What is the difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker?
Most Countries require real estate sales professionals to be licensed but Costa Rica is different.
The terminology used to identify real estate professionals varies. Brokers are generally required to have more education and experience than real estate salespersons or agents.
The person you normally deal with is a real estate agent or salesperson. The salesperson is licensed by the CCBR, but must work for a broker. All listings are placed in the broker’s name, not the salesperson’s.
A broker can deal directly with home buyers and sellers, or can have a staff of salespersons or agents working for him or her.
Why should I use a real estate salesperson?
A real estate salesperson is more than just a “salesperson.” They act on your behalf as your agent, providing you with advice and guidance and doing a job – helping you buy or sell a home in Costa Rica. While it is true they get paid for what they do, so do other professions that provide advice, guidance, and have a service to sell –such as Certified Public Accountants and Attorneys
The Internet has opened up a world of information that wasn’t previously available to homebuyers and seller in Costa Rica. The data on listings available for sale is almost current – but not quite. There are times when you need the most current information about what has sold or is for sale, and the only way to get that is with an agent.
The real estate agent is becoming more of a “guide” than a “salesperson” — your personal representative in buying or selling a home in Costa Rica.
I have a family friend who is a Realtor. I like her and she is a help but she gives me one price to sell my home for and I think it is too low. So I called another agent who suggested a price more in line with my expectations. Who do I choose?
You might want to consult a couple more Realtors on the market value of your home. Most of the estimates should be in the same ballpark.
It could be that your friend is being more honest with you about the value of your home and the other Realtor gave you a higher number because he already knew you expected it. This is called “Buying a Listing” and is the subject of an article on our web site.
Or it could simply be that your friend is a good friend, but not that great of a real estate agent.
Mixing business and friendships is always risky to the friendship. On the other hand, if your friend is truly competent and was providing wise advice, she may be offended if you ignore the advice and choose another agent.
Costa Rica is OK but which area makes the most sense as an investment?
If your goal is to buy a home in Costa Rica for its resale value and the one you are thinking of buying is in the city of San Jose you should consider looking for Real Estate in Escazu, Belen, La Guacima, Curridabat and Santa Ana where upper end of values for those neighborhoods are growing, then it may be the wished choice. The Main investment prime area is Escazu then Santa Ana which is similar but with lower prices. Certain areas of Guanacaste province are very attractive to real estate investors. Papagayo, Tamarindo and Flamingo area has to most value of all in Guanacaste.
Remember that you also buy a home for it’s value to you as a home, and that is something else you should consider is which neighborhood or Province would you feel most comfortable in for a future investment in Costa Rica.
When buying a new home, what upgrades should we go for? What holds the most value? Do we upgrade the lot? Pick more square footage in the house? Add an extra bedroom?, etc.
A lot depends on why you are buying the house. Are you buying it mostly as a home or mostly as an investment? There is a difference.
For the most part, upgrades are high-profit items for builders. They aren’t designed to enhance the value of the house, but make you happier with the house you do buy.
If you are looking at your home as an investment, then you buy from the smaller to medium size in the tract and spend only a minimal amount on upgrades. If you are looking at your purchase as a home, then you select upgrades that will enhance your quality of living.
One rule of thumb is to always upgrade the carpet and padding.