Spanish Legal Translation Services
and Buying a House in
Costa Rica

Spanish to English Legal Translation Services for Real Estate Attorneys

We’ve blogged about the need for legal translation services when settling down in Panama. This trend is becoming more prominent, as more and more people are retiring abroad, especially to places like Costa Rica and other Central and South American destinations.

Cost of living is a big factor, as retirees can usually get more for their money in these countries.

Of course with buying a house – especially in another country – come legal issues. And most people will probably reach out to a lawyer before they make a big decision. Often, documents would be in Spanish, or if meetings are taking place in person, conversation will be in Spanish. It’s a great idea to have a Spanish to English translator with experience in real estate transactions on hand to make the purchase as smooth as possible.

According to a real estate agent in Costa Rica who was interviewed recently by the New York Times, the Costa Rican market is very dependent on the United States economy, and most of their buyers come from the West Coast of the U.S.

Most homes purchased are purchased in Cost Rica at a price below $350,000, and luxury home prices there start from around $800,000. The more expensive houses are often rented out as vacation houses, which brings more legal work when considering landlord laws and taxes in a foreign country.

Costa Rica offers a pensionado visa program for retirees, which gives tax breaks and even discounts to new residents who can show that they receive a certain amount of income from their pension plan or social security. This makes Costa Rica an attractive retiring destination.

When it comes to buying property, foreigners have the same rights as Costa Ricans. Therefore, it’s important that buyers and their lawyers be well versed in these rights. There is one exception though, and that’s property in the maritime zone, or waterfront property. If a foreigner wants to buy property in this zone, or manages to buy property and wants to renovate or build in this zone, it’s a much more difficult process.

Anyone considering buying a property in maritime zone will need to do a “more extensive due diligence.” This is where a legal translation service comes in.
In Costa Rica, most purchases are made in cash, and mortgages can be very difficult to obtain, especially for nonresidents. All transfer deeds, which record the transfer of the title, have to be done in Spanish. A Spanish to English and English to Spanish translation and interpreting service is necessary for this step. Sometimes purchase agreements are translated into English, but buyers must review the translations carefully, as they are not always correct. It would be in the buyer and their lawyer’s best interest to have their own foreign language translator, whom they trust, look over the agreement.

Buying a house is an exciting step. Make it seamless for your clients with a trusted translation service that takes away the guesswork and doesn’t leave room for any misinterpretation.

Up Next: Legal Translation for Cases
Dealing with Defamation
in a Foreign Language