By Ivo Henfling
Most people, when looking at condos for sale in Costa Rica, they look at how well the condominium is located to their needs, what amenities the condominium has to offer and how good the security of the community is. But many buyers of condominiums in Costa Rica forget how important all the legal issues are. And by legal issues, I don't mean the things that your attorney takes care of at closing.
I'm talking about many other issues that most don't think of when they are ready to buy a townhouse or an apartment, especially if the property is offered by the developer of the condominium or their sales people. Let me tell you a bit about all these pros and cons you should look at before you purchase a property in a condominium, no matter if it is a home site, a town house or an apartment.
Cons of buying in a gated community in Costa Rica
* You pay monthly homeowners association dues. You have to contribute to assessments for major maintenance or renovations.
* You may find condominium rules and regulations too restrictive.
* Ownership rights and responsibilities of condos are sometimes legally and financially complex.
* Some lenders have restrictions on making loans or mortgage for a condominium (if they’re set up as a Coop).
* Re-sale condos, apartment or a townhouse is more sensitive to market trends than a single-family home.
When you purchase a property in a gated community from the developer, make sure you do the following:
• Use a realtor, preferable a GoDutch realtor, it will not cost you anything extra (as the developer already included the realtor commission in the price) and you get all kinds of extra services that the developer will not give you.
• If you have pets, make sure before you put any money down, that pets are allowed (at least the one that you want to have) is allowed by the bylaws or Condo rules and regulations
• Always use your own closing attorney. Do not use the developer’s attorney, even when the developer offers you the closing clost included in the price of the condo or offers a discount. The reason for this is that the developer’s attorney will only protect his client, the developer, not you.
• Ask if parking and storage areas have their own title or are included in the common areas or have their own title.
• Make sure you are receiving the title of the condo plus the storage and parking at closing.
• Many developers put the new properties into a corporation and instead of transferring the title, they transfer the corporation to at closing. If you’re buying the property (ies) in a corporation from the developer, make sure you also receive the shares of the corporation, the powers of attorney and they change the board of directors. The closing attorney should make sure this is done, but might not.
• Make sure you receive the CC & R’s or bylaws (Condo rules and regulations) at closing
• Even if you purchase the condo with a bank mortgage, you need to make sure you get shares of the corporation, powers of attorney and board of directors transferred because the bank’s attorneys won’t do that for you. The bank doesn’t care who has ownership as long as they have the lien on the property.
• When the developers deliver the finished condo, the deliver many at the same time. Nobody controls if everything is well done and in working order. So make sure you get a home inspector before you close and do not pay the full price until you are sure everything works well. Hold some money in escrow until you’ve lived in the condo for a couple of months. Make sure you use an escrow company or the escrow account of a Costa Rica attorney for this.
• Do not disburse the full purchase price until the developer has delivered all common areas.
All those reasons above should be sufficient to show you that you should use a GoDutch Realty realtor for all your purchases of real estate in Costa Rica, especially when you are buying from a developer.
Your GoDutch Realtors can offer you a wide selection of luxury condos in communities like Escazu, Santa Ana and Atenas but also a good inventory of starter condos for those with a lower budget or looking for an investment with a good return, especially if you plan to use your IRA or 401K to purchase one.
Do not use some FSBO website to buy a condominium because you won't have the availability of a good realtor to protect you and the seller will not help you with the utilities and other important things.
Most condominiums are located in Escazu and Santa Ana but you will also find condos in Cariari and lots in condominium in Atenas. Many cities like Grecia won't allow condominiums because of the low density zoning of that city, but we can find you the right Grecia single family home with pleasure.
GoDutch Realty offers condos for sale in different buildings in the Central Valley. Each listing will show how much the monthly maintenance fees are.
GoDutch Realty offers town houses for sale in different condominiums in the Central Valley. Each listing will show how much the monthly maintenance fees are.
GoDutch Realty offers homes sites for sale but most are located in gated communities and not in condominiums in the Central Valley. Each listing will show how much the monthly maintenance fees are.
Ivo Henfling, your Escazu and Santa Ana realtor