All you need to know about Investing in Nicaragua
The purchasing process at a glance...
1. Identify a qualified Real Estate Agency in San Juan del Sur -preferably us @ BVN Realty!
Tap into and discover/interview a qualified and knowledgeable Real Estate Agent, Broker and the local business owner network here in San Juan del Sur who are happy to assist you in your property search. Our agency also offers an Astrology reading to assist focus & decision making on what you really want. Do your Google research and obtain referrals to ensure you are working with a Real Estate Agent who will go above and beyond, not only before and during the purchase process but also after your purchase to help with your transition as a new property owner in Nicaragua.
2. Visit Nicaragua
The very best way to discover the inventory of available properties is to travel to Nicaragua. The international Airport in Managua has a wide arrange of connections and is an excellent hub for future travels to other Central America destinations. We can assist with any transportation needs you may have and can arrange private transportation for you. In some cases you can actually rent one of the properties you are interested in.
3. Submit an Offer
The presentation of the offer for the purchase of a property begins with an additional first deposit of $500 USD for a building lot and $1000 USD for a home. This deposit is deductible from the purchase price and serves only as a reservation deposit to reserve and hold the promotion of the property by the owner and our agency. This deposit is 100% refundable in case of non-acceptance of the offer by the seller.
The contract will be considered null and void; which leads to the full refund of the deposit; If the title is not transferable for any reason that prevents its registration in the Buyer's name. In this case, upon discovery of the issue preventing title transfer and registration, all funds paid will be returned in full to the Buyer; (Cf. Extract of Law No. 822).
4. Sign a Private Sales Agreement
Once your price has been negotiated and granted, your property has been defined, and your payment method established the buyer and seller will execute a Private Sales Agreement (Price, terms, conditions, and contingencies of the purchase). This document can be signed digitally and does not require either party’s physical presence in Nicaragua for execution. (www.eversign.com)
5. Choose a Lawyer
BVN Real Estate has established relationships with a network of Nicaraguan Lawyers. It is wise to also review any legal documents with your own trusted personal Lawyer in your own home country. We are willing to work with whatever legal representation you may have.
6. Make a 10% deposit
A deposit equal to 10% will be made upon signature of the Private Sales Agreement document. Those amounts are refundable only if Title is not transferable for any reason, preventing it from being registered in the name of the Buyer. In this case, upon discovery of the issue preventing transfer and registration of title all funds paid will be returned in full to the Buyer; (Cf. Extract of law No. 822).
8. Register the Property
9. Complete Property Registration
Relocation To Nicaragua
Research, Tips, Info & Our Experience Here
Reasons To Consider Moving To Nicaragua:
- Food security
- Land prices
- Rising economy
- Easy to obtain residency
- Growing potential for homesteading/permaculture
- Cheap accommodation and reasonable food cost
- Less likely to be impacted by supply chain issues
- Resilient, friendly local people
- Can more or less find anything you want/need
- Good schooling options for kids
- Conscious community developments and opportunities for buying smaller or larger pieces of land
- Minimal zoning and technical issues with building in regards to permits
- Life is semi normal here
- Low use of pesticides compared to many other countries
- Lots of events and activities for the whole family
- No 5G and less EMF
- Over 100 people we personally know have moved here in the last 12 months - more like minded people coming together than ever!
- Less tied in to the NWO and agenda 2030
- Much cheaper and less americanized than Costa Rica with less control structures
San Juan Del Sur:
There is a large expat community in the San Juan Del Sur (SJDS) area. We recommend coming there first while you ground yourself and explore where you want to be.
There is a good mix of activities, things to do and various communities to look at renting/buying/building within 30 minutes of town.
Other potential areas to consider:
Hacienda Iguana & Rancho Santana - Upscale gated communities about 1-1.5 hours north on the coast from SJDS. It has more of a vacation vibe here. A little bit more isolated in regards to activities and socializing however it’s great if you want some time to integrate or if you want to be in a more developed community that has basic things (groceries, restaurants).
