Buying property and moving to Costa Rica made easy
It’s easy to understand why visitors think about moving to Costa Rica: beautiful country, friendly people and cheaper living. What’s not to like? However, it pays to remember that life here is different. If you’re thinking about the ex pat life in a tropical paradise, read on for our top five tips.
1. Visit often
Come at different times of the year. Make sure to visit during the rainy season, May to November in most areas of the country. September and October receive the most rainfall and it can be a lot of rain. Visit different areas, you may love the dry tropical forests of Guanacaste and hate the cloud forests of Monteverde. Think about whether you need to be in the thick of things or would prefer a quieter life in a more rural area. Talk to other ex pats during your visits and read everything you can find about living in Costa Rica. Above all, check it out for yourself.
2. Permanent, full time or part time residency
You’ll also need to decide if you want to live in Costa Rica year-round or seasonally. You can stay three months on an ordinary tourist visa but don’t spend your time on tourist activities. Find a place to live and go about your daily life to get a feel the lifestyle—it’s slower and ordinary business can take circuitous turns. If you decide to become a permanent resident, hire a lawyer and assemble the required documents before you make the move, you’ll save yourself time and angst.
3. Money matters
Before you take the plunge, set up a local bank account. Paperwork is king in CR and it pays to dot every “I” and cross every “t” exactly as required. Costa Rican banks are big on knowing their customers to comply with stringent anti-money-laundering laws. Your best bet is to find an international bank. Ask the attorney you hired to help you navigate the red tape or recommend an accountant to help you figure it all out.
4. Buying property
Don’t get ahead of yourself and buy the first property you see. There are many properties for sale and you’ll need to understand the legalities and realities of owning property in Costa Rica. Hire an attorney—ask your Realtor and other ex pats for recommendations. While anyone can buy property, in Costa Rica it can be tricky to establish clear title to the property. Of course, at a master-planned development such as Los Sueños, you can be sure of dealing with professionals.
5. Learn some Spanish.
You don’t have to be fluent, you just need to hold simple conversations, ask for everyday items and generally follow the conversation. Most Ticos are more than willing to help you out with the language if you stumble and they’ll appreciate the fact you’re making the effort to speak their language.
If you’re seeing a theme to our tips, it’s that you should take your time. Life in Costa Rica moves more slowly, but things still get done. You want to be sure you’re making the right move.