Purchasing Property

Costa Rican law does not restrict foreign ownership of Costa Rican property.

The process of purchasing a home or land here in Costa Rica is quite simple. Our agency will walk you through the process with ease and efficiency.

Once you have selected a home or parcel of land you may make a verbal offer to The real estate agent. We present the offer to the seller. The seller may agree to the offer or come back with a counter offer. Once a price is agreed upon we provide you with a well established Real Eatate attorney. The attorney will discuss with you the details of getting you to the closing.

A Purchase contract will be prepared with all the details and signed by the buyer and seller. You may want to set up a corporation and put your property in that corporation.

In some cases the property you are purchasing is already in a corporation and you can consider simply purchasing the shares of that corporation.

It is customary that the buyer pays the closing costs and the attorney fees (3.9% of the agreed sale price). The seller pays the Real estate commission.

In every purchase a due diligence is preformed by the attorney. Most buyers prefer to open an escrow account through a secure title company (STLA) designating that account to that particular property being purchased.

All Deposits are made to the escrow account and the (balance) full amount is transferred to the escrow account just prior to the closing date.

A closing statement is prepared and sent to both buyer and seller. On the closing day The Title is transferred electronically while the funds are also transferred to the seller.

The Costa Rican Government operates a computerized public registry of properties in Costa Rica which provides information as to ownership, title, liens, encumbrances, boundaries, property taxes and other recorded documents, so that clear title can be assured when property is purchased.

We recommend the use of a reputable attorney when purchasing property in Costa Rica and we can provide you with a list of honest lawyers.

Opening A Bank Account

In order to open a bank account you will need to provide the bank with the following:

Your Passport

A letter from your current bank stating you are in good standing with them.

You will also need to provide statements of your source of income (such as W-2 or tax returns)

Also 6 months of current bank statements.

You will also need two letters of recommendation from local businesses

Delux Property Management

DeLux Property Management Is a division of Moran Real Estate, Established in 2010.

We started out by providing high end home Rentals for clients wishing to rent before buying.

We provide property management services for owners who wish to rent their homes while not in Costa Rica, and regular inspection, maintenance programs for properties, including security, grounds, pool and house maintenance.

Give us a call today.

Moran Real Estate Arenal

Moran Real Estate is one of the oldest, full service real estate companies In Lake Arenal. With over 20 years experience, our listing data base has the largest selection of land and homes available.

We have the experience and knowledge to make your move to Lake Arenal simple and easy.

Our services go way beyond selling real estate. We can assist you in opening a bank account, getting phone and internet service, getting legal council, and applying for residency, to name a few.

We give you up to date information about living here at the lake. Be it the weather or where to go for services and anything you can think of.

Give us a call and we will show you your dream property.

Hints For Happy Living

Lake Arenal is one of the most beautiful, bio diverse, peaceful places on planet earth, but here are some suggestions and information to make your life here easier and more comfortable.


Utilities in Costa Rica are dependable and relatively inexpensive. The telephone and electricity companies are government owned monopoly called ICE. Costa Rica produces excess electricity through wind, hydro electric and geo thermal and exports electricity to Nicaragua and Panama.

Satellite TV service is available via Direct TV and other systems which provides TV coverage throughout the world. Payments for Satellite TV may be paid at the Banco National and they will deduct the cost from your account if you make arrangements with them.

Electricity and phone may be paid through a local bank by setting up an account, where they will receive your statements and pay your bills.


Water in the Lake Arenal area is abundant and clean, in the towns and on most of the main public roads it is supplied by the municipalities. If you are in an area not serviced by public water lines there are springs everywhere and if not you can drill a well with almost certainty of finding water.


Garbage is picked up in and near the town of Nuevo Arenal once a week. The fee for garbage service is added to your property tax and is about $25 per year.


Sewage is disposed of in this area via septic tanks and drainage fields, which if adequately designed and built will almost never need care.


The Arenal region is in an agricultural zone and thus has particular rules and regulations pertaining to development. There is no zoning as such, so that land may be used as you wish, without special permit. The law regarding the sub division of land is as follows. If you are within 60 meters (roughly 200 feet) of a public road, you may sub divided into whatever lot size you wish. Beyond 60 meters you are restricted to a minimum lot size of 5000 meters, or approximately 1.25 acres. A licensed engineer is needed to sub divide land and register the new parcels with the government, a process that is normally very quick and trouble free.

