Expat Exchange
Parque Central Square in Leon, Nicaragua

Real Estate in Nicaragua

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: Expats and retirees talk about real estate in Nicaragua? How do you find a home in Nicaragua? Should you buy or rent? What is the cost of housing?

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How do I find a place to live in Nicaragua?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"I worked with a realty company that I had found while at a conference. I went on the web to narrow down some choices and then spent a day looking at my short list. It quickly became apparent that I would not feel safe in all neighborhoods as a single female and so I chose the best and safest neighborhood in the city. This was a good decision as I can walk my dog at night with no fear," explained one expat living in Leon, Nicaragua.

"I would stay in different parts of the town each time I came to get a feel for the different sights, sounds etc," said another person in San Juan del Sur.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Nicaragua?

"I currently live in an apartment within a community. It's a one bedroom with hot water, washer-dryer and air conditioning, which is very unusual for Leon. This is another reason why I chose this neighborhood, the houses have more amenities. Next year I plan to move to a small home in the community because I miss having a yard and patio. ExPats here live in a variety of areas in the city, there is no one spot heavily populated by ExPats, in fact, Leon itself is not heavily populated by ExPats, which is why I chose it," explained one person living in Leon, Nicaragua.

"A large old Colonial house, right on the main street in town, just across the street from the ocean. This house is one of only 2 in this town. Most of the expats live either on the hillside or just out of town," said another expat in San Juan del Sur.

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What is the average cost of housing in Nicaragua?

If you are thinking about moving to Nicaragua, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"My housing costs are 1/4 of what I would pay in my old state of PA and 1/2 of what I would pay in the lower cost area of the southern US. You can rent a decent house in Leon for $300 a month. If you want air, a dryer and hot water, you will pay more. Also, when the listing says unfurnished, it means there is absolutely nothing in it but 4 walls and a toilet and sinks," explained one expat living in Leon, Nicaragua.

"In comparison, the housing is less expensive than in the US New construction is around $40.00 a sq. ft. Upscale, 3 bedrooms with a view and pool are renting for $500-700.00 per month. Smaller local houses rent for $200-300.00," said another person in San Juan del Sur.

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Should I buy or rent a home in Nicaragua?

If you have not spent a lot of time in Nicaragua, you should rent before even thinking about buying. We asked expats there about the buy vs. rent decision:

"We bought a home but I recommend you rent first for at least six months. Not everyone likes it here. You do not have to be a resident to buy a home or own a business in Nicaragua. It is fairly easy to buy a home but be careful! Everyone will try to sell you property and many of them are not stellar examples of character. Work with a known real estate agency. It is easy to forget to do the normal due diligence when you are looking from your potential property watching the sun set over the ocean," said another person in Granada.

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What do I need to know when buying property in Nicaragua?

When we asked expats what advice they would give a foreigner before buying a property in Nicaragua, they said:

"EVERYWHERE: rent for a year, be sure you are in the right country, the right state, the right city, &, most importantly, the right state of mind. This is not Las Vegas. Princesses need not apply," explained one person living in Jinotepe and Diriamba, state of Carazo, Nicaragua.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Parque Central Square in Leon, Nicaragua

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