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Travelbum62

Buying land or property

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I have read some bad stories of people who have been ripped off by Real Estate Agents that are not really agents and they have taken the buyers money and run. I'm looking to buy property in Costa Rica and wondered how to go about finding a good a reputible agent. Also, do you really need a Real Estate Attorney to complete the transaction or is it fairly easy to do it on your own. I've also heard about people selling property that is not clear of title. How is it best to check this? Any advise is greatly appreciated. :rolleyes:

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I have read some bad stories of people who have been ripped off by Real Estate Agents that are not really agents and they have taken the buyers money and run. I'm looking to buy property in Costa Rica and wondered how to go about finding a good a reputible agent. Also, do you really need a Real Estate Attorney to complete the transaction or is it fairly easy to do it on your own. I've also heard about people selling property that is not clear of title. How is it best to check this? Any advise is greatly appreciated. :rolleyes:

 

Get you own lawyer. Only transact money when your lawyer says the title is clear and it is ok to give the seller money. Do not under any circumstances give a down payment. You will not get it back...ever...unless the jilted seller feels like it. You only hand over the money at the exact instant that you take title to the property.

 

There are no consumer protection or ethics laws here that I have perceived.

 

Buena Suerte

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Once again, I must disagree with giving a down payment. If, for some reason, you are not able to complete a deal when you make your offer, a down payment may be called for, if you want that property kept for you. Realize, that if you change your mind, you will have lost the funds, so don't give a down payment if you do not intend to follow through with the purchase. So many people come here on vacation and 'fall in love' with a property and decide to buy that cute little hide-a-way. Reality hits when you get home and realize that you can't really afford it so want to back out. In the meantime, the seller has taken it off the market and maybe lost another buyer who felt the same as you did.

So, to give a down payment is a descision you should really consider.

And, yes, use a lawyer!!

 

I should note that we have been on both side of this dilemma. We kept a nonrefundable deposit because of someone not fulfilling their obligation. And we lost what we thought of a the perfect place, because we hadn't given a down payment to secure it.

Edited by costaricafinca

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From what I've read it seems more important to find a trustworthy lawyer and notary. Can you offer any advice on finding a good lawyer and notary?

Thanks!

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From what I've read it seems more important to find a trustworthy lawyer and notary. Can you offer any advice on finding a good lawyer and notary?

Thanks!

 

Hi, Ed,

 

Just a bit of info about attorneys and notaries. All notaries must first be attorneys, although all attorneys are not notaries. Unlike in the U.S., notaries here interpret the law, so they must first be attorneys. I believe I learned this at the ARCR 2-day seminar. You might wish to attend one of the seminars if you plan to buy Real Estate. There's a wealth of info on this subject and many others dealing with moving to and living in Costa Rica. Write down all your questions so you don't forget to ask when Q & A time comes.

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I will probably be looking in the area of Santa Ana-Ciudad Colon. Hope to attend seminar when I come down in Sept. Thanks for your replies.

Ed

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Edf and Travelbumm. In the age of the internet, I can't begin to tell you how much you can find out about a person simply by 'googling' them. Try it. You might be surprised! Having said that, I have a trusted Real Estate attorney by the name of Sergio Solera with Facio y Canas (www.fayca.com) whom I've personally dealt with for many years. The office is located in El Tournon section of San Jose. The office number is: 2258-3880. The best way to find a good attorney is to ask around to trusted individuals and check the attorney's references. I did! A good attorney can tell you whether or not title is good with the property. A good Realtor can help you understand the system here vs. where you are from and hopefully help you located that perfect property. As for a down payment: Without one, as CRfinca said, you risk losing that property if another buyers comes along. If you put up a deposit in escrow with your own attorney, than your interests are protected. The concept of buying property here is similar in other countries: You like a property, you put down a small refundable deposit. That depsit is refundable if title is NOT clear or if you are within your due diligence period. Writing a good, clear contract will also almost always side with the buyer. Buena Suerte!

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mediatica, thank you for the recommendation. Good business is just that no matter where you practice it.

Regards,

ed

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I made some good experiences with the following agencies/agents.

 

Loek from Bridging world - Nice guy from the netherlands

His listings - on http://www.axnmls.com

 

Tierralinda working as buyers agents - you normally pay 5% but its worth because they get better prices from the sellers and the work is trustworthy.

http://www.tierralinda-realestate.com

 

Anna from SunriseCoast - if you're looking for something in the Caribbean

http://www.sunrisecoastrealty.com/

 

Perhaps this helps ...

