Tips for buying a condo in Costa Rica!

Costa Rica is a country known for its natural beauty and quality of life, so it is understandable that many people wish to have their own home here. However, the decision to purchase a property should not be taken lightly, as it involves a large financial and emotional commitment.

One of the first aspects to consider when choosing a house is the stage of life the person is in. If they are a young couple, they may prefer a small, cozy house that suits their immediate needs. On the other hand, if you are a family with children, you will probably need a larger house with a yard or garden where the children can play. In addition, in the case of elderly people, it may be advisable to look for a house that can guarantee comfort and safety.

Location is another crucial factor to consider. For example, if you work in the city center, you will probably prefer a house close to or with easy access to public transportation. On the other hand, if you are looking for a vacation home, you could opt for a property near the beach or in a mountainous area to enjoy nature.

When purchasing a property, it is essential to review the necessary requirements, such as the availability of utilities, legal documentation and the corresponding taxes. In the case of opting for investment with own resources, it is necessary to develop strategies in the purchase and sale of real estate to obtain the property with the best conditions; while, if the financing option is preferred, it is important to evaluate aspects such as interest rates, payment terms and the requirements of the financial entity. In this sense, it is recommended to seek professional advice to find the best investment or financing option that adapts to your needs and economic possibilities. Owning your own home in Costa Rica can be a dream come true, but it is essential to take into account all these aspects to make the right choice and ensure the happiness and peace of mind of all the people who make up the household.

The first thing to keep in mind is to know what a Condominium in Costa Rica is.

In Costa Rica, a Condominium is a type of property that consists of a group of housing units that share common areas, such as swimming pools, gyms, parks, sports fields, among others. Each housing unit is privately owned, and the owner is responsible for the maintenance and payment of the corresponding taxes. In addition, condominiums usually have an internal regulation that establishes the norms and rules to be followed regarding the use of the common areas and the coexistence among the owners. It is important to note that, in Costa Rica, the term “Condominium” is not only applied to housing complexes, but is also used to describe commercial and office buildings that operate under the same concept of horizontal property and sharing of common areas.

What is a Vertical Condominium?

A vertical condominium is a type of property consisting of a multi-level building with multiple living units, which share common areas such as stairways, elevators, hallways, parking lots and other facilities. Each housing unit is privately owned, and the owner is responsible for the maintenance and payment of the corresponding taxes.

The term “vertical” is used to refer to thestructure of the building, which consists of multiple floors or levels, and where the living units are located one above the other. This type of condominium is very common in urban areas where available space is limited. and seek to maximize its use.

Vertical condominiums usually have an internal regulation that establishes the norms and rules to be followed regarding the use of the common areas and the coexistence among the owners. In addition, owners must pay a maintenance fee for the upkeep of common areas and shared services.

What is a Horizontal Condominium?

A horizontal condominium is a type of property consisting of several housing units, such as houses or apartments, located on a shared plot of land. Each housing unit is privately owned, and the owner is responsible for the maintenance and payment of the corresponding taxes.

Unlike vertical condominiums, horizontal condominiums have a low-rise structure and are usually located in suburban or rural areas, where more space is available. Horizontal condominiums share common areas such as swimming pools, sports courts, parks and recreation areas, and each owner has the right to use them.

Horizontal condominiums also have internal regulations that establish the norms and rules to be followed regarding the use of common areas and coexistence among owners. In addition, owners must pay a maintenance fee for the upkeep of common areas and shared services.

A horizontal condominium is a gated and usually very exclusive community where the owners share common areas and expenses, and are responsible for maintaining their property in good condition.

What is a Condominium in a Maritime Terrestrial Zone or beach zone?

The structure of the Condominium in general will always be vertical, horizontal or mixed, regardless of the zone in which it is built, what is important to explain is the difference between the beach zone and the maritime-terrestrial zone, due to the fact that by logic not all the properties that are in front of the sea or close to the beach, have the same conditions or the same legal nature. 

Land located in the maritime-terrestrial zone maintains special regulations for its use and enjoyment, and can be used as long as there is a concession in place. Indeed, it is possible to acquire land that is in the vicinity of the beach or land that maintains a view of the sea, and this property has no complications or additional requirements that must be met for its use and enjoyment because it is not located in the maritime-terrestrial zone. However, in the event that one intends to acquire a Condominium property or to buy and build a house on the beach, it is necessary to take into account that such property, if it is located in the Maritime Terrestrial Zone, cannot have full ownership of the property, since it is regulated by a special law, and at the most it can be exploited by means of a previously granted concession. In Costa Rica, beaches are considered public property, which means that the owner or proprietor is the State up to a certain extension. For this reason, it is of utmost importance to have a correct advice that will allow you to avoid the consequences of a bad investment in the future without having taken into account these tips. 

What are the general characteristics of the Condominium property?

 The term “Condominium” in Costa Rica refers to a form of shared ownership of real estate, in which each owner owns a private unit in a building or complex of buildings, and shares ownership and use of common areas such as gardens, swimming pools, gymnasiums and other amenities.

The following are some of the common characteristics of condominium ownership in Costa Rica:

a) Shared ownership: Condominium owners share ownership of common areas and services, and must contribute to maintenance and administration expenses.

b) Internal regulations: Each condominium has internal regulations that establish the rules and regulations for the use of the common areas, the behavior of the residents, and other important aspects for community living.

c) Administration: Condominiums are managed by a board of directors elected by the owners, or by a management company hired for this purpose.

d) Common services: Condominiums usually offer common services such as security, maintenance of gardens and green areas, cleaning of common areas, and other services according to the needs of each condominium.

e) Location: Condominiums are usually located in urban and tourist areas of Costa Rica, with close access to amenities such as stores, restaurants, public transportation and other places of interest.

f) Variety of options: There are a variety of condominiums available in Costa Rica, from small apartment buildings to luxury complexes with multiple amenities and services.

