Real Estate in Santa Teresa and Mal Pais Costa Rica
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Costa Rica Real Estate Guide

Buying Titled Real Estate in Costa Rica (Fee Simple)

 

Buying real estate in Costa Rica is often easier than buying in other developing countries. Foreigners can own titled property in Costa Rica in their own name and share the same rights as a Costa Rican citizen.
There are two documents that describe "titled" or fee simple property which comprises most land except land in the maritime zone. The title (escritura) is registered in the National Registry (Registro Nacional), and manifests ownership of the property along with any liens, mortgages, judgments or other encumbrances. The registered survey map (plano catastral) records the size, measurements, and location along with other useful information like whether the land falls inside restricted areas such as IDA Land (co-owned with the government) or inside protected areas like national parks and reserves. The survey is NOT the ownership document and may even reflect a previous owner’s name. Ownership of the land is recorded in a separate department of the national registry. Both departments must be checked to verify that the ownership of the property and the mapping of the property coincide with the same piece of land.
Once a property is titled for the very first time, the “original inscription”, there is a three-year incubation period during which third parties can make a claim to the real estate. However, any new claims must carry a fair amount of proof before a title can be challenged. After three years, a claim can still be filed but calls for extraordinary circumstances. There is a ten-year statue of limitations for such claims.

Buying real estate in Costa Rica is often easier than buying in other developing countries. Foreigners can own titled property in Costa Rica in their own name and share the same rights as a Costa Rican citizen.

There are two documents that describe "titled" or fee simple property which comprises most land except land in the maritime zone. The title (escritura) is registered in the National Registry (Registro Nacional), and manifests ownership of the property along with any liens, mortgages, judgments or other encumbrances. The registered survey map (plano catastral) records the size, measurements, and location along with other useful information like whether the land falls inside restricted areas such as IDA Land (co-owned with the government) or inside protected areas like national parks and reserves. The survey is NOT the ownership document and may even reflect a previous owner’s name. Ownership of the land is recorded in a separate department of the national registry. Both departments must be checked to verify that the ownership of the property and the mapping of the property coincide with the same piece of land.

Once a property is titled for the very first time, the “original inscription”, there is a three-year incubation period during which third parties can make a claim to the real estate. However, any new claims must carry a fair amount of proof before a title can be challenged. After three years, a claim can still be filed but calls for extraordinary circumstances. There is a ten-year statue of limitations for such claims.

 

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