Home Loans for Foreigners: Not Always Easy, but Possible

February 25, 2005

ALTHOUGH foreigners must bewilling to undergo a meticulous creditinvestigation, it is possible for them toobtain home loans ranging from $700-400,000 at the country’s main banks, forterms of four to 30 years, without a residencypermit.Banco Nacional, Banco de Costa Ricaand Banco Popular, with several branchesin downtown San José, the western suburbof Escazú, and San Pedro, east of the capital,among other locations, require residencypermits from all home-loan applicantsas a security measure.“Banco Nacional has always asked forresidency permits in the home-loan applicationprocedure, mainly because if a personlives outside the country, he or she maybe hard to reach,” said Isabel Carvallo,customer service agent in the bank’s creditdepartment.HOWEVER, numerous banks makeexceptions to this policy if applicants ownbusinesses in Costa Rica, have sources ofincome in the country or can prove theywill reside or work here after the loan isobtained.The Social Security System (Caja)offers loans ranging from approximately$2,000-100,000, payable in up to 20 years,to residents and non-residents on payroll atany Costa Rican institution, according toFernando Arias, director of pensions. Formore information, call 212-6465.Banco Cuscatlán, with headquarters inLa Uruca, an industrial district northwestof San José, and branches in San Pedro,Escazú and Rohrmoser, west of San José,does not necessarily require residency permitsfor home loans. Foreign applicantswho undergo a thorough credit investigationthrough Stuart Title, a home insurancecompany that works in conjunction withthe bank, may obtain loans if the creditchecks are successful. For details, call299-0192.BAC San José also makes exceptionsto its general policy requiring residencypermits from its debtors. Non-residentswho own businesses in the country, regularlymake transactions with Costa Ricanbanks or have lived here at least a year maybe eligible for a home loan, according to aBAC credit analyst. For more information,call 295-9064.Banex will make the exception ofgranting home loans to non-residents onlyif they have been hired to work for a companyin Costa Rica. Foreign loan applicantsmust submit a letter from the consulate oftheir country of origin, proof of good standingand letters of reference, which will beevaluated by a selection committee. Forinformation, call 296-5301.REQUIREMENTS for obtaininghome loans vary from bank to bank anddepending on whether the loan is for construction,a new home or a lot. Many stateand private banks will request proof ofsalary, recent phone and/or electric bills,photocopies of the debtor’s and spouse’sidentification, recent bank statements andproof of social security.Some banks, such as Banca Promérica,with branches in PriceSmart stores inEscazú, Curridabat, east of San José, andthe province of Heredia, require a resuméand certificate of taxes paid from themunicipality. Also, if the loan is for construction,most banks will ask for municipalpermits and a cadastre, or propertymap, a legal document prepared by anengineer and inscribed in the NationalProperty Registry.Banks such as Cuscatlán and BancoNacional require clients to purchase lifeor fire insurance in application for ahome loan.Mutual Alajuela, in the province ofAlajuela, and with branches in downtownSan José and La Sabana, among others,requires loan applicants to open an accountof at least $50.

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