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How Realtors in Costa Rica Make Money

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There is a difference between good marketing and deceptive marketing. I respect and rather enjoy good marketing as well as selling a value added service.

 

That is exactly right! I have no problem Jeff’s approach in marketing is service. He is very upfront with his fees and his reasoning for charging those fees. Take it or leave it, fair enough. For the type of investor that you described above, one that is investing from afar a realtor provides a needed service, albeit an expensive one.

 

However, there is a customary way of purchasing real estate in Costa Rica and it most certanly does not include hiring a realtor. I can understand why many would want to opt out of the traditional process and choose to hire a realtor. But it is deceptive to tell people that they need a "Real Estate Professional" when purchasing real estate in Costa Rica.

 

Investors should have the option to "opt out" of the traditional meathod, instead of being told that they MUST have a "Real Estate Professional" to "look out for their interests". Jeff has been as guilty of that as others. Hiring a realtor is not the traditional way of purchasing real estate in Costa Rica. PERIOD!!!

 

When people write books on the subject, the traditional method of purchasing real estate should be covered in that book. If people want to opt out of that process fine, if the author of that book wants to present arguements against the traditioanal method, fine! However, when you purchase such a book on the subject of purchasing Real Estate in Costa Rica, you have a right to expect to be provided with complete information with all of the options so that you can make up your own mind on what approach suits you best. To completely omit the traditional meathods in order to promote your own business interests to me is a rip off of the public.

 

Neither book buyers nor investors should be led to believe that hiring a "Realtor" is vital to avoid getting ripped off in your real estate investments, especially when better values can be had if people are willing to take the time to do it the traditional way.

Edited by Kahuna

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Dave & jdocop... In the USA it is very easy to ascertain a value of a property. Public access to the MLS via computer makes finding good comps rather easy thus marketing a property is much easier. However, take the MLS system away (which I believe is provided by the realtors) and this process becomes more difficult. In Costa Rica the process of finding the value (if value to the buyer is derived by comparable properties) can be rather difficult.

 

I agree it is "easier" in the USA with access to somewhat reliable public records. The MLS gets its records from the public record. For those who like to play with this stuff you might want to try zillow.com

 

But it not that hard here to build your own database (I have mine in Excel) and pay attention to asking prices. If one pays attention and does some basic arithmetic within a few months you too will know which prices are absurd, which are realistic and which are bargains.

 

IOW do your own homework (or pay the piper)!

 

Buena Suerte.

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One particular book on purchasing real estate in Costa Rica that claims to that it is a guide on how to purchase property without loosing your shirt does not even mention anything about purchasing property Tico style. To the contrary, the author incessantly promotes his own services and basically claims he is the only one an investor can trust with their real estate investments. I find this doubly offensive and deceptive.

 

Kahuna,

 

While it is true that to a savvy person Scott's book does contain alot of fluff and self-promotion, it is disingenuous to say that it does not mention Tico homes. In fact, it covers them extensively and even has exact instructions on how to find Tico listings in La Nacion and other Spanish publications.

 

My partner, Terry, is a contributing author in that book, and her section on Atenas/Grecia also covers Tico homes.

 

I understand you have bad feelings about Scott, but please do not misinform the board.

 

Pura Vida!

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While it is true that to a savvy person Scott's book does contain alot of fluff and self-promotion, it is disingenuous to say that it does not mention Tico homes. In fact, it covers them extensively and even has exact instructions on how to find Tico listings in La Nacion and other Spanish publications.

 

My partner, Terry, is a contributing author in that book, and her section on Atenas/Grecia also covers Tico homes.

 

board.

 

Pura Vida!

 

 

Jeff,

 

With all due respect, that is NOT the point.

 

My point is that the traditional manner of purchasing real estate in Costa Rica does not involve a Realtor. The traditional manner of purchasing real estate involves working through your own network of friends and associates and using an attorney to manage the process and look out for your interests.

 

It is commonly understood among those in the know, that this is the process by which the best values are obtained, rather than purchasing property Gringo style through a Realtor. My point is that for those that are willing to invest the time to purchase real estate in the traditional Costa Rican manner, the manner in which Tico's have always purchased real estate, there are opportunities to save a ton of money without dealing with individuals like youself (no offence intended) that want to add commissions to both ends of the transaction.

 

There are fair arguements againast going this route, perticularly for those that are investing from afar. I can also understand why Scott would want to argue against the traditional method of purchasing property in Costa Rica. However to completely omit this traditional manner of investment from what is presented to the public as complete guide to purchasing property in Costa Rica is ethically deficient in my humble opinion. The public has a right to expect that when they spend their money on such a guide that they are going to be presented with all viable options (in particular, the traditional meathod), not just the ones that suit the business interests of the author.

