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Do you know the size of the Costa Rica condo you are buying?

Do you know the size of the Costa Rica condo you are buying?Last week I received a call from someone who bought a condo in Costa Rica from a developer. He ended up working for them after buying. We had a discussion about the size of the Costa Rica condo. Now he wants to sell the condo he bought there. Which is what made me write this blog.

As soon as a developer has had the survey drawn by a surveyor, he registers the condo in the National Register. By that time, the condo has not been built yet or mostly not been finished. So nobody checks if the survey is correct after the construction has been finished. At closing, you will get a deed and the size of the condo will be legally described as what the survey says.

That means that the legal size of the Costa Rica condo is what is described in the National Register.

In many cases, the National Register will not give a survey map number and will show “no se indica“. Why is that?


Many of these condos are offered at pre-construction prices and then the survey has not been presented to the National Register and the condo does not legally nor physically insist yet. When you buy real estate in Costa Rica and you get to an agreement with the seller, you should make sure you understand what you are signing for. So when you sign the purchase – sale agreement of the condo and you make your first down payment, the exact size is not known yet.

size of the Costa Rica condo
Condominium in Heredia

When you buy a Costa Rica condo from a real estate developer, you should inform yourself about the correct size of the Costa Rica condo. The only way to find out about the real size of a condo is checking the title of the condo in the National Register.

Older condominiums

It is quite common that you will find older condominiums that have a different size of the Costa Rica condo in the register than it does on the survey map. By law, both sides have to be equal. Due to this regulation, banks will not mortgage a condo with different measurements in the Registry and Cadaster. Unfortunately, to rectify, all the condominiums have to be rectified. So you will need the cooperation of every title owner.

Parking and storage

1.    Is there private parking for your condo?
2.    Are there one or two parking spots? One behind the other or one next to the other?
3.    Does that parking have its own title?
4.    Is there private storage in the building?
5.    Does this storage have its own title?

Condo Fee

In short, you either end up with one title for just the apartment or with three titles. I have seen condos for sale with 4 titles because originally there were 2 condos designed and the buyer decided to unite the two into one condo. Your condo fee is calculated based on the square footage of the condo (including parking and storage if those are private areas).

The thickness of the walls

The seller I am talking about gave me a higher number of square footage than what I found in the National Register. The seller told me that the difference is the thickness of the concrete block of the exterior walls. He insisted I should use this size as the developer has sold over 500 condos like this.

Do you know the size of the Costa Rica condo you are buying?
Condominium in Santa Ana


These condos sell at $180- $200 per square foot. Let me calculate this for you. The condo I am talking about measures 187 m2 (2,057 sq.ft.), which is roughly 57 linear meters times the thickness of the block, which is 0.12 m1 = almost 7 m2 (77 sq.ft.) x $14,000. 

That is a heck of a lot of money stuck in the thickness of some walls…The builders really built that area of 7 m2, but it was not registered by the surveyor. BUT, it does not make it right for the salespeople who offer you that condo with a size that is not the legally registered size of the Costa Rica condo. 
When you purchase a condominium in Costa Rica, you should always use a well experienced real estate agent in Costa Rica, preferably one affiliated to the American European Real estate Group, to represent you in the purchase.

Your own legal representative

Also for your real estate closings on a condo sold to you by a developer, you should always look for your own legal representative, even though the condo developer offers you a special closing cost package. Only your own legal representative can be sure you do the get powers of attorney, the board of directors and all the shares of the S.A. that owns the condo, if you purchase the condo in an existing corporation (S.A.). There are many other things, like the CC & R’s, the legal description of the condominium that might need checking by someone who knows what he/she is doing.

If you are planning to purchase a condo, no matter where in Costa Rica, contact us now and save yourself a lot of money.

Contact the AE MLS Costa Rica

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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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