How to sell your Costa Rica property when you live out of the country?
If you are looking to sell your Costa Rica property, how does the process work when you live out of the country?
The American European Real Estate Group has 25 affiliate offices from coast to coast. We get emails from sellers of Costa Rica real estate who live elsewhere almost every day.
Occasionally we receive a request for help because the seller doesn’t know the property because it was inherited.
We also get sellers who bought their Costa Rica property 30 years ago and will not be able to find it anymore. That happens because they forgot where it was or because the environment around it changed in those 30 years.
If you are not able to show the agent your property in person or have someone who can do so? Then do not expect the agent to spend hours on your behalf to help you find your property. Some Costa Rica real estate agents might be willing to help you out, but be ready to pay a fee for such diligence.
Property listing information
The real estate agent, before being able to sell your Costa Rica property first needs to receive all the necessary property information. Then there won’t be any valuable time wasted. If you are not available, a neighbor, a friend, a caretaker or anybody who knows the location well is also suitable.
What does the realtor need?
In order to sell your Costa Rica property, the real estate broker needs the following information
- The exact location – address of the Costa Rica property
- Folio Real number or matricula (property number)
- Owner’s information as name, passport number or name of the corporation or S.A. and corporate ID number
- Copy of the survey map or plano catastrado
Uso de suelo or zoning
In case the property is land and does not have any structures, you will need to request an uso de suelo or zoning certified by the engineering department of the local municipality. This zoning will stipulate what will be allowed to build on the land, the maximum density, and the regulations for that particular area.
The requirements for requesting an uso de suelo differ from one municipality to another.
I have seen among requirements
- A letter of from the water company
- Setbacks of a bordering river by INVU
- Designs of the planned structure
- or as simple as filling out a form and pay some stamps.
Ask your attorney or Costa Rica real estate agent for the cost of requiring this uso de suelo for you.
If your property is owned by a corporation, make sure your corporation tax is up to date at all times. Not being up to date will not allow you to register any official documents and you will not even be able to pull a personería juridica, which you will need to sell your Costa Rica property.
At the closing, all property taxes have to be up to date as well as the municipal charges (garbage & streetlights) and certified by the municipality.
Many owners of Costa Rica luxury homes have never paid the obligatory Luxury Home Tax. That responsibility will be passed on to the next owner. Make sure you have the proof of having it paid up to date. When there is doubt if you have to pay, read our Luxury Home Tax guidelines.
Personería Juridica and powers of attorney
Is the property is owned by a corporation? Then the real estate agent also needs proof of ownership or powers of attorney to sell your Costa Rica property out of the corporation or transfer the shares of the corporation. This proof is called a personería juridica and your attorney can supply this. You can also pull it online from the Registro Nacional website at a cost of 2,800 Colones which can be paid by credit card. The powers of attorney will only show online if they were granted after 22 November 2003.
Make sure your power of attorney to sell is correctly registered. This could be a general power of attorney, which empowers you to sell your Costa Rica property out of the corporation and/or sell the corporation itself. This can happen in case the buyer wants to take over the existing corporation. Normally, a special power of attorney to sell only gives you the option to sell the property out of the corporation. You DO need a corporation’s meeting of the board of directors to agree to the sale of the property.
A power of attorney can only be given to someone else in person and through a Costa Rican Notary Public. A Costa Rican consul is your best option to give someone a power of attorney in case you don’t want to travel to Costa Rica for the closing. You can give specific instructions with this special power of attorney such as
- In whose name the proceeds should go
- Which bank account should the proceeds go to
- Or include wire instructions for your own security.
In case of inheritance, proof from a Costa Rican court (not anywhere else) is necessary that you are the legal executor of the estate. Proof from a US or other court is NOT enough, the case has to be registered by the Costa Rican authorities UNLESS you show as owner of the Corporation that owns the property (endorsed shares and full powers of attorney). Or if a Costa Rican will shows you as the legal executor.
Listing and offer
Once your agent has listed the property and receives an offer that you have accepted, you can sign an option to purchase – sale agreement on a distance. Then, 10% of the purchase price should go into escrow with the buyers’ attorney or Escrow Company. This is when you will be very happy that you have read this blog. Because you must now have done all the correct things to go through an easy flowing closing.
If you have any legal questions about how to sell your Costa Rica property when you live out of the country, please ask your attorney.
If you need help to sell your Costa Rica property, contact us now.
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I DO want to remind our readers that we appreciate any referrals you can send us. Please also remember the American European real estate Group’s agents when your refer a real estate agent. We appreciate your business.