An expat who would come here to San Juan del Sur or anywhere in Nicaragua to buy a house or land should be extremely careful. You have to be careful because many of the people here have land given to them after the Nicaraguan Civil War. The government just gave them land, but they never registered the land. They just hold a letter showing that it is their land. They have the “right of possession” but they did not go to the public registry to register the land as theirs so legally, there is a question over ownership.
The right of possession is only valid as long as the person who received the right of possession to it , owns the land. You cannot sell the right of possession, and its validity does not extend to the new owner of the land. The land has to be in the “catastro” (a public register showing the details of ownership and value of land).
I was once approached by a guy who used to work for me who offered to sell some of his land to me. It was pretty cheap, so I was interested. I started looking into it and asked him for his property title. He then showed me the letter that was issued by the government. The letter shows that the property was given to his father, so I told him that I will investigate it, and subsequently I found out that the property was not listed on the public registry.
Some people do not want to register their land on the public registry because once they register the land, they have to start paying property taxes and they do not want to do that. The government is not going to come and take the property away from them, anyway. The problem is if they sell the property, the buyer loses the land because it does exist in the public registry and nobody paid property taxes on it.
If land you’re interested in buying, is not registered in the public registry, you should not buy it. So if you plan to buy a property here in Nicaragua, make sure that you have a lawyer who you can trust, because they are the ones who will check the legalities of that property for you before you buy it. You have to ask for around 30 years of records on that property. Make sure the land your buy is legally owned by the seller.