author Call Us: +506 2289 5125

Compare Listings

Real Estate FAQ | How to safely buy from a real estate developer

Real Estate FAQ | How to safely buy from a real estate developerA repeating real estate FAQ is how you can safely buy from a real estate developer in Costa Rica. Often buyers of property in Costa Rica do not know how to protect their money. It is not so easy to make sure the promises by real estate developers will be fulfilled.

Most real estate developers in Costa Rica sell a property before they build. They offer pre-construction before there is even a hole in the ground. And, they don’t even own the property to be developed.  They only promise their clients that they will develop and build.

Real estate developers in Costa Rica usually don’t work with real estate agents. They have their own marketing and onsite salespeople. This means that you will not find any listings from real estate developers on the MLS or on real estate agent’s websites. Therefore, if you’re looking to buy new construction, you’ll have to do all the hard work yourself.

It’s really incredible that property buyers are not protected and need to learn how to safely buy from a real estate developer. But it is what it is and until the government doesn’t oblige to a safer way of doing business, I don’t see any changes soon.

As a property buyer, you have no protection against scams, fraud, non-delivery, or late delivery of your real estate purchase, when you buy from a real estate developer. Unless you protect yourself!

You can have complete control over your purchase. Let me show you how you can safely buy from a real estate developer in Costa Rica.

Due diligence

We have made it easy for you to see if the real estate development where you plan to buy is a good and solid operation. Use this free tool before you take any final decisions.


Hire your own attorney, even though the developer tells you the legal fees are included in the deal. Request a discount on those legal fees. You have the right of your own attorney and not use theirs.

Document approval

Don’t sign anything until your lawyer has approved the documents. Ask your attorney to suggest changes that suit you, the buyer.


Ask a copy of the bylaws before you sign any documents. There might be issues in the bylaws that you don’t like. Make them part of your closing documents.


Ask how many parking spots come with the unit you are buying. Are they part of the common areas or do they have their own title? Are you allowed to use the guest parking for a 3rd car that you own? Ask your attorney to check for you. Never buy a condo with less than 2 parking spots, you will never sell your condo again if you do.

Proof of ownership

Insist on seeing proof of ownership of the property that will be developed. It is possible that the property is owned in a trust. Consult your attorney to check the title first.

Construction permits

Request proof of Setena approval, municipal, and CFIA building permits of the project. Ask your lawyer to check these documents.


Don’t give a real estate developer any money unless your lawyer has approved those payments.


When you make payments, insist your payments go into escrow. There are many escrow companies. Insist that money in escrow will not be paid to the developer until your unit is finalized and delivered. Ask your attorney to assist in this. If your attorney doesn’t know how escrow functions, hire one who does.

Home inspection

Request a home inspection before closing. Do not close until all the issues that require attention are repaired and taken care of.

Common areas

Leave a percentage of the purchase price in escrow until the whole project, including common areas, is finished and delivered.

Condo fees

Do not pay any condo fees until the real estate developers have delivered more than 50% of the units to the buyers.

In essence, you can safely buy from a real estate developer if you protect your own interests before the purchase. Once you have signed any documents, it is too late, there is no return. For a safe real estate purchase or sale, 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

Also, if you like this blog, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking the banner below.

 Click here to subscribe to The Easy Times

While we’re at it, I DO want to remind our readers that we appreciate any referrals you can send us. Finally, please remember the American-European real estate Group’s agents when you refer a real estate agent. Because we DO appreciate your business.

Facebook Comments

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.

Related posts

Our Tamarindo Real Estate Broker in Top Agent Magazine 2021

Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes Our very dear affiliate in Tamarindo, “Jogi” Juergen...

Continue reading
Ivo Henfling
by Ivo Henfling

6 Important Facts about Costa Rica Real Estate you should know about

Estimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes As a foreign buyer, you should know a few important facts about...

Continue reading
Ivo Henfling
by Ivo Henfling

How to Become a Realtor® in Costa Rica

Estimated reading time: 6 Minutes Getting rid of that tie and formal dress and becoming a...

Continue reading
Ivo Henfling
by Ivo Henfling

Join The Discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.