 

Bye - Mapache

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The first thing I would do is ask to see there resident card. Make sure that they are here and working legally. Or you are taking a big risk. Never take there word that they are allowed to work here for one reason or another.

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I have read some bad stories of people who have been ripped off by Real Estate Agents that are not really agents and they have taken the buyers money and run. I'm looking to buy property in Costa Rica and wondered how to go about finding a good a reputible agent. Also, do you really need a Real Estate Attorney to complete the transaction or is it fairly easy to do it on your own. I've also heard about people selling property that is not clear of title. How is it best to check this? Any advise is greatly appreciated. :rolleyes:

 

 

Hello Travelbum62,

 

This is too funny, we hired a taxi driver, Gerardo Villegas for a couple of days and looked around for houses with property.

 

Gerardo is a multi tasking, english speaking, do it all, go to person taxi driver. 506.8892.3513, he is an extremely honest person, who will work for you. E-mail: taxitsjcr@hotmail.com Tell him Nancy & Herbert sent you.

 

Word of mouth I feel is the best way around.

 

We drove around looking at the different areas to live, the taxi driver then asked different locals what was available.

 

We did this for several days.

 

When looking for property even a rental it is best if a local does the talking and looking for you.

 

This is when you get the local price instead of the Gringo price which is usually higher than double than the local price.

 

Once he found a "deal" for us he would then tell them it is for friends of his and then bring us into the deal.

 

We talked to the owners and came to an agreement and then went to the lawyer, Romulo Pacheco Sibaja, who happens to be the lawyer for ARCR. 506.2255.1592 Tell him Nancy & Herbert sent you.

 

The lawyer is really cool...he is upfront and tells you like it is...absolutely no B.S.

 

So far the property that we picked has a clear title and we are in the middle of purchasing.

 

I am giving phone numbers for these two people because they have done a wonderful job for us, even now since we are back in the states, they are still working for us.

 

I love the experience that we had in C.R.

 

I hope this helps you and others who will read the blog.

 

Nancy & Herb

 

:blink:

Edited by Nancy & Herb

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Nancy & Herb I am glad you have had a positive experience, so far. Saying that, I would wait until the whole deal has gone through successfully before celebrating with the champagne :P

Everything I have read about Gerardo is good and I don't mean to say otherwise. And you did check out several areas before deciding on where to purchase property.

I hope it lives up to your dreams.

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I have read some bad stories of people who have been ripped off by Real Estate Agents that are not really agents and they have taken the buyers money and run. I'm looking to buy property in Costa Rica and wondered how to go about finding a good a reputible agent. Also, do you really need a Real Estate Attorney to complete the transaction or is it fairly easy to do it on your own. I've also heard about people selling property that is not clear of title. How is it best to check this? Any advise is greatly appreciated. :rolleyes:

It doesn't matter that much who you buy from, but rather who your attorney is.

 

That is: A snake of a real estate seller may lie to you about things, so it's up to you to check on the truth of it.

 

If he says it has electricity, make him show you the power box and look to see that the cable is indeed going to your property. Look at the cables. Do they look "up to code"? Or did someone just bring the lines in themselves off the main line? If so, it could mean funky electricity and no support from ICE, the electric company. The same with water. It may be turned off, but you should be able to see the valve and see where the piping goes.

 

The seller or realtor may exaggerate the boundaries to be bigger than they are. So you must look at the property map and see for sure if it is the same as what the Realtor told you. In other words, don't believe ANYthing a realtor tells you, check it out yourself. You may even want to pay a surveyor $100 or so to come out and walk the land with you based on the property map, to make sure it's what you were told. What you are buying is what's on the map, not what the "realtor" told you.

 

Also, if your land or home has a driveway and is not directly accessible via the main road, check very closely that you DO have the rights to cross the land via a driveway to get to your house or land. It's called a servidumbre (sair-vee-doom-bray) and you must have rights to it with the property or you could be screwed.

 

Also check the availability of water with neighbors. Even if you have water going to your property, there are places in Costa Rica where they are not getting enough water for everyone and you probably wouldn't want to buy in such an area.

 

Is there a river running through it? Find out what the laws are for building near the river. It varies by community and you may not be able to build as close to it as you think. Check with the local municipality or have your attorney do so for you.

 

So, yes, it helps to deal with honest and well-recommended realtors but even then, you can't just believe what they say, because they MAY honestly not know what they think they know. So it's "caveat emptor" - let the buyer beware - on buying property.

 

A good attorney will not only check the land at the registry by net, but ALSO physically go there, and check in the back room for possible leans and other potential problems that may not show up on the registry via web.

Never use the seller's attorney no matter how good he or she is said to be. I fell victim to this myself and almost lost $3000 of my deposit. Use your own attorney.

