Selling Your Car
The good news about selling your car is that vehicles retain their value in Costa Rica; new models depreciate slowly and many older cars sell for almost double their U.S. Blue Book value. While the Costa Rican government determines vehicle values, your best bet for assessing the value of your car is to research online classified sites within the country. These sites list thousands of used cars, trucks and 4x4s, complete with mileage, condition, and other valuable information required to price a used vehicle.
Another resource is your local INS office, where insurance agents can give you the approximate Costa Rican value for your model and year vehicle. Keep in mind that potential buyers may want to negotiate, so consider padding the asking price by a few hundred dollars. Be sure to advertise your price as “negotiable,” as this will entice interested parties to initiate contact.
After identifying a good price, it’s time to do some basic maintenance and preparations. Gather all vehicle paperwork, including the vehicle title, maintenance records, Riteve inspection, and proof of current marchamo.
There are several methods for selling your vehicle. The most cost efficient is to list it yourself on one of the many classified websites in Costa Rica, such as crautos. Local newspapers are also an excellent resource. If you don't have the time or interest in selling your own car, consider contracting a private company to take care of advertising and showing your vehicle. For a commission (5-10%), they will sell it for you, but the company will not take care of legal matters such as transferring the title. Much like a dealer, some companies may also purchase your car for eventual resale.
Once you have a buyer for your vehicle and have negotiated a price, you must contract the services of a lawyer. Unless negotiated otherwise beforehand, the buyer always pays the transfer taxes, known as impuestos, and both parties split the lawyer's fee. In total, this "traspaso" can cost anywhere from $100 to $500+. Lawyers typically charge between $40-$100, depending on the fiscal value of the car, to transfer the title and complete all paperwork. If your buyer is purchasing the vehicle in cash or with a certified check, it's best to do the payment before or during the title transfer at the lawyer's office.
Prices of Used Vehicles For Sale By Owner
1985 Toyota Land Cruiser: $8,000
1988 Mitsubishi Montero: $4,300
1990 Nissan Sentra: $2,600
1993 Kia Sportage: $3600
1994 Suzuki Sidekick: $7500
1995 Hyundai Galloper: $6,200
1996 Geo Tracker: $6,800
1997 Toyota Rav 4: $8,100
1998 Toyota 4 Runner: $12,000
2002 Hyundai Accent: $6,000
2005 Daihatsu Terios: $10,000
2006 Grand Cherokee: $22,300
2009 BMW X5: $55,000
2010 Toyota Prado: $49,000