So, you’re looking into real estate in Costa Rica – but not for just any reason. You have your eye on investment.
Because, whether you plan to retire here, manage a vacation rental property, or dedicate your hard-earned cash to anything in between, you know that your purchase is more than just a lifelong dream to fulfill: It’s a strategic investment decision. And you want to make it wisely.
Why Costa Rica?
There are about a million reasons we could cite to answer this question. But, for the purposes of this post, we’ll restrict ourselves to a few of the most important whys for investment purposes – the foremost reasons why real estate in Costa Rica can make a good investment, both for today and into tomorrow.
Location & Proximity
If you’re from the U.S. or Canada, Costa Rica is an easy choice: Located in the same or similar time zone as friends, family, and business, and a short flight – often, a 3- to 6-hour direct flight – to/from wherever you currently call home, Costa Rica is about as close as you can be, while also being abroad.
For the greatest variety and best prices, be sure to check flights to/from both the Daniel Odúber International Airport (LIR) in Liberia and Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in San José/Alajuela.
If you’re investing with any short-term rentability goals (vacation rental or year+ lease), Costa Rica has a strong market for both: A favorite the world over for eco-tourism and outdoor adventure, Costa Rica is one of the planet’s most recognizable country brands. In fact, tourism accounts for over 13% of the country’s direct and indirect employment; in other words, it’s a huge driver of the local economy. People want to visit and Costa Rica wants to welcome them.
Our natural beauty is a big draw. Consider that this small country, which occupies just 0.03% of the world’s total surface, houses about 6% of the planet’s total biodiversity. What’s more, over 25% of Costa Rica is protected – housed within national parks, wildlife preserves, refuges, conservation areas, and other designated protections. Beyond that, Costa Rica is working beyond sustainability and toward regeneration, which will help fuel green tourism for years to come.
So, our short-term vacation rental market is strong, in many towns. And as for our long-term rentals – well, let’s just say that at Blue Water Properties, our long-term rentals are 100% booked.
When you consider investing anywhere, including purchasing real estate in Costa Rica, politics may not be the first thing that comes to mind.
And yet, Costa Rica’s stable political situation makes the country a more attractive investment destination: Non-citizens have full property rights. Your investment is safe from government seizure. The banking system is good. Etc. etc. Bottom line: Costa Rica’s stable democracy guarantees your investment.
If you’re looking into a someday future in Costa Rica (and even if you’re not, see next sentence), you should know that the nation offers a robust public and private healthcare system. And that means that, whether you plan to live here or someday sell your home for a healthy profit to someone who does plan to live here, Costa Rica will long remain an attractive investment.
Real Estate in Costa Rica: 5 Investment Types
At Blue Water Properties, we have the opportunity to discuss investments and real estate in Costa Rica with a wide variety of people. And, while each of you is completely unique and with your own set of needs and priorities, our experience tells us that there are five major “types” of investments out there:
Rental Home Investment
Many buyers see real estate in Costa Rica as a right-now kind of investment: The ultimate goal is not long-term, but rather profit today. So, they purchase a home with a certain set of characteristics, with the primary goal of offering it as a vacation rental home that will not only pay for their purchase, but also turn a profit.
How Blue Water Can Help:
We’re not only one of the top real estate companies in Guanacaste, but we also operate a successful vacation rental / property management business. This puts us in the unique position of understanding both sides of the market: what vacationers are looking for, balanced with what’s available on the market.
The result: We can help you pinpoint the best investment-for-vacation-rentals properties out there. Not just our properties, but any property on the market: At Blue Water, our people are good people and we play well with our colleagues at other companies; we’ll find you the perfect investment property.
And, once you’ve made your purchase, we’ll help you fill your rental calendar, too. (Get in touch to ask about our Property Management services.)
Second Home Investment
Costa Rica has the wonderful knack of ticking off wish-list boxes: Spectacular locale. Near-perfect weather. A short flight from home. Must-have amenities, like ocean views and infinity pools. Easy immigration entry requirements (and a 90-day vacation stay, easily renewable!). Homes that meet your discerning standards. All the good things.
And then, there’s budget. While real estate in Costa Rica is no longer bargain-basement, it can still be a bargain, especially when compared to similar homes in similar locales, like Hawaii, the Bahamas or the Virgin Islands, and even California.
So, as second-home investments go, Costa Rica is a great one. Here, you can find everything you need and most of what you want, at a price you can afford.
How Blue Water Can Help:
While you’d be hard-pressed to find ocean-view real estate <$400,000 in similar markets, at Blue Water Properties, we have more than 25 ocean-view properties available under $400,000. Right now, as we click publish.
And those are just our listings. As we mentioned above, we play nice with real estate agents up and down the Gold Coast, so we have access to many, many more. Your dream home could be available right now!
Future Retirement Home Investment
If you’re researching real estate in Costa Rica for future retirement purposes, you’ve come to the right place! This type of investment – and lifestyle change – is very popular.
In fact, Costa Rica’s expat retirement community is quite large: Drawn by beach living, year-round sun, plenty of active lifestyle offerings, and the general draw of “paradise,” current and future retirees/pensioners zero in on Costa Rica’s offerings.
How Blue Water Can Help:
Whether you’re already retired or are planning for the future, we can help you find the condo, townhome, or single-family home perfectly suited to your needs.