Another important factor of note is that there exist areas that are designated primary forest. If a property includes land designated as such, it may not be cut or used for any purpose and shall remain in effect park.

Building codes do exist and it is advisable to have a licensed architect draw your plans and submit them for permitting. For residential purposes this is normally very quick and easy. The fees for such work are set by the government, but may be negotiated somewhat.


The current rough rule of thumb for construction cost in this area is about $85 per square foot for quality construction. There are numerous reputable contractors available. If you wish to build or renovate yourself labor costs are between $1 and $2 per hour and there is plenty of willing skilled labor available. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the local laws pertaining to the health insurance you must provide to your workers while they are working for you.


There is a tremendous variety of flora and fauna to be found around the Lake. Yes there are snakes, but luckily you very seldom even see them. And surprisingly insects are not a problem either. There are virtually no mosquitoes, or sand flies.


With up to 150 inches of rain annually, there are some months that get more rain than others. Generally December and January are rainy months here, but the rainfall varies significantly in the various micro climates surrounding the Lake. Ask for a copy of the rainfall map to get a clearer picture.

The climate around the lake is for the most part pleasant and cool and there is no need for air conditioning, with the average mean temperature about 75 degrees, and never gets oppressively hot and dry as is common in the coastal areas. There are many homes in the area in fact that have fireplaces and the temperature in the winter can get as cold as 60 degrees.


The Costa Rican people are for the most part warm, open, helpful and friendly. However the lake region is experiencing a real estate boom and things are changing rapidly. There is more work, more prosperity and more opportunity than ever in the history of the area. Opportunistic petty crime does exist and it is not advisable to build or live in a remote area without either a full time caretaker, or an alarm system, as robberies do occur when you are away from your home. If several of the gated communities do not appeal to you, then be sure to make other arrangements, so that you will not have any surprises. Otherwise there is little or no violent crime in the area and you can live here in peace, harmony and tranquility.


The town of Arenal has several small grocery stores which are adequate for everyday shopping. For more variety and availability the residents around the Lake make weekly trips to the nearby town of Tilaran, which has several large supermarkets, several pharmacies and a variety of other stores which are not available in the smaller towns. Many residents of the area make periodic trips to San Jose to shop at Price Mart (similar to Sam’s Club, or Cost U Less), Office Depot and others for more intense shopping, as well as some very large supermarkets which sell almost all products found in supermarkets in the U.S.


Arenal has a local clinic that provides service for most emergency medical needs. If more is necessary there is a larger clinic in Tilaran. There is ambulance service available in Arenal. 20 minutes from Tilaran in Canas, is a new modern state of the art hospital which is fully equipped and staffed.

There is a huge new state of the art medical complex under construction at this time in Libeia, one and a half hours from the Lake consisting of two hospitals, one owned by Baylor University which will offer assited iving, golf course, condominiums and hotels and be the largest medical complex in Central America. There is a detailed article about this on my blog.

Health insurance is available to foreign nationals once you become a resident for about $50 per month for full coverage eyes, teeth, all medications and no penalty for pre existing conditions.


Inexpensive taxi service is available in Arenal and arrangements can be made for airport pick up or even day trips to the beaches and San Jose. There are several trucking services available that will pick up or deliver cargo from San Jose for a reasonable fee (check the hardware store in Arenal). Regular bus service is available in Arenal with connections throughout Costa Rica and even to Nicaragua and Panama.

Bus service is also provided to and from the International Airport in San Jose.

Car Rental Agencies are available in Fortuna about 45 minutes away and can be delivered to the Lake through our arrangement with Adobe Car Rental where we can offer discounts to our clients:


Call Orlando Aray
Phone: 506 2542 4800; Cell 506 8918 3009
email: corpgte@adobecar.com

GPS and Cell Phone rental also


An important subject in Costa Rica, and not to be of concern if you are aware and precautious. In the Lake Arenal region and throughout Costa Rica for that matter there does exist petty crime and theft, usually petty crimes of opportunity. Never leave anything of value in your car and always lock it where ever you go. If you are considering buying or building a home not in a gated community or a close knit residential community, we strongly advise you have a full time live in house keeper/caretaker, either in an apartment in your home, or in a small cottage on your property. This will prevent any unfortunate problems which can easily be prevented. Just remember you are seen as wealthy foreigners moving into what had been a poor rural farm community. The people are happy to see you as you are providing jobs and opportunities that did not exist before, but be aware of the criminal element that exists in all societies and you will be fine.