Your Little Piece of Paradise Pie: Top Tips for Buying Luscious Land in Latin America

Demand for Latin American land is on the rise. With many retirees packing their bags and heading south, as well as investors looking to get in on the low real estate prices for both farmland and beachfront housing, Latin American properties only stand to get hotter.

Here are a few tips for getting your slice of the ‘paradise pie’ before someone else does.

What’s Behind the Rise in Demand?

Over the past several years, the real estate market in Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico and other parts of Latin America has been booming. On average mortgage rates are lower in Costa Rica (generally around 8-9%) than in the US, and as a result, buyers from Europe and North America, as well as Latin American investors are buying properties either as a rental, or a home.

How Do I Buy Land in Costa Rica?

In places like Dominical, Guanacaste and Tamarindo are all seeing high demand from foreign buyers looking to get in on the action. While property in general may be a bit costlier in these areas, US buyers may still pay less than they would domestically for a mid-size property.

For ex-pats looking to explore their inner farmer, investing in farmland could be a potentially smart move, and those looking for more land away from the beach, often find they get more bang for their buck. Check out land for sale in Costa Rica to get a sense of what your options are.

Know What Kind of Land You Want to Invest In

Before you start looking at properties in Costa Rica, know what kind of land you’re getting if you make a deal. Zoning works differently than in the states, and you don’t want to invest in a property intended for commercial use if you plan on living there. Look around to see what else is going in nearby (i.e. hospitals, stores, schools) before you make an appointment to check it out.

Hire a Great Real Estate Agent

While it’s hard to hire an agent before you know where you’d like to buy property, a bilingual realtor can be a real asset and can help you navigate the process. Look for an agent that specializes in a certain part of the country—they’ll help you find a space that’s zoned correctly, as well as navigating the often fraught process of buying land from the owner.

Make Sure the Title is Legit

Another key piece of the Latin American real estate process is your real estate attorney. You’ll want to hire a lawyer to run a complete check on your land, to make sure the title is legitimate, and that you won’t inadvertently buy a beach front property with the Costa Rican maritime zoning concession attached.

Utilities, Sewage and More

If you purchase land, you’ll want to know ahead of time whether your new property is attached to a city sewage line or if you’ll be using a septic tank, as they do in some parts of the country. Additionally, you’ll want to be aware of any issues that stem from a lack of access to electricity, internet or phone service should you be considering more remote locations.

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