Unlike some other countries, it is not required to have CR citizenship, CR residence, nor even have permanent presence in the country to own land in Costa Rica.
In Costa Rica, the Constitution and the Laws protect private ownership of land, and foreigners enjoy the same rights as CR citizens, with the following exceptions: a) property given or sold to CR citizens as part of government aid programs and b) the concession land.
All properties are duly registered within the Registro Nacional (National Registry) and all relevant information about the title information and the survey maps must be duly recorded. Any modification in the status of a title or any claims that might affect it must also be noted on the title making possible to verify it.
Before buying land in Costa Rica you should get proper advice from a CR real estate Attorney, who will conduct a proper “Due Diligence” within the National Registry, Municipality and other Government offices. This is to verify that there are no liens on the property, the easements or encumbrances that can affect it, and that any and all taxes and dues are duly paid and current. Also, will be checked if the property has legal access to water and electricity, if there are zoning restrictions, conduct a house inspection and/or a survey verification, among other relevant matters.
Although, as indicated before, foreign ownership is fully permitted, it is advisable to purchase property through a CR corporation. Doing so, allows the purchaser to have flexibility, liability protection, and can help with the following: i) Estate and tax planning (if ownership is properly structured the foreigner can avoid for his/her heirs the probate procedure in CR.) Also, the regulations on corporate taxes, regarding write-off expenses, are a bit more flexible than the personal ones) and ii) With representation, thru the corporate books the owner can grant a special POA (Power of Attorney) for the diligences or acts required, thus not requiring the physical presence in Costa Rica of the property owner.
With the current Immigration law, the property (condo, house or lot) you purchased allows you – as well as your family – to apply for CR residency as an “investor”. The real estate investment requires to be at least US$ 200,000.00 dollars and you must also comply with the other requirements established in the Immigration law.