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Invest in Costa Rica - Relocating Abroad

There are many ways to achieve a dream. For Costa Rica’s investors (known locally as inversionistas) the dream hinges on a select inventory of Costa Rica investment properties: the right home, the right restaurant, the right hotel, the right business – that just-right investment to suit your budget, your needs, and your other requirements.

 

The logistics, the planning, and their implementation can be daunting, though. 

 

That’s because relocating abroad as an investor is a category unto itself. Literally. Investor relocation has specific requirements and benefits, adding a new tier of challenge and consideration: In addition to your standard questions on where to live, how to secure residency, and what your healthcare will look like, you’ll also have to consider your tax obligations, employment law, and other investor needs.

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How We Can Help

Hi, I’m Rebecca Clower. My friends call me Becky and I hope you will, too.

 

You and I likely have a lot in common. Years ago, I moved to Costa Rica. I purchased real estate. I invested in building a business here. And I remember all the questions I had about everything from the step-by-step of moving, residency, and healthcare to taxes, employment law, and Costa Rican banking. I know what you’re feeling right now. 

 

More than 15 years later, I’ve made a wonderful life and sound investments here. Along the way, I’ve created successful businesses. I founded Blue Water Properties of Costa Rica. And I’ve found my pura vida. And I’ve helped many others find excellent investments, relocate their lives, and realize their goals in paradise. It’s your turn now.

Moving Checklist

Chances are good you’re the planning sort. That’s a good thing, since you’re relocating to Costa Rica, especially as an investor; this usually requires a lot of thinking ahead, meticulous planning, and detailed preparation. 

 

There’s a lot to consider. Not the least of which, what type of investment is right for you? Where will you live? What will be your foreign and local tax obligations? How about your cost of living? The minutiae of living and investing in Costa Rica are something you’ll have to think over, plan, and decide upon, long before you invest in life abroad. Even if it is in paradise.

Costa Rican Investor Residency

Costa Rica’s investor residency category, known as Inversionista residency, is a temporary residency category created for anyone relocating abroad and who would like to invest in Costa Rica, be it in a business, a forestry/reforestation project, or real estate investment.

 

In order to qualify for Costa Rican investor relocation via your real estate purchase, you will need to buy a property (and your deed of purchase must reflect the purchase price) for $200,000+. (Per Bill of Law N. 22156, this amount will be reduced from $200,000 to $150,000. Confirmation pending!)

Benefits of Costa Rica Investor Residency: 

  •  Two-year residency, renewable for additional two-year periods, for as long as you hold your investment
  • Upgrade to permanent residency after three years
  • A spouse and dependents will be included under the umbrella of the inversionista’s residency

Note that, as an inversionista, you cannot work locally in Costa Rica. You can work remotely for companies located abroad. You may also earn income from your investment (but you cannot work in/provide labor for your business, if applicable).

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s different for everyone but the answer is probably. Or, better said, eventually. While you may begin with an extended stay and perpetual tourism – a sort of try-before-you-buy status for anyone interested in Costa Rica living – as an investor, you’ll eventually want to transition to legal residency. 

 

Residency is a guarantee of permanence and security, which is especially important when you’ve made an investment in relocating abroad.  

 

  •     Legal Right to Reside: As a resident, you can stay in Costa Rica for as long as your residency is valid. No forced exits. And no worries about changing tourist requirements.
  •     Costa Rican Driver’s License: Your home country’s driver’s license is only valid for as long as your passport stamp (max: 90 days). As a resident, you can transfer (homologar) your home license to a Costa Rican license.
  •     CCSS Healthcare: As a resident, you’ll pay into Costa Rica’s public healthcare system, known as the Caja or CCSS. This grants you access to all public healthcare services, with no copays, deductibles, or additional fees, ever.
  •     Permanent Residence: While the residency categories below begin as temporary residency, most allow you to upgrade to permanent residency after three years. Not only does permanent residency grant you longer residence periods and the right to work in Costa Rica but it’s also a path to citizenship, were you to so desire it.
  •       Tax Exemptions: Coming soon! A recent law (still in process) will grant certain residency categories significant import tax exemptions on household goods and vehicles.
  •     Investment Tax Exemptions: Coming soon! The same recent law will provide additional tax exemptions, including transfer tax exemptions, income tax exemptions, and other business-related tax exemptions
  • Ease of Daily Life: Life is just easier as a resident. You can easily open bank accounts, connect utilities, get a cell phone, request a firma digital (digital signature hardware, widely used in Costa Rica), and more. 
  • Resident Discounts: Did you know that Costa Ricans and residents have access to discounts throughout Costa Rica, from ¢1,000 entrance to national parks to hotel discounts?

