Imagine this: you are interested in buying a piece of property in Costa Rica’s southern zone, so you walk into one of the real estate offices in say – Uvita Costa Rica. You consult for awhile with an agent there. (For the sake of this article, lets call him “Rod”) and off you go looking at properties that fit your interest. After looking at all that Rod has to show you, nothing strikes you as the right piece So far not a lot of imagination has been required. Here’s where it gets a little more difficult. Rod says: “how ’bout we pop on down to this other agency, some competitors of mine down by Ojochal, and see what they’ve got” or “Let’s go on up to an office of my peers in Dominical that’s been around for years. They’ve probably got a few listings that I don’t have that may be a perfect fit”. I know – hard to imagine, but stay with me here.

There is a fundamental change happening to the real estate market in Costa Rica’s southern Pacific zone that is making the above scenario a common occurrence: that of the agencies working together to provide a better service to both buyers and sellers. The motivation for this change is, in part, thanks to the recession, and in part to another thing called SPAR that I’ll get to in a minute. Back in the day when we realtors were all fat & sassy and buyers were beating our doors down, we didn’t need each other. The challenge for the buyer back then was to find an available agent that would help with finding a piece of land – everyone was busy. We each had our own listings, and there wasn’t much need to share a commission. The global economic crisis has changed all this. The demands of a down market have forced our collective hand and we are now finding that we fare better through cooperation than isolation.

The Non-MLS Marketplace: The real estate market in Costa Rica does not have an MLS or Multiple Listing Service. If you are coming from a country where the use of an MLS is common practice, it may be difficult to understand the way things work in a non-MLS marketplace. The non-MLS business model in Costa Rica deprives both buyer and seller of a core function in the MLS model: REPRESENTATION. The real estate agent is tasked with caring for both sides of the deal – buyer & seller, while also being concerned about his/her own commission. Take a minute and think about some of the disclosure concerns this might bring up.

Buyer’s Problems: When a buyer spends a day or two with a single realtor looking at property, they are seeing what that particular real estate agency has for listings. To really know that they have seen everything, a buyer would have to visit all of the agencies, and probably go over already trodden ground to sift through everything – not good. It may be that the buyer has developed a sense of trust with one agent, and really doesn’t want to go through the whole process again with someone else. This is not to mention that many buyers are in Costa Rica on vacation and they simply don’t have the time necessary to repeat the process numerous times. Seller’s Problems: Those poor sellers. Here is a checklist of how to most effectively go about marketing a property in Costa Rica southern Pacific zone.

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