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Your New Costa Rica Real Estate Friend - Registro Nacional the public registry
I advise all clients to get a Registro Nacional printout of the property they wish to purchase.
Get as much verbal or written information as you can from the real estate agent, lawyer or seller concerning the property - then - ask the agent or lawyer for the printout from the Registro Nacional and compare the facts.
A basic title search is an incredibly quick and easy process that can be done by anyone with a computer and access to the internet so there are no legitimate excuses for them not being able to provide you with the data...
You will sometimes be surprised when comparing information given and what appears on the printout. I had a client that discovered the represented owner was not - in fact - the owner at all. My client backed out of a $500,000 purchase saving money and multiple court appearances.
The property section of the public registry contains property documents. There are various locations in Costa Rica - San Jose being the primary. Your particular property can be researched by the owners name, ID, or registration number (folio real). When buying property here your first basic information should be owner and registration number.
TIP - If the registration number ends in 000 chances are you are dealing with a individual owner. If there is another number within the 000 there are probably co-owners. The printout will give you the following information (in Spanish of course) but find someone who can translate and write down important points.
- The description of property and province of location.
- The boundaries (very interesting in Costa Rica)
- The area in square meters (make sure you are buying what is presented)
- The survey number of record (Important TIP - I had a client who signed a contract that stated that the folio real and survey would be given at a later date - (Red Flag Warning!)
- Land origination or history (maybe a finca - farm before etc.)
- Government assessment for transfer purposes (very interesting in Costa Rica)
- Data concerning owners whether individual, corporation, etc.
- ID of owner or corporation
- Estimation of price (variations occur in Costa Rica of what is paid and what is recorded)
- Statement of full ownership
- Presentation number into Registro when owner took over property
- Date when registered
- Anotaciones are very important and this gives details of any pending or present activity concerning the property - a recent mortgage, a transfer, etc. I advise clients to check property every three months to see if anything is happening in the anotaciones section. If someone is tinkering with your property - better to know.
- Gravamanenes pertain to any encumbrances, liens or mortgages of record
You can readily identify how valuable this information is when considering a purchase. Anyone, including yourself, can obtain this information via computer, all you need is the folio real number or the legal owner's name to initiate the search on the Registro Nacional's website.
Tip - It is equally important to always check the municipality where the property is located. Municipal taxes are actually a lien on the property and are attached to and follow the property regardless of who owns the land. If you buy and the taxes are not paid - you owe the taxes so make sure they are paid. Zoning is also an issue and should be checked in the municipality.
Costa Rica is a beautiful country and should you buy property here? Absolutely! However, you do need to protect yourself and being informed will enable you to make a positive decision concerning a purchase here in Costa Rica.
Written by Rudy Matthews who has more than 25 years experience buying, selling, managing and building homes and apartments in the USA and most recently in Costa Rica.
As an independent personal advisor/consultant, Rudy's main objective is to protect you, save you money and eliminate frustration. Rudy's knowledge of negotiation, contract clauses that protect you, construction and improvements will be an invaluable service.
If you would like to speak to Rudy Matthews about buying a home or investing in Costa Rica real estate, please help us to help you by using the simple form below: