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Buying Real Estate in Nicaragua

Whether you want to rent or buy Nicaragua homes, the best way to find them is by word of mouth. Nicas love to talk. And everyone knows something or someone. You’ll be surprised how quickly the word speads.

Of course, this only works once you are in the country. You might want to do some research from home. My favorite site for finding long-term accomodation is Vianica.com. Their hotel guide offers good search functionality. Hotels and guest houses are listed with detailed description, prices, photos and contact details.

I guess it goes without saying that you should rent before you buy. For at least 6 months to a year, that’s what the experts say. During that time, look for Nicaragua homes in the region where you want to settle, and learn as much as you can about buying real estate in Nicaragua.

Because of “agrarian reforms” during the Sandinista regime in the 1980s, where properties and land were confiscated and re-distributed, you need to be extra careful when purchasing. Enlist the service of a reputable attorney to check that the property has clear title before you sign any contracts.

For even more peace of mind, consider purchasing title insurance. First American Title Insurance is the only company offering this service for Nicaragua.

Property taxes are low, 1% of the value of the property and must be paid yearly in arrears to the Municipality.

To buy a property in Nicaragua you need a lawyer with good reputation.

First step after you find the property is to have the lawyer perform due diligence on the property

The buying process is as follow:

  1. Complete history of the property from the National Registro
  2. Document from the municipality “Libertad de Gravenmen” stating there are no debts , liens or other interests in the property.
  3. Tax statement saying that taxes are paid and the property is legal and salable property ” Solvencia Municipal”.
  4. You also need a surveyor ” topographer” make a plan of the properties and compare it with the existing plan in the “catastral”
  5. where all maps and plans are kept in Nicaragua to make sure they are the same.
  6. A lawyer writes the deed or “Escritura” when everything is ready, that is signed by both parties. Money changes hands at that time.
  7. The property is then registered at the catastral and transfer taxes are paid.
  8. The property is then registered and inscribed in the National Registro in the buyers name.

What about property prices? All experts seem to agree that now is the time to invest in Nicaragua real estate, before prices start to soar like in neighboring Costa Rica or Panama. Especially Nicaragua oceanfront real estate along the Pacific coast costs only a fraction of what you would pay across the border.

Current property hot spots are fixer-uppers in the colonial city of Granada and the 20+ residential Nicaragua development projects along the Pacific coast.

For my own potential retirement in Nicaragua, I looked into some of the communities that are being developed around Granada and along the coast. Here are the ones that caught my eye:

Rancho Santana
One of the first luxury gated communities, well established with 50 homes already built and condos being developed. Prices for lots start at $47,000. Marc Brown, one of the first residents of Rancho Santana, sends out an excellent monthly newsletter with Updates from the “Pacific Frontier”.

I almost bought a lot there in 2009, but finally decided against it, because I’d like to live closer to Managua. It’s a 2,5 hour drive from the capital to Rancho Santana.

Gran Pacifica
Gran Pacifica is another well established 5 star resort community, featuring a golf course, casitas, single family homes and condos. It’s located at the Pacific coast, about 1 hour southwest of Managua. To try on your new life in Nicaragua, rent a home or condominium in Gran Pacifica. They even offer a free Nicaragua Handbook with lots of up-to-date information on their well structured web site.

Montecristo
About 10 miles north of Gran Pacifico you’ll find the well developed beach front community of Montecristo.  You can choose between six communities, from lots at the beach to casitas perched on top of the cliffs with spectacular views. Community activities range from horseback riding to tennis, golf and water sports. There’s also a community library, a club house and art and dance lessons to keep you busy.

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