Last Updated: Apr 26, 2012
Congratulations, you’re just a few steps away from owning your dream home in tropical Costa Rica! We have good news: if you’ve done your research, transferring the property deed is one of the simplest and most straightforward steps to purchasing a home.
The property or transfer deed (escritura) is the main document necessary to transfer ownership of the property. At closing, the seller will sign this document over to the buyer in the presence of their respective attorneys. Once this is done, one of the attorneys must draft a new deed and register the sale at the Public Registrar (Registro Publico). The house is yours!
A few basic rules govern transfer of property transfer in Costa Rica:
- If the buyer pays in cash, then his or her attorney will draft the transfer deed.
- If the seller finances a large percentage of the purchase, a mortgage must be drafted, and the seller may choose to have his or her attorney draft the transfer deed.
- If a property is purchased 50% cash and 50% financed, the buyer's attorney and the seller's attorney can draft the transfer deed and mortgage in a single document. This process is called a co-notariado.
- Finally, if the seller finances part of the sale, the buyer may choose to have his or her attorney write the transfer deed and allow the seller’s attorney to draft a separate mortgage agreement. Since this scenario requires two attorneys, it will be more expensive.
Although not required, we recommend that the property transfer be followed up with a celebratory meal and cocktails. You’ve bought a home in paradise, and now it’s time to enjoy it!