Ometepe is an island in the lake in Nicaragua. Lots of eco style living and conscious community - is definitely less developed and more “hippy/crunchy granola” with accommodations and style of living.
Matagalpa is further north in the country (north of Managua) and seems to be a popular spot for growing, off grid living and cooler weather (spring temperature all year around). Less expats but more seem to be moving to the area.
*** These are not the only options of course! There is Granada, Leon and many other spots ***
We suggest arriving first and exploring. There is no need to panic or choose a final destination.
Current Communities For Building/Joining:
Ubuntu - Ubuntu - First coastal agrihood community in Nicaragua located 15 minutes from San Juan del Sur, next door to internationally renowned Eco Lodge Morgan’s Rock, surrounded by infinite forests and local beaches on 4000 acres of privately owned land.
Ubuntu offers it’s residents a unique lifestyle thru social and environmental sustainability, social Inclusiveness and cultural diversity;
An initiative that fosters an active, safe and healthy community culture by creating a diverse amenities canvas that encourages interaction amongst residents and a model that motivates them to get actively involved in the creation of a wide range of cultural, social, environmental and educational activities, as well as the ability to live and work remotely by providing high speed internet and state of the art technology.
You can learn more about Ubuntu on https://youtu.be/Xn8kc95IpKE
If interested to join the community, you can fill up this form https://forms.office.com/r/Ji4Apf8MXp
Big Sky - 20 minutes outside of SJDS in the Escamequita Valley facing Costa Rica. Owned by a Canadian Woman named Blue who has some lots she has sold (0.5-2 acres on average). Property is covered in horse trails and has private beach access. There is a strong interest in permaculture and off grid living. Great source of water on the land (not always common). Acreages are primarily low lying and in a good growing zone. Contact Candice/Sean for details.
Playa Yankee - Owned by a fellow named Gabe. More retirement style living and not enough water on the land for homesteading/farming it’s built into the hills with a nice view and good lot prices.
Rancho Santana: More of a high end resort style community with some houses and properties for sale
Hacienda Iguana: More of a high end resort style community with some houses and properties for sale. Beach front. Multiple restaurants and a market on site. Popular surf spot.
Azul Eco Development - Santa Maria 5 minutes from the ocean. 24 hour security, roads, power, water. ½ acre lots. Surrounded by farms with local food and organic gardens. Rural self sustaining lifestyle - Rene Schneider firstname.lastname@example.org
Gran Pacifica - Eco Village Asuchillo (EVA)
EVA is a community of off-grid, eco-friendly tiny homes that do not compromise on modern luxuries.
These solar-powered tiny homes are located in the beautiful Gran Pacifica Beach & Golf Resort. Just a two-minute walk from the renowned Asuchillo swimming and surf beach, it is the ideal location for a vacation home, rental, or a permanent change of lifestyle for yourself.
This is your perfect “Plan B” that can be combined with residency in this beautiful, safe, and non-intrusive country.
Oh, and did we mention you can own your Tiny Home using your crypto? Ask us how!
** Will continue to add more as I collect them!
** If you’re buying a home/land HIGHLY recommend seeing it or having a friend see it first rather than sight unseen and doing due diligence to ensure it’s eligible to be sold (scams can occasionally happen)
Currently Nicaragua does NOT have a vaccination requirement (likely won’t) to enter the country. They DO require a PCR test which needs to be done within 72 hours of entering the country.
The test must be a full PCR test and not an antigen home test, antibody test ETC.
Kids are not exempt and children of ALL ages (babies included) require the PCR test papers.
Bring multiple paper copies of it and ensure that it has an official looking header/stamp and ideally a signature on it. The more official it looks, the better. The Nicaraguans love paper and official looking things. It does not need to be translated or notarized.
You are supposed to submit your test with a form in advance - some of our friends have entered without doing it without issues but we wouldn’t risk getting turned away.
