Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Costa Rica - Real Estate Heaven? or Hell?

Long time, no post. Been back to the U.S., down to Costa Rica with a little visit in NYC for some VAT exempt shopping.

While in Costa Rica I went out a couple of days and looked at property. My initial impression? Fantastic value, great climate, blah blah blah. After a little investigation about their real estate laws, which make the wild west look like an anal rentitive Swiss banker, my enthusiasm was dampened considerably. For instance, let's say you find a great property of 1,000 acres, and there are certainly some of them out there. If someone decides to 'squat' on your land, you will lose some, or all of it to them. Yes, they must be there more than three months for the initial title challenge, but if they manage to evade detection for a year, you're most likely up the proverbial creek.

A shame really, the country is very pretty, relatively safe, and did I mention the climate? If they were to reform their laws to provide land owners a bit more safety, FDI would jump I'm sure. But with a myriad of legal trapdoors awaiting a casual investor, it is buyer beware in very serious way.

OK, enough soapbox action, enjoy the photos. One more locale that earns the "a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there" prize.