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My mortgage refinance in a Costa Rica Bank

Mortgage refinanceI had the opportunity to a mortgage refinance on different properties in Costa Rica in December last year. So I’d end up with a mortgage on just my house. That way, I’d have the other properties free and clear. With the mortgage refinance I would pay no mortgage administration fees and make a much lower monthly payment.

To my surprise, my bank has me rated as a Triple A client like someone who manages millions in his account. I do, but in Colones, not something to rate me as a Triple A client. I have lived here long enough not to doubt their rating. So I said nothing and I just went with the flow.

Most of you come from a culture where banks are still more or less serviced minded. In Costa Rica, banks are quite the opposite. You will have to get used to the fact that you need to complete a long list of requirements, no matter what you need from them. Who serves who…


In this case, I received a list of requirements needed to apply for the mortgage refinance on my property in Costa Rica. And surprise – surprise… They had already 90% of the documents requested on their computer but still required me to deliver.

Bank and credit card statements

They wanted a copy of my DIMEX residency card, a copy of my old residency card which had a different number, to prove I’m the same person now as I was in 1995. The bank also requested banks statements and credit card statements that they can just print off their computer since I have my bank accounts with them. Also, they needed proof of income through a CPA, which they get every year from me anyway so they will keep my accounts open.

mortgage refinance

Our house is owned in a corporation

A never ending list

Every time I delivered a completed list, the bank would take another week to come up with a new list. They wanted references from suppliers. I don’t have any suppliers except for my webmaster, the guy who prints my business cards as well as the attendant as the gas station. I pay them all in cash. Oh, and the phone and water company. They also wanted references from my clients, who unfortunately had to be bothered with this ridiculous issue.

Power of attorney

By the end of February, all the paperwork was ready to be signed but for one little issue. Our house is owned in a corporation of which I am the only shareholder and general power of attorney without any limits. The bank’s attorneys needed me to give myself a special power to be able to get a mortgage on the house.

I decided to have the same attorney do this at the cost of another $75 as I never understood the logic of this. At least I got my refinancing done, just under three months’ time.


mortgage refinance

At least I got my refinancing done, just under three months’ time


Yesterday, an attorney we do business with, and uses a different bank than I do, sent me an email. “We recently changed our Escrow account to another bank. We are just getting used to the new procedures. After 22 years with a bank they told us they no longer want our escrow business. That is because of increased regulations – go figure! So we had to change banks.”

My sanity

The experience of getting a mortgage refinance in Costa Rica has taken me to the limits of sanity a few times. But my almost 40 years of Costa Rica experience has helped me a lot to stay more or less sane.

I did want to give you my experiences as of lately with Costa Rica banks, so you can decide on your tactics ahead of time.

No matter where in the world you apply for a real estate mortgage or a mortgage refinance. You might encounter similar problems though. In the US, when you need a mortgage, you’d be better off to contact an experienced mortgage broker, for a more personal approach than banks usually have.

Contact the AE MLS Costa Rica

For Costa Rica real estate, with or without a mortgage, contact us now.

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Ivo Henfling

Your West-side of San Jose real estate agent, covering Escazu and Santa Ana, Rohrmoser and Ciudad Colon.If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the Central Valley or looking for any property for sale in Escazu or Santa Ana, you need to contact Costa Rica real estate agent Ivo Henfling. Ivo has been selling Costa Rica real estate on the westside of San Jose, in the locations of Rohrmoser, Sabana, Escazu, Santa Ana and Ciudad Colon for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and those other areas. For Ivo, a deal is not a good one unless both buyer and seller are happy.

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