Making Sure Your Costa Rica Real Estate Is a Safe & Profitable Investment
Now that the excitement of owning your own piece of paradise in Costa Rica has sunk in, it's time to get serious and start carefully think about how you are going to make sure that your Costa Rica real estate will be a safe and profitable investment.
You have now found a new life in paradise. It is possible for you to sit back and focus on enjoying life and the “pure vida” while letting qualified, experienced property management professionals help you to ensure that your real estate will always remain worth top-dollar.
Good property managers can be a challenge to find depending on the area of Costa Rica you choose to live in, but finding that peace of mind, knowing that every detail will be attended, makes it all worthwhile. Here in Atenas we have been blessed with many qualified property managers that do a great job and can help you achieve your goals.
With a responsible property manager in place, questions like ‘Are my municipal taxes paid?” will not be a worry. If these taxes are not paid in a timely manner, your house can be seized ('embargada') by the state. What about condominium maintenance fees? If left unpaid, the administrator can put you in 'cobro judicial', which will mean that you will not be able to sell your home, no matter how attractive an offer you get until that debt is paid and the Costa Rican government releases the house of any legal obligations.
Having your property professionally managed by a reputable company or individual gives you the freedom and piece of mind to enjoy Costa Rica and your new found “pura vida”.
Property management professionals will take care of all the important details as well as those ‘little things’ to maintain your property and it's value to the highest standards.
Some property managers specialize in specific types of real estate while others work with all types of property, from single family homes, multi-unit luxury condos and small commercial office spaces. It is not uncommon for property manages to provide a full range of remodeling and construction management services. This is important because with the right experience and connections, they will ensure that quality control and cost efficiency is a priority when making these improvements. In some cases, property managers will include an incidental expenses account into the budget. Why? As you know every building will at some point require redecoration, or perhaps a major repair which will be not included into the maintenance fee you pay monthly.
Some of the services that professional property managers provided may include:
1. Arranging for general upkeep with gardeners and maids.
- Paying all utility bills.
- Paying property taxes and corporate taxes.
- Pay insurance policies.
- Arranging for general maintenance issues and repairs (fumigation, touch up painting)
- Meet and greet of clients (in the case of vacation rentals).
- Maintenance and upkeep for your vehicle.
- Monthly accounting statements.
8. Good communication so you always are aware the status of your valuable investment.
Why do you want help with all of this?
When you buy property in a foreign country there are many thing that you need to be aware of. It is possible that you have heard and most likely have already learned that the system of law in Costa Rica is different to what most people in North America are accustomed to and that could be a potentially dangerous 'difference' if you are not up to date and don't know what you're doing.
Taking care of even one property can be a full-time job for you 'if' you don't know what you're up against. If you would prefer to have an expert taking care of all those headaches for you then read on.
Collecting the rent that is owed to you can sometimes be a 'challenge' especially if you are an absentee owner. You must be aware of what you can and cannot do. A good property manager will enforce all rules and regulations, take care of services and notices, as well as collecting the rent. They will collect the monthly rent from tenants on your behalf and deposit it into your bank account or credit it into your expense account.
Property protection starts with a comprehensive visual and written record of the exact condition of the property before and after the property manager starts working with your property.
Periodic inspections should be carried out to ensure that your property is being properly cared for. With the help of digital photography, these records can be maintained efficiently to provide accurate documentation of the 'pre' and 'post' condition of the unit and it's furnishings.
Residents of condominiums will pay a maintenance fee. This charge will vary, depending on what amenities your condo offers. Typically speaking, a service charge will cover your security services, management and maintenance that includes gardening, building preventative maintenance, cleaning of common areas and maintenance of the swimming pool. Your property manager will inspect all the work to ensure that it is complete and up to their high standards.
As a homeowner, why should you care about this? The answer is simple! A well maintained home will appreciate in value better than a home that is not maintained. Your home is an investment, protect it.
In addition a well-maintained, presentable home will be more secure because it looks as if it is occupied and cared for, whereas other homes that look un-occupied will be more susceptible to break-ins and vandalism. You want to ensure that the hard earned money that you have put into this property will be protected and that it will always be a good investment.
What problems could occur?
What if there is a thunderstorm where a window breaks and water starts flooding in? Who is going to fix it? Heavy rain could damage or ruin your curtains, carpets, wood flooring, TV and other appliances. The dollars can add up quickly! A property manager will get these problems fixed for you as quickly as possible.
Who will take care of the Public Services like taxes, water, electricity & telephone?
You could face a lawsuit in Costa Rica if you forget to pay your taxes or the maintenance fee in your condo or community. The property management company should also take care of things like insurance, power, water and taxes which could all be paid from the rents collected, if you are using your home as a rental property.
Who will take care of security?
You don’t want to arrive at your home in Costa Rica after a long trip, tired to discover that someone has broken into your house, stolen your car and your entertainment center. Having an extra set of ‘eyes’ looking over your property is just good business.
Some companies can try to ensure that you have the best security that's available to protect your home, your investment.
Whether you are living here or not, Costa Rica has a very humid climate, especially in the rainy season and your home needs to be cleaned regularly to avoid any serious humidity problems that could seriously damage your furniture and belongings. You know how you feel when you walk into a sparkling, freshly cleaned home? Perhaps you would like your home to be cleaned from top to bottom the day before you arrive so that you don't have to worry about that? It is a good idea to have your home cleaned a minimum of twice per month to avoid problems.
Who will take care of your car?
Who is going to send the car to the garage for a check-up? Who will get the annual Riteve check-up done for your car? Be aware that if you don't get and pass this annual inspection, you won't be able to drive the car. Your property management company can have an expert check your car, re-connect the battery, check the tires and oil so that everything is running smoothly when you step off the plane.
Monthly progress reports?
Each month you will receive a clear and simple report showing all transactions. They will also keep you up to date on the progress of any improvements you may be having done or give you a general status report of the property.
Helping to welcome you home to Costa Rica....
It would be great if you had all the basic necessities and your favorite goodies in your refrigerator waiting for you when you arrived, right? Instead of worrying that you don't have milk in the house as you stand there with your arms full of baggage, you can sigh with relief knowing that your property management company has stocked your refrigerator with the products that you have specifically ordered. With the right team working to achieve your goals, with each visit your home will rise up to meet you as you enter the front door.
Having a great property management team in place can be invaluable. You can rest assured that your investment is being look after and maintained in your absence. When you arrive to Costa Rica, your only job will be breathing the fresh mountain air, soaking up the sunshine, enjoying the beautiful surroundings, and learning about what the locals call ‘pura vida’!
Costa Rica Realtors Chamber
Tours in Costa Rica
Pure Life Development of Atenas is a full service tour company. We feature full vacation packages and day trips for the family. Our tour director Nelson Conejo is very experienced and provides a personal service and attention to detail second to none in Costa Rica. Please write Nelson or give him a call to arrange your next Costa Rican vacation at (506)2446-0447 or
Retirement Living in Atenas
Interview with Pure Life Development co-founder and certified realtor Dennis Easters, about Costa Rica ranked by AARP as "one of the best places to retire abroad".