 

Also learn how to check the registry yourself. Get the Finca # of the land you want to buy which is on the copy of the map they will give you if you demand it. Use this to go on the registry web site yourself and check the land, and if you can get the owner's cedula, check that too, see if he has any negative marks on his record. Check that the attorney is listed as a legal Costa Rica attorney with no bad marks against him. I forget how and where to do this, but maybe someone here can speak to that issue.

 

Learn to use the registry here:

http://tinyurl.com/6ro7ac

 

Note that sometimes the registry is super slow (too busy) and you just can't get it to work. Come back a few hours later and try again. Try it on a Saturday or Sunday or super late at night, CR time.

 

Find an attorney who at least 3 people have recommended to you who have actually used him for buying property.

 

If you buy on the beach, be VERY careful. This is where you MUST have a top notch attorney who you can trust to check everything out VERY carefully. You may even want to hire 2 attorneys to check the property out, though be clear with one that you do not plan to use him for the closing, you only want him to check the title. Some will not do this, but some will and it shouldn't cost much for them to just check the title for you.

 

Good luck! (But know that luck is not what you want to depend on! What you want to depend on is checking and double-checking every step!)

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It doesn't matter that much who you buy from, but rather who your attorney is.

 

That is: A snake of a real estate seller may lie to you about things, so it's up to you to check on the truth of it.

 

If he says it has electricity, make him show you the power box and look to see that the cable is indeed going to your property. Look at the cables. Do they look "up to code"? Or did someone just bring the lines in themselves off the main line? If so, it could mean funky electricity and no support from ICE, the electric company. The same with water. It may be turned off, but you should be able to see the valve and see where the piping goes.

 

The seller or realtor may exaggerate the boundaries to be bigger than they are. So you must look at the property map and see for sure if it is the same as what the Realtor told you. In other words, don't believe ANYthing a realtor tells you, check it out yourself. You may even want to pay a surveyor $100 or so to come out and walk the land with you based on the property map, to make sure it's what you were told. What you are buying is what's on the map, not what the "realtor" told you.

 

Also, if your land or home has a driveway and is not directly accessible via the main road, check very closely that you DO have the rights to cross the land via a driveway to get to your house or land. It's called a servidumbre (sair-vee-doom-bray) and you must have rights to it with the property or you could be screwed.

 

Also check the availability of water with neighbors. Even if you have water going to your property, there are places in Costa Rica where they are not getting enough water for everyone and you probably wouldn't want to buy in such an area.

 

Is there a river running through it? Find out what the laws are for building near the river. It varies by community and you may not be able to build as close to it as you think. Check with the local municipality or have your attorney do so for you.

 

So, yes, it helps to deal with honest and well-recommended realtors but even then, you can't just believe what they say, because they MAY honestly not know what they think they know. So it's "caveat emptor" - let the buyer beware - on buying property.

 

A good attorney will not only check the land at the registry by net, but ALSO physically go there, and check in the back room for possible leans and other potential problems that may not show up on the registry via web.

Never use the seller's attorney no matter how good he or she is said to be. I fell victim to this myself and almost lost $3000 of my deposit. Use your own attorney.

 

Also learn how to check the registry yourself. Get the Finca # of the land you want to buy which is on the copy of the map they will give you if you demand it. Use this to go on the registry web site yourself and check the land, and if you can get the owner's cedula, check that too, see if he has any negative marks on his record. Check that the attorney is listed as a legal Costa Rica attorney with no bad marks against him. I forget how and where to do this, but maybe someone here can speak to that issue.

 

Learn to use the registry here:

http://tinyurl.com/6ro7ac

 

Note that sometimes the registry is super slow (too busy) and you just can't get it to work. Come back a few hours later and try again. Try it on a Saturday or Sunday or super late at night, CR time.

 

Find an attorney who at least 3 people have recommended to you who have actually used him for buying property.

 

If you buy on the beach, be VERY careful. This is where you MUST have a top notch attorney who you can trust to check everything out VERY carefully. You may even want to hire 2 attorneys to check the property out, though be clear with one that you do not plan to use him for the closing, you only want him to check the title. Some will not do this, but some will and it shouldn't cost much for them to just check the title for you.

 

Good luck! (But know that luck is not what you want to depend on! What you want to depend on is checking and double-checking every step!)

I also used Facio&Canas. My atttorney was Fernan. Since the house market is so bad in Vegas Fernan is taking care of our mortage, until we get out there. Not an easy move. Just take your time. Quepos is a very nice area, upin the mountains, 15 min.to the beach. Sammi

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