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I did not receive my title documents at closing

I did not receive my title documents at closingA reader who did not receive title documents at closing is now unsure about the title of her property. She commented on an article in the Tico Times:

I purchased land in Costa Rica about 4 years ago I only have la carta catastrada and a letter from the notary public. 

I have to pay taxes on the land which I am working on doing that…. can I pay taxes on line for the property?

How hard is it to get the title of this land under my name, and where do I start the process of getting the title? And how long would it take?

Thank you in advance for your response.

Scary?

At first glance, this sounds scary and like this person got scammed. Usually, it turns out to be a false alarm, because of the lack of information. Often it happens because the language is an obstacle, other times because the attorney is not communicative.

Did she receive her title documents at closing or not?

The lack of info is usually the buyer’s fault (for not knowing) and the attorney’s fault (for not following up). It can also be the real estate agents fault for grabbing the commission check and forgetting about the post-closing services a good agent should give.

Pay property tax

Property tax is paid to the municipality where your property is located. To do so, you need to ask at the municipality how much you owe. They will ask for the title number or “número de matricula”. Then, you can pay the property tax in person on by “SINPE” from a local bank account.

If you don’t know what the title number of the property is, learn more here.

At closing

A Costa Rica real estate closing should be done by a Notary Public. Are there a certain amount of title documents at closing to receive? Which title documents at closing are important? It depends entirely if you are buying the property in your own name or in the name of a corporation.

I did not receive my title documents at closing
Bring a punch list with you so you can check

In your personal name

When buying a property in Costa Rica in your personal name, you should receive the following title documents at closing:

  1. A copy of the draft of the deed, where the title transfer is recorded. The notary public will present this draft to the property section of the National Registry for registration.
  2. Certification from the municipality that property taxes are paid up to date.
  3. Copy or the cadastral survey plan (plano catastrado) pulled from the Catastro.
  4. A recent (less than 5 years) property value declaration (declaración de bienes inmuebles).
  5. Last luxury home tax payment (when applies)
  6. Proof of last corporation tax payment (when applies)
  7. Last 3 paid invoices of utilities: water and power
  8. Financial statement of fees and payments made during this transaction.

In a corporate name

If you are buying the property in a corporation constituted for this purpose, you should receive the following title documents at closing additionally:

  1. 5 corporate books
  2. Shares of the corporation
  3. A recent (less than 5 years) property value declaration (Declaración de Bienes Inmuebles)
  4. Last luxury home tax payment (when applies)
  5. Proof of last corporation tax payment (when applies)
  6. Last 3 paid invoices of utilities: water and power
  7. Financial statement of fees and payments made during the transaction.
I did not receive my title documents at closing
When all the documents are complete, you can count on a happy closing like this one

When taking over an existing corporation

  1. 3 Corporate books for bookkeeping
  2. Shareholder book with the transfer of the shares to the new shareholders
  3. Board of director’s book where the old board of directors is released and the new board appointed. In this book, there has also to be a statement that the BOD gives the person who signs the title transfer the power of attorney to sell.
  4. Shares of the corporation (endorsed by the former shareholders)

Post-closing

What happens to your title documents after the closing?

In most cases, everyone forgets to follow up on the title documents. This reader had a good reason to be so lost. These title documents are needed as proof when you or your heirs want to sell again.

Give it 30 days and then call the closing attorney to request the following documents:

  1. Title report that shows that you or your corporation owns the property
  2. Copy of the deed stamped by the National Registry
  3. Add those documents to all the others mentioned in this article and put them in one or two 12 x 9 inches envelope and put the name “Costa Rica Property Documents” on it.
I did not receive my title documents at closing
Put the documents in one or two 12 x 9 inches envelope and put the name “Costa Rica Property Documents” on it

A good attorney

The above information proves how important it is to use the services of a good closing attorney with the necessary experience in property title transfers. Use someone who specializes in real estate and speaks English.

Nonetheless, as the property owner, you have the responsibility to follow up after the closing and make sure you receive all the title documents. That way, you won’t be running around like a chicken with its head cut off when you can’t find the property information.

If you have any legal questions about this topic, please contact your attorney. For professional Costa Rica real estate assistance, contact us now. Feel free to leave your comments on this blog. If you like this article, please feel free to share it on your social media.

 

Contact the AE MLS Costa Rica

 


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Ivo Henfling

Ivo Henfling started the American European Real Estate Network Costa Rica in 1996 and has grown it into the largest Costa Rica MLS with thousands of up to date property listings for sale and for rent. Ivo has written hundreds of articles about real estate and living in Costa Rica for The Tico Times and other online informational sites.

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