Costa Rica condos are a popular choice for those looking for a shared property in a convenient location, with a variety of services and amenities available. However, it is important to understand the rules and regulations of each condominium before purchasing a unit and committing to community living.

What is the regulatory framework governing condominium property in Costa Rica?

One of the legal norms that regulates condominium property is the Law Regulating Condominium Property, number 7933 and its regulation n° 32303-MIVAH-MEIC-TUR.  The Law Regulating Condominium Property presents the following important general aspects to be taken into account:

1) Purpose: The purpose of the law is to regulate condominium property, establishing the rights and obligations of the owners, the organization and administration of the condominium, the conservation and maintenance of the common areas, and the resolution of conflicts.

2) Scope of application: The law applies to all condominium properties, whether horizontal or vertical, located in the national territory.

3) Definition of condominium property: The law defines condominium property as the ownership of two or more private units in a building or on land divided into parcels, together with the common parts.

4) Creation of the condominium: The law establishes the procedures for the creation of the condominium, including the preparation of a public deed and registration in the National Registry.

5) Organization and administration of the condominium: The law establishes the manner in which the condominium must be organized and administered, including the formation of the owners’ meeting and the election of the administrator.

6) Rights and obligations of the owners: The law establishes the rights and obligations of the owners regarding the use and enjoyment of their private units and common areas, the payment of maintenance fees and common expenses, and the conservation of their private units.

7) Conservation and maintenance of common areas: The law establishes the obligations of the owners regarding the conservation and maintenance of the common areas, as well as the manner in which the necessary repairs must be made.

8) Conflict resolution: The law establishes procedures for the resolution of conflicts between owners and between owners and the condominium management, including the possibility of resorting to mediation and arbitration.

9) Penalties for non-compliance: The law establishes penalties for owners who do not comply with their obligations and the condominium rules.

What are the economic and financial aspects to consider when buying a Condominium property?

When considering the purchase of a condominium property, it is important to take into account the economic and financial aspects that may affect your investment. Some of the aspects to consider are:

1) Purchase price: The purchase price of the property is an important factor to consider, as it may vary depending on the location, size, characteristics and market supply and demand.

2) Closing Costs: When purchasing a condominium property, you should consider closing costs, which may include realtor commissions, taxes, recording fees and other costs associated with the transaction.

3) Maintenance fees: Most condominiums have maintenance fees that cover the upkeep of common areas, utilities and other condominium activities. It is important to consider these fees when calculating the total cost of ownership.

4) Taxes: In addition to closing taxes, you should also take into account annual taxes, such as real estate taxes, which may vary depending on the value of the property and location.

5) Interest rates: If you need to obtain a mortgage to buy the property, you should be aware of the interest rates of mortgage loans, as they may affect your ability to pay.

6) Term of the loan: The term of the mortgage loan is another important factor to consider, as it affects the amount of the monthly payment and the total amount of interest paid over time.

7) Age of the condominium: The age of the condominium may affect its market value and the amount of maintenance fees charged.

8) Resale value: It is important to consider the resale value of the property when buying in a condominium, as it can affect your long-term return on investment.

What are the best areas in Costa Rica to buy a Condominium property?

There are many excellent areas to buy a condo in Costa Rica, but it all depends on your needs and personal preferences. 

Some of the best areas to buy a condo in Costa Rica are considered to be:

1) Santa Ana: A popular choice near San Jose, Santa Ana has many new and modern condo options in a central and accessible location.

2) Escazú: Located on the outskirts of San José, Escazú is an upscale suburb that has many luxury condominiums and is close to shopping, restaurants and entertainment.

3) Guanacaste: If you are looking to live in a beach area, Guanacaste is an excellent option. The area has many beach condominiums with stunning ocean views. Especially the Papagayo area in Guanacaste is a beautiful and exclusive coastal area that attracts condo buyers for several reasons. Some of the best features of the Papagayo area to buy a condo are:

  • Spectacular beaches: Papagayo has some of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica, such as Playa Nacascolo, Playa Hermosa, and Playa Panama. This makes the area very attractive for sun, sea and nature lovers.
  • Exclusive environment: Papagayo is known for being a luxury vacation destination and an exclusive area to buy high quality properties. Condominiums in the area often have luxury finishes and high-end amenities.
  • Close to the international airport: Daniel Oduber International Airport is only a 30-minute drive from Papagayo, making it very accessible to international buyers.
  • Outdoor activities: There are many outdoor activities to enjoy in the Papagayo area, such as sport fishing, surfing, kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving. There are also many options for hiking, biking and golf.
  • Constantly growing development: The Papagayo area is constantly growing and developing, which means that there are many new and modern condominium options available.

In Arista Costa Rica, we have a select group of legal professionals, distinguished by their extensive training, experience and specialization in various legal areas, ensuring a service of excellence, which is ready to advise you from the integral context in the previous study and purchase of your property in Condominium. 

If you are uncertain about what type of legal advice or service you require, our firm is prepared to offer you expert and personalized guidance, elucidating the different alternatives to provide you with objective and customized solutions to your requirements.

We cordially invite you to contact us, so that together we can analyze your needs and expectations in order to provide you with the right solution and the highest quality   that will help you to fulfill your dream of acquiring your property in a Condominium.

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