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22 Dec 2016
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Costa Rica Real Estate

Retirement in Costa Rica is exciting, especially if you’re buying a new home. Los Sueños Resort and Marina aims to make your dream of life in a balmy tropical paradise come true. As always, there are things to know before you buy.

If you are buying property, you’ll need an attorney who is also a Public Notary (not all attorneys are notaries), a surveyor, and a translator. Ask your Realtor for recommendations, but shop around. Closing costs include registration, notary and attorney fees, documentary stamps and transfer taxes. The bases for these costs amount to about 6% of the purchase price. The good news is, your team at HRG can guide you through all of this and point you in the right direction where needed.

You’ll need a local bank account and you have a choice between a private or state bank. State-owned banks guarantee all deposits, among other advantages. Private banks have shorter lines and the staff is more likely to be bilingual. Savings accounts are the most common and easiest to open. A debit card linked to a savings account will work for most transactions. Most banks require:


  • Identification: A DIMEX ID card
  • Minimum Deposit: Savings, US$25; checking, $500-$1,000.
  • Utility Bill: Electric, water, Internet or telephone bill with physical address or a rental agreement.
  • Proof of Income: Certification of Income (Certificacion de Ingresos) prepared by a CPA.
  • U.S. Tax Forms: U.S. citizens must fill out tax forms and other documentation with foreign banks to inform the IRS of offshore bank accounts and renewed annually.
  • A reference letter from your previous bank (even if that bank is in the United States or Canada).


Retiring in Costa Rica means you’ll also need to apply for a residency visa, typically one of two types: pensionado (pension income of at least $1,000 from Social Security or other retirement plan) or rentista ($2,500 monthly income for at least two years or a $60,000 deposit in a Costa Rican bank approved by immigration authorities. The list of required documents (all must be translated into Spanish by an official translator) is extensive. Hire a lawyer and assemble the required documents before you make the move. You can receive Social Security while living in Costa Rica.

When you receive the official paperwork approving your residency, you have a month to have your resident ID card (cedula) issued and apply for the Caja (national health insurance). Pay for your first month and take the receipt to your cedula appointment. Cost depends on type of residency, income and age. You’ll need to keep paying your caja every month unless you can prove you are insured otherwise.

A retirement home at Los Sueños is a great investment; the master-planned community offers more than 600 private homes, from expansive villas to one, two and three bedroom condos, and amenities that include a full service international marina, an 18 hole, championship golf course, a private beach club and private rainforest reserve, and the marina village complete with restaurants, a bar, a bank, a car rental agency, a wine and spirits shop, art galleries, and more.

The professionals at HRG Properties & Rentals have the local knowledge and experience to help you find and enjoy the creature comforts of your new retirement home near the ocean in Costa Rica.