How to Buy a House in Costa Rica for 25% of Asking Price

by Geoff McCabe

Malpais rental house

In the many years selling real estate in Costa Rica I’ve learned a lot about what foreigners are really looking for when they come to Costa Rica to buy a house. These days, with money so tight, and all the negative news and fear in the markets in the developed world, escaping to a tropical paradise like Costa Rica sounds like a great idea to a lot of people. Since you’re reading this, you’re probably one of them.

Step 1: Find the house you want on our website

It doesn’t matter if you can’t afford it. Don’t worry because I’m going to show you the very specific steps to take to raise the money to buy it. Just find something you can afford to pay 25% of. You want something that’s very photogenic and ideally it has a pool because pools make for good rentals. If you can walk to a good surfing/swimming beach from it, that’s even better.

Step 2: Contact me to improve the house on our website

You’re going to soon run a campaign to convince 3 of your friends/acquaintances to buy this house with you, and if you’re serious about doing that, let me know and we will write a lot more about the house on our website with better selling points, perhaps more/better photos, details about the area, etc. We have too many properties to list everything about every house on the site, but if we know you’re going to take the time to raise the money to buy a house here, let us know and we can try to help you out, so that when your friends see the property on our site, they will be more impressed with your choice and have many of their questions already answered by the info they find there.

I may also suggest a better house that will work for your plan… perhaps it’s a better bargain, or more likely to get owner financing, or able to be subdivided, etc. Once I’m aware of your plan, I’ll do all I can to help you make it happen.

Step 3: This is your plan:

Costa Rica is a very popular place among foreigners and it has a glowing reputation. Probably lots of your friends would love to do something like this, but would never take the time to make it happen. But, with you showing leadership (and people are desperate for good leadership these days) you will be surprised how many people will want to join you. You will use Email and Facebook to make it happen.

Email: Make a list of the people you know who you think might join you and send them personalized emails with a link to the property on our site, details about why Costa Rica is so great, and outline your brilliant plan.

Facebook: After the email, you will start a daily campaign talking about what you’re doing and why. Write a paragraph every day with a link to various cool things in the area, articles about Costa Rica, etc… anything to get as many people as possible to know about what you’re doing and to be inspired to join you. Create a Facebook group for people who are interested to join so they can see more details there and you can become aware of who’s interested. To add to the exciting energy, you can call it something like “Escape to Paradise Community” or “Costa Rica Adventure Team”

You should make it clear that you are DOING this. You are only a few short steps away from this house, and they need to jump on the opportunity. You’re basically setting up your own mini-timeshare. Tell everyone you’re taking “alternates” in case someone changes their mind later, to create a sense of urgency and certainty that this is going to happen. People are not inspired by talk, they’re inspired by ACTION so when they see you in action, they’ll want to follow.

  • The way it works is that you will buy the house and put it in a Costa Rica corporation.
  • Each family will own 25% of the shares and pay 25% of the maintenance costs.
  • Each person gets 3 months per year that you can stay there, or earn the rent from rentals for that month if you don’t use it. You will take turns picking the months you want. As the leader, you get to always pick first. Then you draw straws or roll dice to determine who gets 2nd, 3rd, and 4th pick, and you continue like that until all the months are gone. The best months, in order from best to worst in the Montezuma/Santa Teresa/Tambor area are: December, January, February, March, April, August, July, June, November, May, September, October. This is based on the weather, vacations, rental income, etc.
  • Anyone can sell their 25% share to anyone else.
  • You will advertise your house for rent on the following websites:,,,, and Tropisphere’s website. These will capture most of the rentals you need to make a net profit every year
  • The house will be managed by my partner Christina Sherman’s company: Montezuma Property Management Her rates are very affordable and she has an excellent team to take care of your rental house so it’s in tip top shape.
  • You probably need another $10-$20K for improvements. With four people you can raise it, and you’re probably going to pay less than asking price anyway. Ask me what needs to be done to the house to add value and insure maximum rentals. Add a pool if it doesn’t have one. Paint the ceilings white. Add an outdoor garden bathroom. Buy beautiful, photogenic furniture. These are the types of recommendations I’m going to make.

You already know that the Malpais/Montezuma area is one of the greatest places on earth, but now you need some ammunition to help convince your friends to do this. So, here’s a list of articles to help sell them on the idea:

  • CNN: Costa Rica is the Happiest Country on Earth:
  • Forbes Magazine: Malpais area voted top 10 most breaktaking beaches in the world:
  • Trip Advisor: Tens of thousand of travelers from around the world voted Santa Teresa as the #1 best beach in all of Central and South America:
  • Trip Advisor: Santa Teresa was voted into the top 10 best beaches in the World:

Step 4: Arrange the Buying/Viewing Vacation:

Now pick a date and invite your friends to travel down here with you to see the house (or pick another better one). Contact us and we’ll find a rental house for your group, or suggest a good place to stay so that you can all be together. The more fun you have, the better. Before you arrive, we can try to make certain that as many obstacles to the sale are already removed, so that you can make a good offer with a quick closing. We will help you, in advance, to choose a house that isn’t going to be a chaotic ordeal to try to buy, because with so many people involved in the purchase, it’s better to have a smooth transaction with as few complications as possible.

by Geoff McCabe

Geoff McCabe is CEO and co-owner of Tropisphere. He has been working in real estate in Costa Rica since 2003. Currently he lives on his organic farm, Rancho Delicioso. Geoff enjoys surfing, fire dancing, photography, and spending time with his friends here on the Southern Nicoya Peninsula.