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Post-Closing Essentials for Property Buyers in Costa Rica

by rpetersen

Purchasing property in Costa Rica is an exciting venture, but it’s the steps taken after closing that often determine the smoothness of your transition into being a new property owner. While the process leading up to the closing involves thorough due diligence—like checking the property’s status in the Property Registry, ensuring no liens, encumbrances or easements, and verifying property and municipal tax payments—the journey doesn’t end there. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what you need to do post-closing to ensure everything is in order.

Update Ownership Records at the Local Municipal government.

After the euphoria of closing day, your first official task as a new property owner is to visit the local Municipality where the property is located. Requesting a change of ownership in their records is crucial. This process involves filling out a specific form, called a Declaracion de Bienes Inmuebles, updating the property’s value, and submitting a copy of the property transfer deed ,, and a copy of your identification (cedula or passport). This step ensures that tax payment receipts and other services reflect your name as the new property owner.  Do not assume that this is automatically done at closing.  Your closing Attorney/Notary Public focuses on the transfer of title at the National Property Registry but generally does not deal with the local property tax office.

Transfer Utilities into Your Name

Equally important is updating the owner’s name on the accounts for utilities such as water, electricity, and cable. This requires submitting similar documents to those you provided to the Municipality, but to each utility provider. Thankfully, private companies in Costa Rica are generally more flexible than public institutions about recording these changes, making this process somewhat smoother.

The Consequences of Not Updating Information

Failing to update these records can lead to complications. Bills and payment receipts will continue being issued in the previous owner’s name, and service providers will use outdated contact information. Additionally, verifying your address for bank services or receiving a debit or credit card typically requires a utility receipt, which must reflect your ownership.

Dealing with the Condo HOA

If your new property is within a condominium, it’s imperative to provide a set of documents proving the change of ownership to the Condo Management office. This step is vital not only for billing purposes but also to ensure you are informed about and can participate in Homeowners Association meetings, which could significantly impact your living conditions.


The excitement of acquiring property in Costa Rica shouldn’t overshadow the importance of post-closing responsibilities. While the closing signifies the end of the purchasing process, it marks the beginning of your tenure as a property owner, complete with its set of tasks. Updating ownership records, transferring utilities, and engaging with condominium management are critical steps to ensure a smooth transition. By taking these steps seriously and keeping diligent records, you can enjoy your new property with peace of mind, knowing all administrative tasks are taken care of. Remember, thoroughness in post-purchase activities is just as crucial as the due diligence performed before closing. Welcome to property ownership in Costa Rica—may your new adventure be as rich and rewarding as the stunning vistas the country offers.


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