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Some foreign buyers of Costa Rica and Panama real estate just assume that this works the same as it does back home. Well this is not true.

Let’s start at the beginning. Buyers, as well as sellers of Costa Rica and Panama real estate, do not use escrow. They just agree on the sales price. Then at the signature of the purchase option, the buyer hands the earnest money, whatever it is they agreed on, over to the seller. At closing the earnest money is deducted from the sales price.

It could happen that sellers can pass away before closing. Before closing, it also could happen that the seller or the seller’s family long spent the money on other things. And because of the death of the seller, the property could not be sold.

Also, the seller can use the same earnest money they received from their buyer, to get a purchase option for the house that they were planning to buy. So when the first deal goes bad, the second does too. Do you want to get involved in a weird deal like that? Of course, you don’t!

The use of escrow takes the stress out of home ownership and our real estate agents will always recommend the use of an account during a real estate transaction. It ensures that the property and the title are “clean” before closing the real estate transaction.

Escrow can function in different ways

The use of an escrow account, in US dollars, to hold money that is deposited by a buyer of real estate so the transaction can be completed. The use of this money, when the money will be disbursed by the escrow agent and in which way, will be described in the purchase option or in the agreement.

The use of escrow to hold the books and shares of a corporation that owns the property. This is a great protection for the seller while the buyer makes the final payments. In this case, it functions as a trust for a short term.

If you are not a Costa Rican or Panamanian citizen or resident, banks in Costa Rica or Panama will not allow you to open a bank account until you are. Meanwhile, if you are buying a property, escrow is a perfect way to transfer your money to these countries to make your real estate transaction possible and other minor payments.


There are two opportunities to use our Real Estate escrow services real estate transactions

 Deposit The Earnest Money
Deposit the earnest money
 Deposit The Balance Of The Transaction.
Deposit the balance of the transaction.

There are eight steps that will make your purchase easier on you.


You real estate agent should write up the offer,that includes all the necessary details. Once you and the seller agree, your real estate attorney to write up a reciprocal purchase – sale agreement. This agreement should have all the details of the purchase – sale, including the escrow services.


When you wire the earnest money to the escrow agent, make sure you have all the data on the escrow account, so the money won’t get lost on the way. Don’t bring cash, Costa Rican or Panamanian banks will not accept more than a couple of thousand dollars in cash from you.


Most wires involve several banks; beware of wire costs charged by all banks involved. If you plan to write a check drawn on a US bank, be aware that the check will take 10 days to clear. This will make the agreement of no value for another 10 days and the property will stay on the market.


Don’t send more money into escrow to purchase furniture, home inspections and other things, without asking LRA first.


In addition, the purchase – sale agreement says how much earnest money goes into escrow. The usual amount is 10% but it depends on what will make both buyer and seller feel comfortable.


The purchase – sale agreement should VERY clearly describe who gets the earnest money when the purchase – sale goes sour. Most agreements carry an arbitration clause that will allow both parties in case of disputes, claims or differences a pre-agreed on arbitrator to take the decision which party will get the earnest money in case of disagreement.


LRA can cut all the right checks for closing, paying him/herself for closing fees, escrow fees and the real estate agent(s) involved.


At closing, LRA will disburse the right amount to everyone, together with a closing statement. Ask for the left over monies right away.

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