Why do we require Folio Real Numbers?

Why is it important to enter the correct folio real number?

  • To verify that the seller is the actual owner or has the proper authority to sell the property.
  • To ensure there are no major liens affecting title - Is it marketable Title?
  • To identify the ownership risk associated with each particular Property for Sale for other agents and buyers.

Why We Care So Much about the Folio Real Number

The Propertyshelf MLS places a great deal of importance on providing correct folio real numbers for all properties listed on our system. If a property is titled, it will have a folio real number. We put such emphasis on this number for a number of 3 reasons:

  1. It protects the buyers. International buyers especially are susceptible to being given incomplete information about the legal status of a property they are purchasing, only to find out in 5 years when they try to sell the property that the title was never issued to them. If a property does not have a title that can be transferred through the sale, it is critical that buyers know what this implies and why it is the case.
  2. It protects the agents. We want our buyer agents to be confident that what they see is what they get. If you bring in a buyer with whom you’ve built a strong relationship, the last thing you want is to be forced to walk away from a deal at the last minute because a property is not what it appears to be. You look unprofessional. You've wasted your time. And quite probably you've lost a client.
  3. It protects our MLS. Because no two properties have the same Folio Real number, it serves as a perfect duplicate detection system for our MLS. Duplicate listings deteriorate the quality of our system and can give agents headaches. (e.g. “Which one of these listing agents did I contact 2 months ago about this property?”)

With a Folio Real Number it is easy to look up listing details about each property. We recommend that before each listing is submitted agents cross-check their information with the national registry.

A Closer Look at the Folio Real

The folio real is broken into 5 potential parts: The provincia, the finca, the duplicado, the horizontal, and the derechos. Even though all parts are included in our examples below, most folio real numbers will not include all these pieces. 1-123456-000 is the most common format.


The first number in the Folio Real designates the province that the property is located in. For Costa Rica, this is:

  • 1 = San Jose
  • 2 = Alajuela
  • 3 = Cartago
  • 4 = Heredia
  • 5 = Guanacaste
  • 6 = Puntarenas
  • 7 = Limon

All Folio Real numbers will require this number.


Finca Number

This 6 digit number is simply a way of differentiating one property from the next. As of this time, no province in Costa Rica has more than 1 million registered properties, so a six-digit number is sufficient for this task.

If Folio Real numbers are stored in an Excel spreadsheet, Excel will drop the zero in a folio real that begins with zero. (e.g. 012345 becomes 12345) Remember to add the zero back onto the Folio Real number before entering it into our system. The Finca number will always be 6 digits. No exceptions.



There are two cases where you will need to enter a duplicado. In 99.9% of cases, this letter will not exist and should be left blank.

  1. There are rare cases where two identical folio real numbers were unintentionally created. In order to remedy these situations, a letter is added after the finca number to differentiate between the two.
  2. FOR ALL CONCESSIONS, a “Z” will be entered in the duplicado field. “Z” always denotes concession, and is required for all concessions.



Oftentimes and F(filial) or an M is added into the folio real numbers. These are usually associated with condominiums or office buildings with multiple floors. This letter may or may not exist in the Folio Real. If it does not, it should be left blank.



Derechos represent a right of usage among a number of other rights of usage on a particular property. 90% of the time, this number will be -000. This denotes full ownership of the property in question.

However there are cases where multiple rights of use will be issued to the same property. For example, I decide to buy a 1000 sqm tract of land with 3 of my closest friends. We agree to each take 200 sqm to build our individual houses, and leave the remaining 200 sqm for a beautiful swimming pool to which we all share access. The Folio Reals for our titles may look like this: 2-121212-001, 2-121212-002, 2-121212-003, 2-121212-004. One Finca Number--Four Derechos (rights). In this way, each of our interests are protected because we each have a 25% claim to the land as a whole. I can sell my house at any time and transfer that right to another party.


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