or sell a home. While it is true they get paid for what they do, so do other professions that provide advice, guidance, and have a service to sell –such as Certified Public Accountants and Attorneys

The Internet has opened up a world of information that wasn’t previously available to homebuyers and seller. The data on listings available for sale is almost current – but not quite. There are times when you need the most current information about what has sold or is for sale, and the only way to get that is with an agent.

If you’re selling a home, you gain access to the most buyers by being listed in the Multiple Listing Service. Only a licensed real estate agent who is a member of your local MLS can get you listed there – which then gets you automatically listed on some of the major real estate web sites. If you’re buying or selling a home, the MLS is your agent’s best tool.

However, the role of an agent has changed in the last couple of years. In the past, agents were the only way home buyers and sellers could access information. Now agents are evolving. Because today’s home buyers and sellers are so much better informed than in the past, expertise and ability are becoming more important.

The real estate agent is becoming more of a “guide” than a “salesperson” — your personal representative in buying or selling a home.

What is the difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker?

Most states require real estate sales professionals to be licensed by the state, so that they can control education and experience requirements and have a central authority to resolve consumer problems.

The terminology used to identify real estate professionals varies a little from state to state. Brokers are generally required to have more education and experience than real estate salespersons or agents.

The person you normally deal with is a real estate agent or salesperson. The salesperson is licensed by the state, but must work for a broker. All listings are placed in the broker’s name, not the salesperson’s.

A broker can deal directly with home buyers and sellers, or can have a staff of salespersons or agents working for him or her.