Find Your Dream Beachfront Property in Costa Rica
Mostly, beachfront property is untitled in Costa Rica because the ownership and possession of the shoreline is governed by the Maritime Zone Law (Ley Sobre la Zona Maritimo Terrestre) which restricts the possession and ownership of beachfront property.
By law, the first 200 meters of beachfront starting at the high-tide markers is owned by the government. Of the 200 meters, the first 50 meters are deemed public zones (Zonas Públicas), and nobody may posses that area.
On the remaining 150 meters, referred to as the Restricted Zone (Zona Restringida), the government will lease the land to private individuals or corporate entities.
Before conferring the concession, the law mandates that the beach area have the high-tide markers in place.
The Maritime Zone Law imposes restrictions on foreign ownership or possession of beachfront property so careful research is always required when considering an investment in beachfront property in Costa Rica.
One of the draws of the country is that you can still buy an established home on the beach for much lower prices than a comparable home in Florida or California. A condo near the beach may cost $40,000 in a less developed area, up to $150,000 in a more developed beachfront zone, and up to $500,000 for a beachfront condo right in popular, well-developed tourist destinations. Homes on the beach start at around $100,000, with homes on the Pacific coast generally more expensive than homes on the Caribbean.
Purchasing procedure for Property in Costa Rica
As a general rule, don’t delay in making an offer once you find the property you want to buy. The market in Costa Rica is simply too strong to wait. On the other hand, don’t buy property you haven’t actually visited. No matter how much research you do—talking with knowledgeable friends, looking at pictures, or getting information from the Internet—never buy from a developer or individual unless you’ve actually visited the condo, house, or land.
Similarly, buy only what you see—not what a developer or real estate agent may promise. Many developers, for example, talk about plans for new roads, clubhouses, golf courses, or marinas. But a lot can go wrong, even with the best developments. To protect yourself, don’t figure tomorrow’s features into the price you offer today.
As you would do when buying property elsewhere, don’t hesitate to ask for a reduction in price if parts of the house are in disrepair or look as though they may need repairs in the near future. In Costa Rica, ask for a discount—perhaps as much as $2,000—if the residence lacks a telephone. New phones are difficult to get.
*Prices as of 2013
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