The 'Right' Way to buy real estate by Brian Smith

"WHY would you use ANY Real Estate agent without checking
references?...CHECK OUT your Real Estate agent...Don't be with
reputable owners and agents...'showing fee' up front should tip you off...Don't
get ripped off"

I've been wanting to comment on the number of warnings about crooked or terrible
RE agents in CR for some time, now is as good as any I guess....

First, the "showing fee". I do know of several agents, particularly around
Escazu, that do charge a fee. I don't think it's necessarily a tip off about the
agent one way or the other. A poor agent might do that to try to make some
money. A great agent, very much in demand, however might see that as a
"qualifier" for prospective clients. With gas at $5 gallon, the cost of a
vehicle about double that of the U.S. and with parts and labor runarounds here,
it costs like double that of the U.S. to run a car. Since it is very apparent
that there are probably 5 times as many "tire-kickers" here as in the U.S.,
that's a LOT of time and money to drive folks around. Although I've never
charged anyone, sometimes I will bring up the subject to see what reaction I
receive. What I tell them is that if they pay $100 for a full day of looking, if
they purchase something, I'll give them back $200! A truly interested buyer
won't hesitate to say yes and that's all I need to
hear! If they say no, I let them know that I won't charge them, but I will be
looking for some sort of evidence that they are truly interested and capable of
making a purchase....

Less than a month ago I stood in line at Mas x Menos. A visiting couple were
with a woman who was clearly a long time resident. As I stood there, I couldn't
help but hear the woman laughingly tell the couple that if they wanted a nice
day of touring the coastline, they should find a real estate agent to drive them
around! Yes, sad but true, but these expensive times are changing lots of things
all over, including real estate....

You are right on the first part. I've been an agent for years and not a single
person has ever asked me to show my references. I can't think of a more
important thing to do for one of the most important financial decisions you'll
ever make.....


Call 4 or 5 real estate agents in the area and ask them to name the best two
real estate agents they know OUTSIDE their own offices. Whatever name pops up
most often is likely to be your best candidate....go Google the agent's name and
see what comes up.....

Ask that agent to show you their CR cedula (ID) or work permit.....

Ask how long the agent has lived in CR (5-7 years minimum)....

Ask for a few happy customers to contact.....

Ask the friendly, helpful folks at CRL for their knowledge of said agent...

This should eliminate 95%+ of the bad/poor agents....

I don't tend to use CRL for advertising as I'd hate to see it degenerate into
just another advert forum, however I think that since I've been a member for
over 5 years and that I've made generally positive contributions from time to
time that I've earned the privilege of pointing out some important things about

I've lived in Costa Rica for over 10 years. I'm married to a Costa Rican and we
have a 3 year old son. I have full legal citizenship through naturalization with
the full right to work. In the past I've been a social sciences teacher and have
run my own business in Costa Rica. I've lived in the Central Valley and in the
Central Pacific areas for years and have travelled this country extensively. I
have a clean background, plenty of clients, friends and many others who've known
me here for years.

I've never had anyone ask me to prove any of this and yet I hear over and over
again about "bad" agents that have burned folks and I know that the vast
majority could have been unmasked with a few simple steps. But why hasn't that
happened? Probably because they are (in most cases) North Americans. North
Americans tend to want to help out their own kind. But what of the United States
itself? Isn't one of the biggest issues right now to do with illegal immigrants?
Some of these same folks who wouldn't dream of hiring an illegal immigrant at
home will literally run to one here!

When you deal with an "illegal", you are not only at risk of a problem with any
legal transaction, you're also at risk for a rip-off of almost any kind with no
real legal recourse. They don't have a personal stake here, most have no home,
no bank account, no phone in their name, no roots at all. They usually pay no
taxes, take advantage of all the benefits, avoid all the legal steps and
paperwork that those of us who want to remain fully legal must endure and they
generally give nothing back to the community. They can just disappear and pop up
later at a new location to start all over again. Longevity is the key factor

The other part of dealing with an "illegal" is that you are not only giving them
the chance to rip you off or mess you up somehow, you are perpetuating their
stay here in Costa Rica and paying them to boot. This leads to an appearance of
even more of their ilk. How honest do you think they really are? They are here
working illegally and you think they'll truly protect YOUR interests? They are
breaking the law, period.

I'm calling for a conscious movement on the part of CRLers and those they know
to start looking for the "legal" folks in every area of business and services.
These folks have EARNED the right to your support and to your business. They've
spent years of their lives and thousands of $$$ to do it right and they deserve
to be given first chance at making a living.

If you are legal to live and work here, a business owner or provide goods and
services, please let everyone know this. Making a living here is TOUGH and those
of us that have gone through all the malarky should feel proud to point this out
and ask for your business.

I'm here in the Central Pacific and I work hard every day to find great
properties and good prices for my clients and I do everything in my power to
protect their interests. I've spent years learning the language, the culture,
the economy, the government, the legal system and the RIGHT way to get things
done (granted sometimes it is SLOW). I've kept my nose clean and my shoulder to
the wheel, I'm a family man, honest, hard working and LEGAL. Somewhere out there
is somebody that really wants or needs what I have to offer. I ask you fine
folks to consider me if you have an interest in real estate in this area or to
recommend me to others who may be looking. I'd be delighted to show you my

By the way, I found my job right here on Costa Rica Living! How's that for a CRL
success story!


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