Video FAQ Series #1 – Financing, MLS and Working Remotely.
Tank Tops Flip Flops Newsletter no. 225
Welcome to the first installment of our Costa Rica FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Series, where we dive into the nitty-gritty of real estate and property investment and as always – life in Costa Rica.
Video 1: Is there Financing in Costa Rica?
A question often asked, yet rarely answered comprehensively. Yes, there is financing in Costa Rica, but very few foreigners I know have ever gone through the entire process. First, it is very hard to get financing as a foreigner because they generally want to see income here in Costa Rica. But many people have a lot of wealth and net worth and will qualify for the financing. For lack of a better word is there are a lot of fees involved with the financing in Costa Rica. Upfront fees to set up the mortgage (Points) and fees to release the mortgage later down the line.
Interest rates can be generally two or three percent over what they are in the United States or Canada so if the interest rates are three or four percent in the United States you’re at six seven percent here but if they’re at seven or eight percent in the US or Canada, you’re looking at 10 or 11 percent and many of these loans are fluctuating loans they’re not a fixed rate so down the line you’re not quite sure how that interest rate is going to play out. What I’ve always said to people is really in all honesty if you can’t afford to pay cash you probably shouldn’t be buying a second home in Costa Rica the last thing you want to do is have a big mortgage payment and then something crazy comes along like covid or an economic crash like 2008 and here you are worried about paying a mortgage payment on a house in another country. So there are easier ways to obtain money back in your home country. Many people are sitting on a lot of net worth right now in the stock market after all the years of growth and many people are cashing that in and using that money to buy property in Costa Rica. Many people are taking equity lines of credit back home as again there is a lot of equity in our homes in the United States and Canada. People are also using a self-directed IRA where you can use your retirement funds to purchase an investment property in Costa Rica.
Video 2: Is there an MLS in Costa Rica?
Is there an MLs in Costa Rica? Well I guess technically there is there’s a group right now that we work with that’s part of the licensing board of Costa Rica that is in the process of trying to put together an MLS. Hopefully over the next three or four or five years that MLS will grow and that MLS will be somewhere where you can go and get all the information that you need. Right now it’s in its infancy it is brand new and so the problem that you have with that MLS is first of all there’s very little information on it because it’s only a few months old so it’s not going to be able to give you the comparables that you would get with an MLs in the United States. What a similar property sold for even six months ago the MLS doesn’t know because it hasn’t been around that long let alone what did something sell for five years ago or ten years ago. Second not all the agents are signed up for the MLS, and not all of the agents truthfully are professional agents in Costa Rica. Many people are part-time agents that do a deal here they do a deal there but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a good listing; that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a good property and maybe it’s the only property they have for sale, maybe it’s their family’s property it’s not going to be on the MLS.
That is the reason that it is super important to work with an agency like Tres Amigos Realty Group that has been here since the beginning because we don’t need to look at the MLS to know what’s for sale we know every single property we know everything that’s for sale and we can tell you the Good the Bad and the Ugly about those properties. You’re much better off to work with a seasoned real estate agent who has been here since the beginning than you are to spend your time searching the internet and searching the MLS. Hopefully in five years I’ll be giving you a different blog telling you that hey with a click of a button you can find out everything that you need to know but right now that is not the case so don’t spend your time on the internet scouring the internet find a really good Agent tell that agent what you want put your trust in that agent and we will get the job done for you.
Video 2: Can I work remotely in Costa Rica?
Can I work remotely in Costa Rica? Yeah, you sure can baby as a matter of fact seems like everybody is doing it! It’s so funny because just a few years ago before covid there’d be all these houses and condos that people were renting and all of a sudden, I wake up today and they’re all occupied. They’re either occupied by the owners that decided ‘why am I working remotely in Austin Texas or Oklahoma when I can be working remotely in Costa Rica’ or they’re renting it to somebody long term that’s working remotely here in Costa Rica. There was a law recently passed that created a digital Nomad Visa that allows you to come down and work in Costa Rica and stay in Costa Rica. You don’t have to leave every 90 days and you can stay and work remotely as long as you can prove that you have a stable job and a stable income and that your employer is allowing you to work remotely. Many people run their own business and they’re like I can do this here I don’t need to do this in Chicago. I had a client literally three months ago who has a big company up in Chicago who ended up moving to Costa Rica. I had another couple with two young daughters who own a big real estate and property management company in Colorado and they said we can do this from Costa Rica, we can run our business from Costa Rica! So they moved down here, they’re putting their kids in private schools and they’re running their business remotely from Costa Rica. Now they might have to take a trip or two back to the United States or they might have to go back to check on their clients but hey a couple trips back a year beats sitting in traffic every single day. So yes you can work remotely and if you want more information on the Digital Nomad you can see that in one of my other blogs and one of my other posts. Hope to see you down here!