Email to attach a PDF with your test results (see below): email@example.com
If you are 45+ you can look into the retirement or pensioner visa. You can’t technically work when on this one and need to be able to prove a monthly income that comes in.
If you are coming in off the personal or business investor route (which we are doing) it’s a 30K USD investment per family, not per person. You open a corporation using a lawyer which is owned by you (and any of your family members here with you).
You can then invest in buying a vehicle, land, a house, a local business - all of which go towards the 30K. If you buy 30K+ of land that counts or if you say bought a vehicle for 20K and a deposit on land for 10K - either way it counts although it sounds like you couldn’t buy JUST a vehicle for 30K and have it count. They like to see land/house as at least part of it.
You can also begin to move the process forward while you explore what you will invest in by hiring a lawyer and opening a corporation (very easy process). We are paying 2500 USD to have the corporation opened, full consulting on our residency and full support with everything A-Z on the residency application and process - this seems to be an average price. (Ranging from 2000-5000 depending on who you work with).
You can submit your application as well if you have a promissory note to invest/buy something signed by you and the other party.
Some people have gotten their application back and approved in as little as 5 weeks and others it’s 1+ year. There’s no standardization.
You DO still need to leave the country every 90 days on a visa run OR you can go to the local office and have it extended for approx 30/dollars a month USD (currently - subject to change if they change their policy)
You can easily open a bank account and purchase a vehicle under the name of your corporation which is a big added bonus as well.
You will need to get a health exam done by a doctor here and have it signed by them as well when submitting your application (easy to do down here)
If you are applying as an investor - you don’t have to submit a business plan with it. You don’t really need to be doing much with it however you DO need to get an accountant and properly file taxes. Even better if you occasionally show some revenue/expenses even if it’s rare as it keeps the tax people happy.
When you enter the country they may also want to see an outbound ticket within the 90 days. It’s recommended that you use onwardtravel.com to get a fake but usable flight out of Managua within 90 days (can be to anywhere). Print it and bring it as your return ticket.
If entering via land border from Costa Rica:
You can contact Alex Ruiz and his team to arrange transportation for you from Liberia or San Jose to the Penas Blancas border into Nicaragua.
The closest city is San Juan Del Sur (less than an hour away).
You’ll still need to show a negative PCR test within the 72 hour window.
You will also still need to show an onward travel return ticket from Managua out of the country.
Rather than buying a real ticket I’d suggest using:
Also notable is that Costa Rica is putting in a vax passport - currently this doesn’t effect you crossing the border or flying in/out but as of Dec 1 it will affect you being able to stay at hotels/restaurants and activities.
You’ll also need to get health insurance when in Costa Rica they have a minimum of 3-5 days. You can use Alex Ruiz of health insurance paperwork.
You CANNOT really drive across this border in a rental vehicle FYI. You would need to ideally have a driver pick you up in Costa Rica and then they take you to the border. You walk across (it’s not a huge walk but there are people there you can tip $1-2 to help you carry your stuff).
You’ll have to exit at the Costa Rica part and then enter at the Nicaragua part. This process can range from 30-60 minutes to a couple hours depending on how busy.
You’d then have a different driver waiting for you on the Nicaragua side.
I suggest hiring Alex Ruiz’s team to arrange transport.
Important Things To Bring If You Plan On Applying For Residency:
- Valid Passports (renew it before coming if you have the time but there is a consulate here for passport renewals and lost/stolen passports)
- Birth Certificate (real not a copy. MUST be the long form - they will not accept the wallet sized ones. Order 2 new ones and bring both if possible so you have a spare)
- Marriage Certificate if applicable (real not a copy and again get 2 if possible)
- Drivers license (real not a copy)
- Police record check ((this one is less important as you CAN technically get a police check done down here so don’t worry too much for this one)
- Income tax return/notice of assessment from recent year (or be able to access it to print down here)
Additionally you need to have the following APOSTILLED in your home country.
