The Hidden Market – For Limited Budget Buyers

March 17, 2018: This article is primarily about how to buy property in Costa Rica with a limited budget, which is a timeless topic. However, there are a few dated points regarding available properties as well as my referencing one of my Tico Times articles, which has been moved or removed. I’ve just submitted an … Read more

Should I Offer Seller Financing?

This question just in from a land owner in Uvita.

I have a question about owner financing of real estate property for sale, and do not really know anyone else, besides you, to trust with a realistic, objective and intelligent answer.

We just received an email from the real estate agent who brought the buyer today, asking us what our financing terms would be. As of this moment, I do not know any details about the offer price, what the buyer’s financial position is, how much they have in cash as a down-payment, but before putting our cards on the table, I wanted to ask you about usual and customary seller financing terms in Costa Rica.

Seller financing in Costa Rica
Is Seller Financing a good idea for a seller of property in Costa Rica? Definitely. However, there are a few questions to answer first.

What would be typical and reasonable financing terms?

  • Is asking a 50% down payment, with a 7-8% interest rate, maybe a balloon payment or 2, in a year or 2, reasonable?
  • How can we make the deal air-tight as far as security of the down payment, and if buyer does not meet balloon payments, we get the property back, with no hassle.
  • Is there some sort of legal process, escrow or trust vehicle here in Costa Rica to protect us, the seller, from default?

Quick answer (based on info provided):

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Moving to Costa Rica Part II

Geese metaphore for seaonal residents in Costa Rica


Keeping a property “back home” and having a property in Costa Rica is a common device used by many here in The Zone (Costa Ballena). This is especially evident this time of year as we transition into the dry season and familiar faces that have not been seen for some months start to reappear.

Retirees: once again a mainstay of expat residents in Costa Rica. These have the financial wherewithal to keep a home here in Costa Rica, as well as “back home”. This is a rather common scenario for migrators.

Geese metaphore for seaonal residents in Costa Rica
Moving with the seasons.

Canadians: This group of migrators is in an almost enforced pattern of migration. Canada has a socialized medical system that seems to work pretty well. However, in order to qualify for this health care, they must spend (and this varies by province), roughly half of the year in their home in Canada.

Most provinces and territories also require residents to be physically present 183 days annually, and provide evidence of their intent to return to the province. (Click for reference)

I have some Canadian clients who had intended to fully relocate to Costa Rica. Upon discovering this fact about qualifying for health care, their plans changed and they became migrators.

Life-stylers: this flavor of migrators have the enviable status of being able to maintain a home here as well as “back home”. They come for the season of their choice, and then spend the rest of their time in whatever pursuits they have elsewhere.

Upside / Downside:

With a single visit, it becomes apparent that Costa Rica is popular for a reason. One can actually relax here.

Quieting down the internal dialogue, when once experienced, becomes important.

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Moving to Costa Rica Part I

Globe with arrows showing relocation paths from different areas.

I have dedicated much of the past 7 years of my life to working in real estate in The Zone, now commonly known as the Costa Ballena. Despite having closed our office, I would like for the accumulated experience of those years to continue to be of service to those looking to move, live or simply invest here in Costa Rica. It turns out that my toe is indeed staying in the industry, and interestingly, in a rather passive way.

Globe with arrows showing relocation paths from different areas.
People move to Costa Rica from various areas of the globe.

I have not yet announced my new consultation service, but it has begun, simply due to e-mails and phone and Skype calls from people who read this blog, or word of mouth publicity.

The sub-text to this article comes from a phone call that I received 2 days ago from a young couple in Oregon. I had worked with the man’s parents, showing them property a couple of years back. They make up an interesting and growing demographic for The Zone: people moving to Costa Rica that want to simplify, and lessen their dependence on utility companies, grocery stores, and even the government. In other words: off the grid-ers.

I love the way he put this. I think that this one line “not looking to reform the system, but instead create a parallel” to the existing one, typifies what so many feel in today’s world. His call resulted in an initial Skype consultation that lasted more than an hour between his wife, himself and me and dealt with topics ranging from finding a re-location property, getting residency, cost of living, bringing a family-member-dog, buying versus bringing a car, home-schooling, health care and so on.

In my recent visits to the States, and also in discussions here in The Zone with visitors and expats, I observe a trend away from reforming the existing system.In one statement, he effectively voiced a sentiment that seems to be gaining ground these days. The feeling that the current system is in a state of decay. What I appreciate about this statement is that this is not a defeatist position. Instead, he wishes to create a parallel way of living. Well put man! And I think that living in Costa Rica offers a viable option for this strategy.

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How To Buy… And End Up Happy

We had an inquiry recently that concluded in a remarkable way. This gentleman said, “I will accept defective land due to lack of funds. (I was ripped off 5 times!).” I had to ask myself, how does one experience being “ripped off 5 times” in a country where the process of buying land it quite … Read more

Sellers Options in Costa Rica

Ben Vaughn, co-owner of Guys In The Zone Real Estate, explains the three listing options available to Costa Rican property owners. There is no Multiple Listing Service in the southern Pacific zone of Costa Rica, which expands the listing possibilities– the Open Listing, the Exclusive Listing, and the (new) Modified Exclusive Listing. Please visit Ben … Read more

Cash Is King

The inspiration for this post came from a recent article fed from LinkedIn. The title was “38% of Homes Purchased in 2011 Bought with Cash.” I thought to myself, 38%?! That number seemed high, so I did I little more research. According to another article in USA Today, that number was as low as 12% … Read more

Pura Vida Poll, August 2011

August begins a new Guys In The Zone tradition, the poll question. As some of you know, we have been increasingly active with the social marketing and networking lately. LinkedIn, in particular, has inspired many new connections and ideas. The Poll will be a regular addition to our Talk Show and articles, and who knows? … Read more