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How to select a Costa Rica real estate closing attorney
Isn’t the internet a marvel? You are looking for a Costa Rica real estate closing attorney and you just go to Google and type “Costa Rica real estate closing attorney”. This is what you get: 8.5 million results.
That’s worse than trying to find your wife in a full football stadium on a Super bowl and not knowing her seat number, right?
In Costa Rica, lawyers are obliged to be a member of a bar association, or “Colegio de Abogados”. The Costa Rican bar does not publicly say how many members they have. The La Nación newspaper published an article in 2015 where they state that there are approximately 22,500 lawyers in Costa Rica. 1,300 More lawyers graduate each year.
This same article states that in the period from November 2014 to April 2015, the College applied the test to 1,126 graduates in Law and only 338 passed the evaluation with more than 80 (minimum grade of the exam).
A Costa Rica real estate closing attorney also needs to be a notary public to be able to register the purchase-sale deed.
To become a notary public in Costa Rica every “Notario Publico” MUST be an attorney first. After additional training, an attorney can become a notary public, if the professional does complete the requirements.
How many lawyers specialize in real estate?
Who knows, probably Google does, but I can’t find the information anywhere. Google, when you do a search for “Costa Rica real estate closing attorney” will first show you a few lawyers who advertise their business in Google AdWords. If that office comes up as being specialized in real estate, it’s probably worth it to check them out.
Following Google AdWords, you will find quite a few articles about real estate lawyers, such as my own. After that, you get almost 5 million results, minus 10. It might take you a while to wade through the offers, which is why I wrote this blog.
Who should you look for?
You want to make sure you hire a closing attorney who gives you a good and quick service. Their rates are fixed so the cost between one and the other is the same. You do want to ask what the closing cost is going to be before you hire one.
Let’s make it easy for you to find a Costa Rica real estate closing attorney who will do the job for you without getting into trouble.
We already went through this by explaining what a notary public is. If the lawyer you find is not a notary public, you are wasting your time.
I always say that you want three people in your new life in Costa Rica to be fully bilingual. Those are your doctor, your lawyer, and your real estate agent. Don’t hire an attorney who does not communicate well.
A real estate specialist
Why would you ask a dentist to have a look at your heart? Your dentist is also a doctor, but is it the right specialist? I’m amazed how many Costa Rica real estate buyers use a Costa Rica real estate closing attorney who does not specialize in real estate.
You want your earnest money in a safe place. Use an attorney who has an escrow account or uses an escrow company. Too many closing attorneys in Costa Rica hold the earnest money check or put the money in their personal bank account.
There are certain additional services that you will need but that nobody thinks you will. For example, if you are a foreign resident, a will or testament should be a standard service offered at or immediately after closing.
Ask around on the online forums, check references. I’m sure your real estate agent can give you a list of recommended Costa Rica real estate closing attorneys.
The idea of this article is to make you realize that your choice of the right Costa Rica real estate closing attorney is one of the most important decisions you will be taking when you move to Costa Rica.
For more information on Costa Rica real estate closings, contact your GoDutch Realty agent.