- Long Form Birth Certificate
- Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
NOT notarized and not a copy. It’s best to complete this process the “right way”. Otherwise it can result in you needing to mail forms to other countries, have people in your home country acting on your behalf and overall have a very long process.
When it comes to residency down here there is a LOT of debate on the process for documents.
Truth is you will hear mixed things because of mixed results for people and also a lot of people hear things one time or from a friend and take it as truth.
NOTHING is absolute here lol. Things are variable based on your willingness to research, find connections, loop holes and ranges based on who you get ETC.
If you're in the same boat we are and don't have your apostilled documents down here (certificates of birth and marriage) but you do have the original documents with you...
Here is my breakdown of what I learned while taking it into my own hands October 2021:
My husband and I are Canadian and here in Nicaragua working on our residency.
We have our physical birth and marriage certificates.
We booked an appointment by emailing MNGUAG@INTERNATIONAL.GC.CA
And asked to book an appointment to have them review our paperwork for our lawyer. (I was intentionally vague).
We then got an appointment for the following week at the Canada embassy in managua.
Yesterday was that appointment.
Once inside they were very helpful and essentially YES for 50 dollars a doc they will "authenticate it" so you can then take it to the Nicaragua office to have it translated and such.
It was 50 per document and they would need it for a few hours and we would need to come back at 2 to pick it up.
We weren't able to proceed only because 1 of our papers (my husband's birth certificate) was a short form older one that's a small wallet size and they ONLY will take the long form ones.
So it made no sense to do this because we would still be missing 1 paper.
The reason they don't advertise being able to do this is because it isn't an official authentication of what they do at global affairs in Ottawa and therefore they don't want to be responsible IF the residency people processing the forms deny it because of this.
However our lawyer has recently had 2 Canadian clients go this route and it worked and they got approved for residency.
All of this being said, it's worth a shot for those who have the right papers already down here.
If you don't have the right ones or any down here then you can do what we are doing without travelling:
Order new certificates from your province in Canada.
There should be an option to appoint someone on your behalf to go submit for them - we had a friend go to a lawyer and get a Notary to sign the statutory declaration form which then got mailed with the payment and the applications.
We ordered 2 of each so we have spares.
Then when our friend gets the certificates she will take one of each and mail them to an authentication service such as idocscanada.com
Who will then have it sent to Ottawa to be authenticated and to the Nicaragua embassy in Washington for the final step.
Then they send it back to her and she will expedite it to us using DHL with the additional spare copies (because when you submit your papers for residency they KEEP them).
*** When in doubt speak to a lawyer. We are from Canada and know this is what we need. **
How does property ownership work in Nicaragua?
The right to private property of movable and immovable property and instruments and means of production is guaranteed. By virtue of the social function of property, this right is subject, for reasons of public utility or social interest, to the limitations and obligations that the laws impose on its exercise. The Real Estate rights mentioned in the first paragraph may be subject to expropriation according to the Law, after payment of just compensation in cash. In the case of the expropriation of uncultivated large estates for agrarian reform purposes, the law will determine the form, quantification, payment terms and interests that are recognized as compensation. The confiscation of property is prohibited. Officials who violate this provision, will respond with their assets at all times for the damages. Ref. Article 44 Nicaraguan Constitution
Real Estate Law
The law recognizes three types of property. Personal property consists of moveable items, such as furniture. Intangible property refers to ownership that does not have a physical existence but that may be represented by a physical item, such as a stock certificate. Real Estate refers to land, as well as anything permanently attached to the land, such as buildings and other structures. Some people use the term “Real Property” to refer to land without structures.
Limits on Ownership
Lawyers often refer to Real Estate as a “bundle of rights” extending to the center of the earth and up to the heavens. Certain “sticks” may be separated from the bundle by the owner’s intentional actions. For example, an owner might grant an easement or acquire property that is subject to an easement, and thereby give up the right to exclude people from that part of the property. Similarly, an owner might buy property in a subdivision that is subject to covenants that restrict how the owner can use the property. In some states, owners can sell the subsurface rights to their land, so that one owner might own and live on the surface, while another has the right to mine minerals below the surface.
