Buying your first real estate is a big step, whether you’re purchasing your first home to live in or using it as an investment for rental or resale. No matter what the reason is, large sums of money will be involved and you will be committed to owning the property with all its strengths and weaknesses.
Before you choose your property, there are so many different things to think about, and the process can sometimes be long and challenging. In this article, we’ve compiled some of the most helpful advice and pointers from industry experts to help things run more smoothly for you.
What Is Real Estate?
Real estate (or realty) is a collective term used to refer to all types of interest inland.
Real property can be classified according to what it is made up of (apartments, houses, commercial buildings), and the land will be the most essential part.
Let The Internet Help You
In order to find the property, you’re looking for it’s well worth going online and visiting specialist websites.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume someone is wanting to move to Costa Rica so they can enjoy the weather, healthcare, shopping, and nightlife. You can find specialist sites regarding real estate in Costa Rica that let you narrow down your search by price, location, and property type. There are inventories of homes for sale, as well as condos, farms, ranches, commercial and development properties. You can also find retirement homes or somewhere in a beach town or development.
Consider Your Budget
Before you start looking for a house in Costa Rica, it’s important to consider how much money you have. The last thing that you want is to buy a place that will put you into debt. In order to find houses within your budget, you could set up email alerts with specialist property sites so they can notify you when new listings come onto the market.
You should also think about the other costs associated with homeownership. They include:
- closing costs (e.g., bank fees, commissions)
- moving expenses
- ongoing maintenance and repair costs
- monthly utilities such as gas, electricity, water/sewer bills, etc.
You’ll need to establish how much money you have available to pay the property down payment. Check that the property taxes are low to ensure your monthly payments will remain manageable.
Research The Neighborhood
It’s important to make sure that the neighborhood has sufficient shops and restaurants, and other nearby leisure facilities. You should find somewhere that easily connects to motorways, and that has great train and bus services close to hand. If you are a parent with children of school age, check out the local schools by visiting them and researching online. Try not to move to Costa Rica in the middle of an exam year, but aim to move in before the start of the new school term.
You should also contact the local council department responsible for planning and development to see what the future holds for this area. It’s also wise to check the local crime rates and employment statistics because they can have a direct bearing on the local community.
Get A Home Inspection
You should never buy a home without having it first inspected by professionals. This will help you identify any potential problems with the property that could be expensive to repair or even dangerous for your family. The inspector can also tell you if there’s anything about the house that might prevent you from getting insurance coverage when you start using it as a primary residence.
What should you do if they discover an issue?
- Ask them to fix it before you buy
- Ask them to drop the price
- Buy the property ‘as is’ or seek an alternative
Choose The Right Time
When the property market is slow in Costa Rica it’s good news for first-time buyers. This is because it means prices are lower and the selection of properties is more plentiful. It’s a great idea to buy your home during Christmas or at least right before because there will be fewer people looking to move at this time.
The last thing you’ll want to be is on holiday when there are key house documents to sign. If you have any vacations planned this year, wait until afterward to start your negotiations so they don’t interfere with them.
Use An Agent And Lawyer
An agent will be able to help you navigate the buying process and advise what steps are involved. Different geographical areas have different procedures so an agent’s guidance can prove indispensable – and they’ll have a greater knowledge of properties in the local area than you.
A real estate lawyer will help ensure what you’re buying is what it seems. Many people are tricked into contracts that seem to be standard but that have hidden clauses. They can also discover if what the seller says on the listing doesn’t match what’s in the contract.
Think About The Mortgage Or Loan Option
No matter what option you go with, you need to be certain it will cover all your expenses. This includes the legal fees, closing costs, etc. that we touched on previously. It’s wise to find the right mortgage lender and get pre-approved for the loan. There are different interest rates you need to consider, including fixed and adjustable. The fixed rates are typically better if you plan to live there for a long time, or do not want your payments fluctuating.
Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM) have rates that start off lower than fixed but that can rise after the initial period. The benefit is that they are usually given smaller down payments and monthly installments.
If you take each of these points on board, you will be more confident as you choose your property in Costa Rica and navigate the legal process. Whilst there will be plenty to do and consider, the outcome will be worth all the hard work you have put into the venture.
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