Buying Land in Nosara – The Right Way!

 Buying Land in Nosara – The Right Way!!

Ever since Playa Guiones hit the tourism radar a few decades ago, the influx of investors looking to buy land has steadily increased. For the most part these investments have been plain sailing, and the majority of land purchases made have gone off without a hitch. Then, there’s the other “land purchases” which have been beset by problems from the moment the buyer signed on the dotted line. To make sure your land investment in Nosara remains solid for years to come check out the following guidelines:

Hire the right real estate agent
18689195-Handshake-and-successful-real-estate-transactions-Stock-VectorWhen it comes to buying land in Costa Rica, unless you’re a seasoned veteran then having the right real estate agent in your corner will be essential to negotiate the pitfalls and hurdles of a land purchase in Nosara. Luckily for you, Nosara Realty Collective is connected to the most experienced real estate agents in Nosara, all of whom are happy to put in the had work so you don’t have to.

The Law of the Land
Although the Nosara real estate landscapes lack of official zoning plans has caused problems for real estate buyers in the past, nowadays, experienced real estate agents know enough to recognize any warning signs before they present a problem. These include construction regulations, residential permits and more.

The Lay of the Land
One thing to investigate before you sign anything is the topography of the land you intend to buy. Things to be on the lookout for include soil erosion and potential drainage issues. Do you intend to build on a sloped lot, and if so will you build at the top or the bottom? If in doubt hire a topographer.

kjhjhfIn the past siutations have occurred in which individuals have bought land and built the home of their dreams, complete with sweeping panoramic views of Playa Guiones, only to discover in due course that their neighbors have every legal right to build a property in front and obscure these views. Before you sign anything instruct your lawyer to produce a “view easement” to ensure this won’t be a problem.

Clear title
Due to land disputes that date back to the eighties there are certain sections of land in Playa Guiones where the titles are disputed by one or more parties. Although this issue remains isolated to a small, select number of properties it has proven disastrous for certain buyers who mistakenly believed their ownership of this land was free and clear. Make sure your attorney conducts a thorough title check before purchasing any piece of land in Nosara.

Drop Of WaterAre power and water available at the property’s roadside, and if not is the necessary infrastructure in place to deliver these? As Nosara grows water supply issues become of increasing concern. To receive a building permit from the municipality you will need an official document from your local ASADA (water co-op) that your property is eligible to be connected to the towns water mains. It’s essential to receive confirmation that this is possible before you sign anything.

Survey documents
Ensure that the property dimensions on the registered survey map correlate precisely with the property map filed with the national registry. If in doubt, hire an independent surveyor, particularly for large properties which have not been measured for many years.
Squatters rights in Costa Rica are a complex area, and one in which a number of property investors have been burnt over in the past. Squatters have been known to enter land parcels which appear abandoned. Once they have settled, removing them can become a legal nightmare which is best avoided by taking the necessary steps when required. To avoid this issue it’s best to maintain the property, erect fences, and pay your property taxes.

Purchase Documents
title-deed-of-propertyAfter purchasing the property make sure your heirs and your attorney have both hard copies and digital copies of the following documents.
• The property deed
• Official title search
• Survey map
• Your will and testament
• The power of attorney document
• The corporation papers which your property is registered under.
• The passport or residency papers used during the property purchase.



So, you’ve made the decision that Nosara is the place to invest in real estate. You’ve done your preliminary research, found what appears to be the home of your dreams, and agreed on an offer. What could possibly go wrong?

Since Nosara began making to appear on the tourism radar in the early 1970’s the number imagesof people who have fallen in love with the area and made the snap decision that they’d like to invest has grown by the year. Buying a property, whether at home of abroad represents one of of the biggest decisions the aveage person will ever make. While the majority of Nosara investors experience a smooth, trouble free buying process there’s also been plenty of horror stories where unwitting real investors have been badly burnt, and in some cases lost their entire investment. In a market where the number of self proclaimed real estate ‘professionals’ is increasing at an alarming rate it is crucial that you choose one who truly has your best interests at heart. Luckily, this situation has improved over the years. However, it remains essential that anyone who decides to buy property understands the potential pitfalls and the correct processes for investing here. The team at Nosara Realty Collective consists of local real estate experts and legal professionals who can safely guide you every step of the way, ensuring that your purchase is safe, smooth, and confusion free. And so we’ve put together the following informative guide as a means to inform potential buyers as to how to invest in a way that will ensure a stress free, safe, secure transaction.