Other rights are limited by law. Much regulation of Real Estate is statutory, enacted by a legislative body, or regulatory, enacted by a governmental administrative agency. Environmental laws, for example, are primarily statutory and regulatory. Other Real Estate law is common law, meaning that it evolved from judicial decisions. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued several opinions defining the circumstances under which regulation of the use of Real Estate goes “too far” and constitutionally requires compensation.
Since Real Estate necessarily stays in one location, most Real Estate law is state law. Federal law does have a role. For example, the Federal Aviation Administration establishes the altitudes at which planes may fly over private property, and property owners may not prevent those flights. Similarly, the Federal Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601-3631, protects people involved in Real Estate transactions from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Local zoning laws also restrict how owners can use their land.
Ownership of Real Estate also can be limited by time, as with a life estate that ends upon the death of a specific person. Ownership can be shared in a variety of ways among individuals or be held by condominium associations, corporations, or other entities, as described in the deed by which the owners acquire the property.
Real Estate law is closely tied to other areas of law. For example, contract law governs the sale of Real Estate and requires that such contracts be in writing. States dictate special inheritance laws for Real Estate. There are even specific types of crimes and torts that apply to Real Estate. For example, trespass refers to entering the land of another without authority to do so, and it can be a crime or the subject of a civil lawsuit. Real Estate is also subject to special provisions in family law, such as the rights of a spouse in the marital home.
Real Estate Law Resources
Who can buy property in Nicaragua?
Article 27. All persons are equal before the law and have the right to equal protection. There will be no discrimination based on birth, nationality, political creed, race, sex, language, religion, opinion, origin, economic position or social condition. Foreigners have the same duties and rights as Nicaraguans, with the exception of political rights and those established by law; they cannot intervene in the political affairs of the country. The State respects and guarantees the rights recognized in this Constitution to all persons who are in its territory and are subject to its jurisdiction.
Any individual, corporation or association is therefore authorized, in its name, to acquire property in Nicaragua and will benefit from all rights & regulations as applied to all citizens of Nicaragua.
Do I have to be a resident of Nicaragua to own property here?
You don't need to be a resident of Nicaragua to own property here.
(Constitution) Article 27. All persons are equal before the law and have the right to equal protection. There will be no discrimination based on birth, nationality, political creed, race, sex, language, religion, opinion, origin, economic position or social condition. Foreigners have the same duties and rights as Nicaraguans, with the exception of political rights and those established by law; they cannot intervene in the political affairs of the country. The State respects and guarantees the rights recognized in this Constitution to all persons who are in its territory and are subject to its jurisdiction.
San Juan del Sur has a very large Expat community, representing around 10% of the village's population.
Many of them are not residents. Most Expat's are more than happy to discuss their property transactions with you in casual conversation.
What are property taxes like?
The tax on real estate in Nicaragua is an annual tax payable in the Municipality where the property is located, in accordance with the provisions of Decree No. 3-95 of "Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles", published in La Gaceta, Official Gazette No. 21 of January 31, 1995. The real estate tax paid to municipalities is 1% of 80% of the taxable amount.
The taxable amount is the value of the property, buildings, and any permanent improvements found on the property. This amount is based on the cadastral value of the property (according to the records of the municipality), the self-declared value by the taxpayer or the estimated value established by the municipality.
The real estate tax is collected by the municipalities and its collection is notified to taxpayers through an official notification or cadastral appraisal. This tax can be paid in the following way:
50% can be paid during the first quarter of the year and the remaining amount no later than June 30.
If 100% of the amount is paid during the first quarter of the year, the taxpayer will be subject to a discount of 10% of the total amount.
The following entities and individuals are exempt from paying this tax: Indigenous communities, charitable and non-profit social assistance institutions, homes occupied by retired individuals, universities and institutes of higher technical education, companies under the Free Zone Regime, institutions cultural, scientific, sports and artistic, among others.
