Terry is an American lady who grew up in St Louis, Missouri.

Surrounded by real-estate transactions and construction because her mother was a Realtor” and her father is a Realtor”, Developer and Contractor.

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She has helped with the book work, answered phone calls in the office tagged around behind her father on hundreds of construction sites from individual homes to huge hospital complexes, read blueprints, hammered nails and in general made a nuisance of herself like most children.

Terry first visited Costa Rica in 1967 with her parents and stayed for three years which is when she fell in love with the country, the “critters”, with the climate, but most of all with the Costa Rican people. She made many friends and has kept them for over 30+ years.

Terry has good ties with many Tico families as well as a few influential friends and contacts. We asked Terry to comment on why people should work with a real estate professional and this is what she told us…

Things are different here. The culture is based on a concept totally foreign to most North Americans. Money and time are NOT the most important considerations in life or business negotiations, family, friends, peace and harmony ARE!

That is why so many gringos have such a hard time understanding honest Tico sellers and unfortunately, some of them end up dealing with the money hungry sellers and can also fall into the hands of one of the unethical real estate agents that are out there.

The laws regarding agreements and transactions are very different. The cultural views of how transactions are handled are often confusing and frustrating to most foreigners and even long time residents of Costa Rica. In fact, most Ticos, even some who claim to be real estate agents, don’t know the regulations.

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It takes a gringo who has lived here for some time to understand the unique expectations, timing and culture that most North Americans bring to the table. It also takes a Tico to understand the unique cultural sensitivities, and do’s and don’ts that can kill a deal or cause you to pay over three times of what a property would sell for to a Tico.

My Tico partner who is fluent in Spanish as well as English, can negotiate, translate and explain not only the Spanish language but also the Tico culture which is sometimes even more important.

Even though real-estate here in Costa Rica is completely different, the principles of what makes a property defective or desirable for a North American do not. The same applies to what is good versus bad construction.

We expect a bit of space, a nice view, utilities, grounded electrical connections, hot water, and traps in the drains… However, some of these little things are foreign to many Tico builders.

Customer (buyer) oriented real-estate is what we do, it is ALL we do. It is not a hobby for us, or a sideline. We make a living (just) for three families, only because we DO NOT try to make a killing off each sale. We also take a lot of time to advise and help clients with those little frustrating things that making such a drastic change in life a little easier.

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Here is one example which makes it more than clear why our methods work and what one has to gain by working with us:

Just last week an acquaintance told me he was looking for property in the Atenas area and described what he was looking for. We had the perfect spot. Two hectares, nice view, decent access, utilities available, flat enough to build the house, pool and tennis court he wanted.

We described the property and location to him and he said it sounded like the one he had already fallen in love with and indeed turned out to be the exact same property. He told us the owners were asking $20 a meter for it.

However he told me he would never sign a contract with us because that is not how it works in the US, much less pay my retainer. He said he didn’t need us to help him find properties, so he will never know that he could have bought that property for only $6 a meter and the owner would probably pay my fees and half the closing costs!

In trying to save himself our retainer and commission which would have been around $10,000 – he will actually lose over US$280,000 when he buys that property. He also missed a lot of great advice about the area, introductions to people who could make his move easier, reputable contractors, etc.

When you buy property with us, you have the option of dealing directly with the owner (with the our help of course), so you know that no one is padding the price, your contract is with the owner not a real estate agent as it is in some cases.

Or if you wish, a Tico lawyer can negotiate the whole deal and the seller never knows the buyer is a foreigner in case he is one of those who raises prices for foreigners!”

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