I had the opportunity to a mortgage refinance on different properties in Costa Rica in December last year. So I’d end up with a mortgage on just my house. That way, I’d have the other properties free and clear. With the mortgage refinance I would pay no mortgage administration fees and make a much lower monthly payment.
To my surprise, my bank has me rated as a Triple-A client like someone who manages millions in his account. I do, but in Colones, not something to rate me as a Triple-A client. I have lived here long enough not to doubt their rating. So I said nothing and I just went with the flow.
Most of you come from a culture where banks are still more or less service minded. In Costa Rica, banks are quite the opposite. You will have to get used to the fact that you need to complete a long list of requirements, no matter what you need from them. Who serves who…
In this case, I received a list of requirements needed to apply for the mortgage refinance on my property in Costa Rica. And surprise – surprise… They had already 90% of the documents requested on their computer but still required me to deliver.
Bank and credit card statements
They wanted a copy of my DIMEX residency card, a copy of my old residency card which had a different number, to prove I’m the same person now as I was in 1995. The bank also requested banks statements and credit card statements that they can just print off their computer since I have my bank accounts with them. Also, they needed proof of income through a CPA, which they get every year from me anyway so they will keep my accounts open.
Our house is owned in a corporation
A never-ending list
Every time I delivered a completed list, the bank would take another week to come up with a new list. They wanted references from suppliers. I don’t have any suppliers except for my webmaster, the guy who prints my business cards as well as the attendant at the gas station. I pay them all in cash. Oh, and the phone and water company. They also wanted references from my clients, who unfortunately had to be bothered with this ridiculous issue.
Power of attorney
By the end of February, all the paperwork was ready to be signed but for one little issue. Our house is owned in a corporation of which I am the only shareholder and general power of attorney without any limits. The bank’s attorneys needed me to give myself a special power to be able to get a mortgage on the house.
I decided to have the same attorney do this at the cost of another $75 as I never understood the logic of this. At least I got my refinancing done, just under three months’ time.
At least I got my refinancing done, just under three months’ time
Yesterday, an attorney we do business with and uses a different bank than I do, sent me an email. “We recently changed our Escrow account to another bank. We are just getting used to the new procedures. After 22 years with a bank, they told us they no longer want our escrow business. That is because of increased regulations – go figure! So we had to change banks.”
The experience of getting a mortgage refinance in Costa Rica has taken me to the limits of sanity a few times. But my almost 40 years of Costa Rica experience has helped me a lot to stay more or less sane.
I did want to give you my experiences as of late with Costa Rica banks, so you can decide on your tactics ahead of time.
No matter where in the world you apply for a real estate mortgage or a mortgage refinance. You might encounter similar problems though. In the US, when you need a mortgage, you’d be better off contacting an experienced mortgage broker, for a more personal approach than banks usually have.
For Costa Rica real estate, with or without a mortgage, contact us now. Haven’t you been able to become a resident yet and do you need a mortgage? Then we invite you to fill out the form below and we will contact you with a private lender.
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