It is important to mention that the prescription period for this tax is two years from the date on which the payment obligation was due. Likewise, if you do not agree with the value or basis of calculation of the tax notified by the Mayor's Office, you can administratively appeal against it.
Do not hesitate to contact us to obtain legal advice in Nicaragua in relation to this matter.
How can I find the perfect property?
To begin, take a look at our property catalog here on our website and/or view our listing videos on YouTube.
We invite you to make an appointment with us. Our team communicates effectively in English, French, Spanish & Russian fluently. Truly, lets begin via a simple phone call or an in-person coffee at one of the local cafe's.
In Nicaragua - the best way to communicate by phone is via Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Skype, Zoom, email or any other way that is convenient for you.
Talk to us and show us the properties you have been researching with other agencies to find out our "boots on the ground" view-points to reveal possible hidden information that can be valuable to the transaction & decision making process. The owner at BVN Realty has been here for 8+ years discovering the surf breaks and nature of the area and has built a solid reputation with the locals & expat community - fostering lifelong relationships along the way!
Services include exploration and reviews of your business plan to assess the profitability of the property:
- Commercial, Hotel, Restaurant
- Homes intended for vacation rentals, permanent residences, building lots (gated, non developed)
- Agricultural farms
What are the closing costs and expenses?
The Real Estate commission is paid by the Seller in Nicaragua.
Closing costs will vary based on the specific terms of the deal and the assessed value of the property but a general guideline is as follows:
There is approximately 3% of fixed fees based on the final price of the property:
- 1% – Municipal Income Tax
- 1% – Registration Fee
- 1% – Legal Fee (This can vary slightly based on the Law firm)
The Transfer Tax amounts are:
Range of amount Percentage to pay
- US$0 – US$ 50,000 – 1%
- US$ 50,001 – US$ 100,000 – 2%
- US$ 100,001 – US$ 200,000. – 3%
- US$ 200,001 – US$ 300,000 – 4%
- US$ 300,001 – US$ 400,000 – 5%
- US$ 400,001 – US$ 500,000 – 6%
- US$ 500,001 and up – 7%
Is financing available in Nicaragua ? Do banks finance mortgages here?
The annual interest on a mortgage loan in Nicaragua is currently around (2021) at 9.50%. The Annual Effective Cost Rate (TCEA): 10.62%* (*For a mortgage of $50,000 over 15 years).
The interest rate on a mortgage loan is variable and reassessed quarterly by the Central Bank of Nicaragua.
The interest rate the bank will offer you is the same whether you buy a house or build it.
If you want to take out a loan to buy piece of land, the loan rate is usually higher and will be amortized for a much shorter term.
If you plan on a custom construction new build, it is wise to focus on having your land property paid off and so you are only taking out a mortgage for the construction of your house.
Banks are ready to lend you up to 90% of your investment.
If you buy a house for $100,000 (dollars), the bank will lend you a maximum of $90,000 (dollars).
This does not mean that with 10% your file will be accepted, but the higher the premium you give, the lower the loan amount will be and the less interest you will end up paying.
The interest rate is not fixed in Nicaragua. And part of being a financially responsible person is reading your contracts from the first to the last letter with proper legal representation.
Your mortgage papers will clearly state the interest rate is variable and can increase every 3 months. There are people who in the excitement of buying their home ignore this detail and get scared when they see the increase in their account statement. Practicing due diligence and being aware of all financial details is the Buyer's responsibility.
The shorter the term, the less interest you will pay, normally mortgages from single dwelling homes are from 20-25 years - 10 years if it is for the purchase of land.
If your financial portfolio changes for the positive in the near future, you can apply more on your mortgage debt to get out of it sooner without being charged a fine or surcharge. To make these contributions, you just need to go to the bank that provided the mortgage and they will walk you through the process.
If you have other debts, the bank will only lend you 30%.