There are real estate agencies down here, but you will only find them in the bigger cities and in your beach communities. Most properties are for sale by owner. And buyer beware. Never pay cash for anything when it comes to real property. There are certain areas that are set aside for agricultural use and that only the nationals can buy. You always want to see the plans of the property. Sometimes you can get a great deal and other times you can get a really bad one. The area I live in averages around $20 per square meter. One square meter is roughly 3 square feet. I paid $30,000 for my house on my small property. Our property is only 200 sq mts, and our house is only 57 sq mts (613 sq ft). But it is only my husband and I. Our house has 3 bedrooms and one bathroom. We are turning one of the bedrooms into a living room for us. It is a common feature down here to have the kitchen, dinning room and living room all one space. I need a little more spread out room than that. They also do not use acres here, they are hectacres, which is around 2.7 acres. I had a friend of mine who just sold his property with a one bedroom house and a nice storage shed for $70,000, his property was around 7 acres. The closer you go to the beaches the more it is going to be.
Getting a loan is not an easy thing to do and it is a process just like in the States. But if you get your loan in dollars instead of colones you will get a lower interest rate. Why? I have no idea. You will have to have copies of your income, certified. Copies of your cedula card and a lot of patient. We also had to submit the plans of the property to the bank and they had to verify it. They will send out a surveyor to survey the property, ours cost $150. They don’t really inspect the house, that is really up to you. But if they see something that is not up to code they will tell you to get it fixed. We were in the process of putting in another electrical outlet when they showed up. Showed the guy we had the part and he said OK. Our closing was a lot quicker than any I have been to in the States. Only took us about an hour. Went over everything with the attorney and signed our life away. House is ours and I love it. We originally applied for the loan in May and had our closing at the end of June. So, I really don’t think it took us that long. Just really nervous about it, we didn’t have any credit established here yet. But since the housing market crash they are extra careful about giving loans out. But if we can do, anyone can.