Who pays the closing cost in a Costa Rican real estate transaction? Purchasing Costa Rica property for sale is always a good investment: prices are reasonable compared to many other countries, the property laws are clear and many areas have great potential for growth.
When you purchase Costa Rica property, several questions arise. Like who pays closing cost, who pays mortgage registration cost, how to do escrow, how do I protect myself, and do I get clear title to name a few.
You sure want to make sure you cover who pays the closing cost of the transaction when you make an offer.
The short answer is: Buyer and seller pay closing cost 50/50 unless negotiated differently.
Now, as you know, every single real estate transaction is negotiated. So as soon as the sales price is negotiated, the rest of the details need to be negotiated too.
The most basic protection you can have is to work with a reputable real estate agent and a reputable real estate attorney. Between the two they will assist in
- Avoiding an inappropriate purchase,
- Negotiate a fair bargain,
- and find a legally sound property suitable to your needs, lifestyle, and budget.
Your American-European real estate agent can guide you through the process described below.
The title transfer process of the property
Property in Costa Rica is transferred from the seller to the buyer by executing a transfer deed or escritura before a notary public; preferably one specialized in Costa Rica real estate. Unlike common law countries, such as the United States and Canada, in Costa Rica, the notary public has extensive powers. The notary public may draft and interpret legal documents, as well as authenticate or certify the authenticity of documents.
Who pays closing cost
The closing cost of a real estate transaction is roughly 3% of the sales price. To get a more exact answer, you can use the closing cost calculator on Attorney Roger Petersen’s website.
Mortgage fees are always paid by the buyer when the purchase is financed.
So who pays closing cost on a real estate transaction? The buyer and seller usually share the cost of the title transfer 50/50, unless negotiated differently.
This is VERY important to know when you negotiate the purchase – sale. The seller can accept or reject your offer, depending on who pays closing cost.
Selection of the closing attorney
The selection of the closing attorney depends on the type of transaction:
When the buyer buys cash (without a mortgage) the buyer can choose the closing attorney. Often, real estate developers will insist on using their attorney. Do not fall for this. Pick your own closing attorney, your interests are more important than the real estate developer’s interest! Often, real estate developers will tell you the closing cost is included in the purchase. In reality, the closing cost is included, but it is done this way so the buyer is obliged to use the developer’s attorney for closing. Negotiate the deduction of the closing cost from the sale price and use your own lawyer to close.
In order to close on the property, the buyer and seller must select a closing attorney. The closing attorney has to be a notary public. This notary public will draft the transfer deed and register the property sale in the National Registry (Registro Nacional).
Please make sure you use an attorney/notary public who has an escrow account approved by SUGEF. Don’t accept attorneys who will hold checks or allows the seller to receive the earnest money. In Costa Rica, it is customary for the buyer to select the notary public/attorney. The attorney will draft the transfer deed if paying cash for the property.
When the buyer needs a bank mortgage, the bank’s attorneys will do the closing. In that case, the buyer needs to find his own attorney or real estate broker to write up the purchase-sale agreement. The bank will not start the mortgage approval process without it. Again, in this case, the buyer pays all closing cost.
When the buyer uses a private lender, the buyer can choose the closing attorney. The lender’s attorney has to do the mortgage, as a protection of the lender’s interests. Sometimes, both attorneys do agree to share the workload and share also the attorney fees. In this case, the buyer has to pay both attorney fees, so the whole closing cost.
4 options for selecting the closing attorney
- If the seller is financing a large percentage of the purchase price and a mortgage needs to be drafted to guarantee payment, then the seller may request that her or his closing attorney draft the transfer deed.
- If you purchase the property 50 percent cash and 50 percent financed, it is common for the buyer’s attorney and seller’s attorney to jointly draft the transfer deed and mortgage in a single document and they share the mortgage fees.
- The buyer may insist that his or her notary/attorney draft the transfer deed and let the seller’s notary/attorney draft a separate mortgage instrument. In this case, the registration fee is higher because the mortgage is drafted separately.
- In case the buyer gets his mortgage with a bank, the bank will insist their attorneys do the closing as well as the mortgage documents.
After you have purchased a property in Costa Rica, ask your attorney or your real estate agent to send you after the closing and as soon as the property is registered in your name or your corporate name proof of the registration.
I certainly hope it’s now clear who pays closing cost and that you can use the information to negotiate a better deal.
Contact us for any more questions you might have on Costa Rica real estate closings when dealing with one of our agents.
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