So, you’ve found the home of your dreams, congratulations! Although you’re probably excited and con’t wait to walk through the door before that happens you’ll need to wade through paperwork and red tape. The answer to this is simple…find a lawyer…a good one! Although technically you do not need a lawyer to complete the transaction only a fool wouId choose to do this, and the vast majority of buyers who get ripped off are those who chose to go through a transaction without legal counsel.


In Costa Rica there seems to be a lawyer around every corner so finding one isn’t who says they can handle your purchase isn’t difficult. However, finding one who can actually do what they claim they can may be a little tougher. At Nosara Realty Collective we work exclusively with IBL Consultores, who’ s lawyers and notaries are considered by many Nosara locals and expats to be by far the most experienced, professional legal service in town. If you choose to find a lawyer independently be sure to ask around and look for the following characteristics:

Are they notaries? Your property will need to be registered with the Costa Rican National Registry. To do this a notary will require the services of a notary. Although a lawyer (particularly a property lawyer) may also be a qualified notary this is not always the case so it is important to check beforehand.

Are they bilingual? This ones a no-brainer. Luckily, Costa Rica is one of the most highly educated countries in the Americas and the English skills of most natives, particularly professionals is excellent. Remember, any contract will unltimately be in Spanish. Unless you speak Spanish perfectly a bilingual lawyer capable of word perfect contract translations is essential.

Word of mouth: Speak to those you trust with a track record of purchasing property in Costa Rica. If they recommend someone, ask that lawyer to produce testimonials or contact details for previous clients they have worked with.

STEP TWO: Forming a corporation

When buying property in Costa Rica, it’s highly recommended that the purchase is made in a corporations’ name. In addition to simplifying the entire process, it will ensure lower capital gains tax and pave the way for increased flexibility in future transactions ranging from buying a vehiclt to opening a business. Although forming a corporation may sound complicated it’s actually a simple, straightforward process. The basics to setting up a corporation are:

Decide on an original name

Select a board of directors (president, secretary and treasurer) The initial incorporators may occupy these positions.

Decide how the capital profits of the corporation will be divided among the incorporators.

STEP 3: Due Diligence

If by this time you have the services of a good lawyer then the following steps can be handled by them.

Title search: Each property is given a ‘folio real’ number. This number is specific to one property and is an essential requirement in ascertaining whether the property is debt free, has no liens against it, and is not subject to dispute.

Plano: This is the land survey document. The details contained therein must match those on the title search. If they don’t then run for the hills.

Suleo: Building a structure on your land requires a ‘use of land’ (suelo) letter from the local municipality that provides specific legal permission to build.

The fine print: Check whether the land or property comes with basic utilities such as electricity, telephone and access to water.

STEP FOUR: Make an offer

Submit an offer taking into account the items present on your last visit to the property. This will ensure that any verbal agreements concerning exactly what is included are adhered to. Often an offer may be written up with a minimal ‘good faith’ deposit that may be be raised to 10% within a month. The offer must be submitted on a genuine Costa Rican legal document.

STEP FIVE: Stock checking

Make sure the legal purchase details includes the following:

A due diligence schedule including provisions regarding what happens if the property fails the due diligence. Lay out clearly the due diligence period and provisions if it fails to pass.

A detailed schedule of all closing costs

Full names of buyer and seller.

Terms and conditions of sale

Legal description of the property

Full payment schedule including amounts to be credited and withdrawn from from the escrow accounts on the agreed dates

STEP 6: Open an escrow account.

If you are not a Costa Rican citizen or resident, you will not be able to open a bank account until you become one. In the meantime, an escrow account is the safest, most reliable way to transfer your money to Costa Rica. Nosara Realty Collective can do this for you.

