Costa Rica Real Estate – What Are ‘Gringo’s’ Buying?
For nearly eleven years Scott MacDougall (originally from Canada) has been involved in Costa Rica real estate, construction and land developments.
More specifically in the direct real estate sales during this entire time period, as a sales agent and as sales team manager.
We asked Scott MacDougall if he would give us a brief description of the different types of Costa Rica real estate that are most popular with North Americans and Europeans:
Fully Amenitized Gated Community
These are large pieces of property that have a fully developed master plan that includes all the amenities, services and facilities that are common to resort communities in North America.
These communities typically include an internationally recognized hotel operator, a golf course, tennis, pools, owners private social club, bars, restaurants, and may include a marina, or equestrian facilities.
There will also be a variety of condos, homes and lots being sold in and around the golf course as well as other areas with in the gates of the resort property. Property owners in a resort community wish to have all the above noted services and facilities available to them.
Costa Rica presently has two fully amenitized gated resort communities open and operating. They are Los Suenos Resort and Marina, and Conchal Resort. Hacienda Panilla Resort has a golf course and small hotel open, and the Peninsula Papagayo Project will open its Four Season Resort Hotel and Arnold Palmer Golf course late this year or early 2004.
Gated Estate Lot Development (+ acre to 2 acres)
Many buyers do not wish to be in an overly Americanized high density gated resort community but do want the security of a private gated community. They wish to have more space, more privacy, design their own home, and yet remain close to the services and facilities they desire. The community will have a property owners association, and will have associated By-Laws.
There are a number of private estate lot or lot developments in Costa Rica. The following are a few but, by no means is representative of all that are available:
They are Palo Alto Estates, Sunset Hills, Vista Pacifico, Monte Pariso and Monte Bello. The majority of these lot developments offer ocean views, while others are able to combine ocean and sunset views. Buyer of these types of lots should only do so after all the infrastructure has been installed, the water, electricity and roads.
Additionally, the legal segregation of the lots and the lot itself, should be fully reviewed and checked by an attorney.
This is a product for those that wish to remove themselves a little further from the higher traffic areas. They want to be surrounded by lush green jungle and truly be in a semi-remote area.
The lots range in size from 3 acres to over 10 acres but still have a gated secure entrance as well as some common area facilities. The communities are located a short drive (30 minutes) from most of the services and amenities needed such as shopping, restaurants, bars, golf courses and marinas.
Lomas del Mar and Rancho Monterrey are just two examples of gated larger lot developments.
Beach Front Stand Alone Condominiums
This property is for those that simply want a condo on the beach. Nothing else will do. Typically these will be smaller sized condo project due to Costa Rican regulations governing construction with in the Maritime Zone.
The Maritime Zone is the first 200 meters of land from the median tide level. All but approximately 15% of the entire coastline of Costa Rica is Maritime Zone. The balance is titled property.
Buyers of beachfront condos should be aware that as these condos are in the Maritime Zone they will be a concession property which the buyer will receive a lease from the Costa Rican government. Being a concession holder in Costa Rica is in most cases the only way to “own” beachfront property.
This property type has been fully explained in previous articles and can be further explained by a competent attorney. It can be a safe, secure means of having beachfront property in Costa Rica.
Arenas del Mar, Tamarindo Sunrise Condos and Sol y Mar Condos in Playa Hermosa are just a few examples of beach front condo projects presently being done.
Income Generating Property
There are those that wish to buy property in Costa Rica to help generate an income. There are some distinct projects that offer such villas or condos where the villas or condos are on an existing resort property.
The hotel acts as the property manager and the villas and condos are aggressively marketed and rented. Monthly maintenance fees are charged and cover a variety of expenses, the most common being the landscaping, maintenance and security costs.
One of the great aspects of this style of property is the fact that when you close the door and walk away, you have nothing to worry about, everything is taken care of for you, and it will be hopefully making money for you while you are away.
The following are a few examples of fully managed, income generating villas and condos, Sol Playa Hermosa, El Nakuti Resort, Giardini di Papagayo (there is an article about this beach resort already on this site) and El Oasis.
As with all real estate purchases in Costa Rica, we strongly recommend that you work with experienced and knowledgeable real estate agents and lawyers to assist you with this process.
Written by Scott A. MacDougall, an expat with over 10 years of living and working in Costa Rica, specifically involved in the real estate, construction, and land development industries. During this time Scott worked as the Director of Marketing and Sales for the two largest and most successful resort community developments in Costa Rica.
Scott’s knowledge and experience has been gained from involvement in over $60 million of real estate transactions.
If you are serious about buying real estate in the North West Pacific area of Costa Rica and would like to speak with our recommended Costa Rica Realtor, please help us to help you by using the form below:
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