And, if you’re not planning to retire for a few years yet, we refer you to the above: Blue Water Properties also offers property management services, to help you defray your costs (or even turn a profit) while offering tomorrow’s home as today’s vacation rental.
Hybrid (Rental/Second) Home Investment
We may have already posted a few spoilers, but this hybrid purpose represents a common style of real estate investment in Costa Rica: Purchase a home primarily as an investment-for-profit, but benefit from your purchase as a second home or personal vacation home. It’s the best of both worlds!
How Blue Water Can Help:
As we’ve mentioned, at Blue Water Properties, we’re both real estate agents and property managers – the perfect complement to understand both what sells and what rents.
And that means we’re well-positioned to help you find a “hybrid” investment property. You know – that seems-like-a-unicorn property that both meets your needs, while fulfilling vacationer needs and, therefore, earning you ROI.
Business/Commercial Property Investment
Whether you’re an entrepreneurial spirit, a future resident, or a not-yet-retired adventurer seeking a legal way to earn an income in Costa Rica, then a business investment could be just the ticket.
That’s because commercial real estate in Costa Rica, paired with our strong tourism economy and welcoming laws, means that your investment not only qualifies you for residency (inversionista, or investor residency; minimum investment required) but also enables you to legally make money while owning a business in paradise. Not a bad deal!
How Blue Water Can Help:
You may not know that Blue Water Properties offers Costa Rica commercial real estate – everything from ocean-view restaurants to boutique hotels. And, we specialize in business for almost any budget (current entry-level business: $49,900).
Real Estate in Costa Rica: 5 Tips Before You Buy
We know – this is an exciting process! You’re eager to get going. But first, we have a few suggestions. Beginning with a gentle nudge toward the pura vida – toward slowing down and learning to take things as they come. Welcome to life (and investment) in Costa Rica!
Tip #1: Visit FIRST
The absolute best, most can’t-miss piece of advice we can offer is to visit before you buy. If at all possible, do not buy sight-unseen or destination-unknown (to you). (The only exception: If you’re purchasing solely for investment and not to visit yourself.)
Because, while you could work with the most honest real estate company out there (that’s us!), one-on-one with the best and most experienced real estate agents in Costa Rica (also us!), nothing can substitute your own in-person, hands-on experience.
Remember, Costa Rica is a foreign country. When you’re here on vacation, a lot may feel “the same” as home. But, when you visit with an eye for investment and/or future living, you’ll see the country in a different light. This is the lens through which you should assess both locations and homes. For example, Tamarindo has a very different feel and personality than does, say, Playa Potrero.
What’s more, we all know that mystifying feeling of “connection” to a home – that sense telling us that it’s “the one.” Likewise, we’ve all experienced that instant “knowing” upon entering a home – that certainty that, even though it checks off all the boxes on paper, something doesn’t work for us. Bottom line: Home-shop in person, if at all possible.
Tip #2: Take Your Time
The market for real estate in Costa Rica, especially of the investment variety, is not the same as in the U.S. (or most other countries, for that matter): Time on market is often longer (although near-immediate sales can happen, too!) and the economics and dynamics are different.
Before you jump in, take some time to window-shop. Research specific areas. Browse what’s available. Ask around. And be sure to check back, frequently. In just a few weeks or months, you’ll have a much better understanding of the market and available properties.
Tip #3: Get a Lawyer
Again, Costa Rica is a foreign country: You can’t assume that laws, regulations, and procedures are the same as they are, wherever you call home.
A skilled real estate lawyer can be a reassuring second opinion throughout the process. Because, while we at Blue Water Properties pride ourselves on being honest and transparent, we also believe that an experienced real estate attorney is our buyer’s ally. And we want you to know that your decisions are sound and your investment safe.
Tip #4: Choose an Experienced Brokerage + Agent
We know – we’re biased. Of course we’d say that an experienced real estate company and agent are a must, right?
Right. But also, true: Did you know that in Costa Rica, there’s no official licensing process for real estate agents? Anyone can claim to be an agent, even if they have zero knowledge of real estate law, the market, or homes. As they say – buyer, beware.
At Blue Water, we do more than talk the talk. Our agents – many of whom hail from real estate backgrounds in the U.S. and abroad – are legal residents of Costa Rica and experts in the “Gold Coast” region of Guanacaste, with some of the best track records in the country. Our experienced team are true professionals who represent buyers, sellers, and investment groups in locating real estate.
What’s more, we are proud members of the Costa Rica Global Association of Realtors (CRGAR) and National Association of Realtors (NAR). We’ve been featured on HGTV in the USA and Canada, on several episodes of “House Hunters International”, “Beachfront Bargain Hunt,” and “Live Here, Buy This,” to name just a few!
Tip #5: Ask Questions!
There is so much learn, know, and consider when buying real estate in Costa Rica. Honestly, it’s both completely familiar and a whole new world.
And that’s why we believe in asking questions. Lots of the questions. All the questions! Because, you don’t know what you don’t know, until you know – right? So, get yourself a great ally (or two) in the process, start educating yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask questions along the way.
Speaking of which, now would be a great time to get started, don’t you think? Get in touch and ask us any questions you’d like. Give us a chance to show off our expertise – and wow you with the possibilities! We look forward to it.