STEP 7: Close the deal

Prior to closing:

The seller must produce receipts detailing payment of any fees attached to the property including, but not limited to:

Receipts showing that utilities have been paid.

Any applicable fees such as condominium or HOA.

During closing:

If everything is running smoothly then the deal closure should proceed something like this:

The signing of the legally drafted Transfer Deed takes place.

Buyer makes payment as per the agreement of purchase .

In order to update the property tax record, the buyer’s attorney must advise the Municipal Government of the transfer.

After closing:

You’re almost home. Although the property is now yours, in order to have it fully signed, sealed an delivered don’t don’t forget to square away the following:

Buyer’s attorney records the Transfer Deed in the public registry.

When registered, official ownership documents are delivered to the buyer.

Buyer informs the municipal government of the property transfer so that they may update the municipal property tax record.

STEP 8: Congratulations, and welcome home…..Pura Vida!!!!

Who We Help – Bomberos de Nosara

Who We Help – Bomberos de Nosara

On Saturday April 4th 2015 a forest fire broke out in the mountains of the Las Delicias area of Garza. Luckily as the blaze crept south through the small mountain communities of Los Angeles and Zaragoza the damage done to neighborhood property was minimal. However, despite the fact they had spent the last few days battling to keep the fire under control the local Bomberos knew that the real work was only just set to begin. They foresaw the direction that the prevailing winds were about to steer the flames, and observed that the surrounding terrain was a moisture free, high season tinderbox that hadn’t seen rain for months and was primed to burn fast, hard, and quick. Despite an almost 10 day battle using every tool at their disposal to fight this fire the flames continued to spread by the minute. They decided their best

Photo: Voz de Guanacaste

option was to try and prevent the flames from reaching Nosara town itself – a prospect that by April 12th looked increasingly likely as the fire reached the edge of the the road between Los Angeles and Nosara and began to spread outwards. There efforts were successful , and to cut a long story short, had it not been for the sustained efforts of the firefighters during this campaign there’s every chance that at least some of the properties in the Nosara area would not be there today. The tale outlined above recalls one example of many in which the local volunteer team of Bomberos have stepped up to counter one of the biggest threats that the town of Nosara, and the surrounding areas faces. This is a problem that Nosara residents face on an annual basis, and just because the last forest fire was thwarted does not mean the same fate awaits the next one.

Nosara Bomberos were formed in 2009 when a group of local residents got together and decided to take action on an issue over which they knew it would be years, if ever, before the government provided assistance. Thus was born a local firefighting service which along with the police and paramedics have gone on to represent the bedrock of community safety, reassurance and stability. In a short space of time the fire-fighters were very well known in the community. This became both a blessing and a curse. Although they were happy to be of service, the fact that the bomberos consisted for the most part of non-salaried, volunteer family men and women, some with full time jobs represented a problem. The problem

Photo: Voz De Guanacaste

they still face today is the same issue they faced during the many days fighting the fires on the mountains of Garza, and fighting every fire they ever attend – a critical lack of even the most basic supplies, and in short, a severe lack of funding. Despite this huge resource deficit it hasn’t stopped them from performing this vital community service. Veteran Bomberos now know full well to bring their own gear – including goggles, bandanas, and even garden hoses on call outs. However they still need help from the community!

If you wish to help out the firefighters, and keep this vital community service operating in the most efficient way possible there is two ways to proceed. Firstly you can donate to their organization by clicking this link and following instructions. Second, and just as importantly is to read and implement the steps outlined below.

1 – Be responsible for your trash and bonfires, particularly in the dry season when high winds still occur frequently despite beautiful weather.

2 – Make sure a campfire or beach bonfire is fully doused before leaving it

3 – If you or any of your friends or associates decide to buy real estate in nosara, then use Nosara Realty collective as you brokerage service. A huge portion of our brokerage fee goes back into assisting the Nosara Bomberos, along with a range of other vital community projects with funding they desperately need.