 

At Blue Water Properties, we have the opportunity to discuss investments and real estate in Costa Rica with a wide variety of people. And, while each of you is completely unique and with your own set of needs and priorities, our experience tells us that there are five major “types” of investments out there:

 

  1.   Rental Home Investment: Many buyers see real estate in Costa Rica as a right-now kind of investment: The ultimate goal is not long-term, but rather profit today. So, they purchase a home with a certain set of characteristics, with the primary goal of offering it as a vacation rental home that will not only pay for their purchase, but also turn a profit.
  2.   Second Home Investment: Costa Rica has the wonderful knack for ticking off wish-list boxes: Spectacular locale. Near-perfect weather. A short flight from home. Must-have amenities, like ocean views and infinity pools. Easy immigration entry requirements (and a 90-day vacation stay, easily renewable!). As second-home investments go, Costa Rica is a great one. Here, you can find everything you need and most of what you want, at a price you can afford.
  3.   Future Retirement Home Investment: If you’re researching real estate in Costa Rica for future retirement purposes, then you’ve come to the right place! This type of investment – and lifestyle change – is very popular. In fact, Costa Rica’s expat retirement community is quite large: Drawn by beach living, year-round sun, plenty of active lifestyle offerings, and the general draw of “paradise,” current and future retirees/pensioners zero in on Costa Rica’s offerings.
  4.   Hybrid (Rental/Second) Home Investment: We may have already posted a few spoilers, but this hybrid purpose represents a common style of real estate investment in Costa Rica: Purchase a home primarily as an investment-for-profit, but benefit from your purchase as a second home or personal vacation home. It’s the best of both worlds!
  5.   Business/Commercial Property Investment: Commercial real estate in Costa Rica, paired with our strong tourism economy and welcoming laws, means that your investment not only qualifies you for residency (inversionista, or investor residency; minimum investment required) but also enables you to legally make money while owning a business in paradise. Not a bad deal!

Yes, foreigners can own property in Costa Rica and have the same ownership rights as Costa Rican citizens. Ownership rights are guaranteed by the Costa Rican Constitution and apply to all, regardless of whether the property is placed in the name of a corporation or in the name of an individual.

It can look like any type of investment you’d like to make. You can literally purchase an investment condo in a high-rise building to a successful local restaurant to agricultural land. If you have questions about what kind of investment to make, we can help you work through it!

 

Finding Housing

Housing is always a complex topic, and even more so when you’re relocating to Costa Rica. This is a major transition and there are going to be bumps in the road. Housing doesn’t need to be one of them. 

 

As you begin searching for housing, you’ll want to begin by considering whether you’re interested in a long-term rental or a home purchase. Once you’ve decided on the big stuff, including the almighty where, you’ll want to consider other major factors, which include the specific location, traffic, distance to certain points of interest (ex. schools), microclimates, availability of utilities, roads, and the current real estate panorama in your chosen town, city, or community.

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Cost of Living in Costa Rica

All this talk of investment, not enough about the day-to-day! Costa Rica’s cost of living will depend on the life you lead: For example, a single investor living frugally will generally spend less than a family of five living in a luxury home and sending their three children to an international private school. 

 All that said, there are a few very general rules to the cost of living in Costa Rica. Here are the major points to consider.

Helpful Resources

Capital Gains in Costa Rica: When, How, and How Much?

Before 2019, there was no tax on capital gains in Costa Rica (except for property developers). On July 1 of that year, a tax was implemented – but not to the extent you might fear.

Costa Rica Property Tax: How Much Will You Owe?

If you’re wondering how much you’ll likely pay in Costa Rican property tax, know that there’s a lot of information – some outdated, some conflicting, and much of it confusing.

3 Types of Income-Producing Costa Rica Investment Properties

Costa Rica investment properties can be classified into different categories. Here are three big ones: existing businesses, hotels, and income-producing homes/vacation rentals. 

Book Your Investor Relocation Package

What We Do

  •       One-on-One Conversations: My relocation assistance to invest in Costa Rica begins and concludes with one-on-one conversations – just you and me (Becky Clower). This gives you a chance to get personal and answer all those nitty-gritty, detailed questions that matter most to you. Go ahead – ask me anything!
  •       Relocation E-Course: We’ll set you up for our Costa Rica relocation e-course, delivered via email. Explore, learn, and discover at your own pace, in your own time.
  • Our “Little Black Book”: For nearly two decades, my team and I have compiled a list of our most trusted contacts: best-in-class professionals, service providers, and other resources throughout Costa Rica. Now, that list is yours.
  • Exclusive Relocation Resources: Everyone has access to my free eBook but only my consulting clients receive the whole library of resources, PDFs, eBooks, and other digital resources. This includes a Relocation eBook, Guanacaste Community eBook and Moving Checklist!

Schedule a Consultation

Reserve your one-on-one relocation consult! Our basic package is $500 and includes everything at left, including two one-on-one phone conversations (one hour each).

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