How Not To Treat Your Realtor in Costa Rica

You may wonder what I mean by the title to this article. I believe I’ve wanted to write this article for a long time and I’m now just getting down to it.

I want to sum up my years as a professional Realtor here in Costa Rica and kindly remind those out there to have courtesy and understand the following points:

  1. There is NO mandatory licensing in Costa Rica. There are, however, a few reputable organizations with voluntary licensing such as CRGAR (Costa Rica Global Association of Realtors) and CCCBR (Camara Costaricense de Corredores de Bienes Raices). Being a member of either or both of these shows that the Realtor that you are working with considers ethics, morals, networking with other agents and a future MLS system important. Very few agents in Costa Rica hold active real estate licenses in their home country. Even fewer of those worked as agents before coming to Costa Rica.
  2. There is NO centralized MLS (Multiple Listing Service) in Costa Rica as of today. There are, however, many MLS type systems. Most real estate agents are tied into one or more of those MLS systems to assist with finding suitable properties for clients.
  3. If you are serious about buying property in Costa Rica, I encourage you to visit FIRST, tour the different areas you are interested in on your own and then decide if Costa Rica is for you. Real estate agents are NOT tour guides. Our time is valuable and gas and cars are expensive. If you want a tour, rent a car or hire a tour guide. Many real estate agencies can set up real estate tours to view many different areas at a very reasonable price.
  4. If you want to buy to live in Costa Rica, VISIT first! If you want to buy to rent out (investment only) and are dependent on rental income, it’s best to buy in areas that are desirable to travelers-that means areas that have more of a tourist population.
  5. Getting financing in Costa Rica is difficult. Basically those who don’t really need financing are the ones who are approved. If you need financing it’s always best to get in your home country. Very few deals offer owner financing, although it’s possible but extremely limits you.
  6. If you are looking to purchase in five years, then it’s best to explore the area on your own or pay for a real estate tour. No sense of asking an agent to see properties now for 5 years down the line. Inventory will change. Prices will most likely be up.
  7. PLEASE understand that Costa Rica is a very small country. Many of us agents know one another and certainly all the best ones do…. When you contact me, and contact two other agents in the same area to look for property, we will find out about it. The reason we find out is because when searching for the type of property you are looking for, we email requests to other agents and find out we are looking for properties for the same buyer.

    If I find myself in this “multiple real estate agent” situation, I choose not to be a part of it. Loyalty goes both ways. I personally don’t have time to waste with a client who is not loyal to me. Be loyal and respectful as a buyer and choose ONE real estate agent, not five (especially in the same town!). Of course, if you work with an agent and decide they are not a ‘match’ for you, then switch.

  8. Please understand that if an agent shows you property and you choose to buy that property by bypassing the agent, they will find out about it. In most cases, agents register a client when showing a property to protect commission. I have personally had a situation where I showed a property to clients, they bought directly with the developer and I not only found out about it, but was also compensated.
  9. People who compare real estate agents to sleezy used car salesman or don’t see the value of using a professional real estate agent have obviously not worked with the right people and did not do their homework when choosing who to work with. Do your homework! The internet is an amazing tool where you can find out the good, the bad, and the ugly about anyone.
  10. Being an agent in Costa Rica is 100 times harder than being one in the USA. I know, because I was one (and still hold an active Florida license). Without a true MLS, networking is key. In order to locate that perfect property, there is a lot of back and forth with phone calls and emails.
  11. Lastly, if you want to meet with a real estate agent and decide to stay at a hotel one to two hours away from their office, it’s YOUR responsibility to get to us. I find it funny that I have had clients that expect me to drive to pick them up, bring them back to my office area, show properties in my area, return them back.

    If you do the math, that is 4 hours of driving just for picking up and dropping off the client. That doesn’t include the hours of looking at properties. I figure if you are serious about buying, then you would arrange your own transportation to the area, whether by taxi or rental car.

I hope the above tips and information prove useful to you. After years of dealing with many clients, I felt the need to publish this article. If I can be of assistance in your search for real estate in my area of Guanacaste, feel free to contact me.




How Not To Treat Your Realtor in Costa Rica

Article/Property ID Number 3107

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