Edited by Kahuna

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For what it's worth, please let me point out that a mention of Tico homes by your friend, Scott, is not the same thing as mentioning not just the traditional method of buying property in CR, but the preferred method for any one who is trying to get the better deal (for all parties, btw).

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MOST real estate foke are trash and snakes at best. TAKE YOUR TIME. Find a good lawyer and trusted tico friend.

I've met the snakes, trust me on that one. But I also know a lot of honest real estate agents. We all need to make a living. True, real estate is a cut throat type of business. And by the way, you don't need to have a code of ethics in order to be ethical and vice versa. Realtor.com has never impressed me. I love how they double their fees on many of their members from one year to the other.

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For what it's worth, please let me point out that a mention of Tico homes by your friend, Scott, is not the same thing as mentioning not just the traditional method of buying property in CR, but the preferred method for any one who is trying to get the better deal (for all parties, btw).

 

The whole thing drives me crazy.

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WOW. This thread really took a turn for the worse LOL. I'd just like to say the following:

 

There are honest Realtors, and Kahuna is right, finding real estate with Realtors is not (and has not) been the traditional way to look at real estate. As a Realtor, I don't believe that every client needs one. I wrote an article saying if you speak Spanish, know the area, etc, then you may not need me! Pura vida y buena suerte. Honesty first! However, to the average tourist, they have no desire to drive around with a Tico Driver (who may or may not speak English) to find real estate. Who is to say that the Driver is Mr. Honesto? You know what I mean?

Not all Realtors are snakes. I've been one for many years, and although I may be the few, I'd like to think I am a good and honest one. I am also one who understands the culture of the US buyer and Tico buyer, afterall I am "1/2" Tica.

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Kahuna,

 

I agree with Becky's main point: For the average tourist a realtor offers a valuable service. Sure there are agents that will tell clients anything to get them to buy, but so will nearly every Tico who offers to show them around.

 

You live here in CR and understand values, the system and the laws. Most people in the States don't even know where CR is. Once they become interested in CR and do a bit of research, you would HONESTLY recommend your purchase method as a safe way to find a good deal? Your method of mingling with Ticos and finding a lawyer, you must admit, is hardly the safest approach.

 

Obviously if you live in CR for some time your method is do-able. That is not the reality for the majority of foreign buyers. Scott's book tries to inform people of the pitfalls that can occur. Scott Oliver is trying to protect and educate unsuspecting buyers to the point where he recommends renting for a year before purchasing a house. If they follow that advice, more than likely they will use your purchase method.

 

Yes, Scott does profit from the RE industry, but I don't understand how you can fault him for trying to educate the "average" buyer - who may only have a week to search for a retirement home. He recommends realtors that he has personally screened for their legality, language skills, and intergrity.

 

I think we can agree that Scott's approach of being overly cautious is not a bad thing for the average foreign buyer. Further, hiring an honest buyer agent will save the buyer time, money, and headaches in the long run. Can't we agree that that is the case for someone who only has a week or two to search for a home?

 

Paz and Pura Vida!

 

Jeff Hickcox

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Jeff,

 

You make a valid point and I do appreciate that you are here to defend Scott's position.

 

Yes the average uninformed buyer that does not want to learn the culture and the customs of the country that they are investing in can benefit from having a real estate agent. FINE. That does not change my central criticism of Scott's approach.

 

What I take exception to, and what you have failed to address, is that Scott has written a book that is completely self serving and fails to give the consumer the information as to how to buy property in Costa Rica at the best possible price. What he utterly fails to do is to explain to the customer ALL of their options and in particular those that do not favor his business.

 

YES, you are right, many people are too lazy to learn the "Costa Rican" way of doing things. Those people should should probably get a realtor and they should accept the inflated prices that they are paying as a cost of doing business.

 

However, I personally am offended with the misleading nature of Scott's book and how it is presented as the ONLY way to do things in Costa Rica. I am doubly offended by Scott's representations that he is the only one you can trust and that everyone that is not in his circle is someone not to be trusted. In fact, it is Scott that is presenting information that ONLY serves his interests and he leaves out anything that does not enhance his business.

 

All that is 100% fine when you are presenting to the public your marketing material. That is what marketing is for. What I find ethically deficient is the fact that he SELLS his marking material to the unsuspecting public that thinks they are buying an objective text on how to buy real estate. THIS IS JUST WRONG, PERIOD!

 

If he were a true honest broker of information, as he repeatedly goes out of his way to claim in his poorly written book, he would also explain the "Tico way" of doing things and give his reasons why it is a bad idea for the type of customer you describe. That would be the honest way of presenting the material. It would still be biased, which is fine, but not misleading, which is not.

 

Instead, he only presents the information that serves his interests and tells people that he is the only one that can be trusted in the entire country. I find his entire approach ethically bankrupt, sorry!!!

 

I personally felt like I was duped after purchasing the book!

Edited by Kahuna

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WOW. This thread really took a turn for the worse LOL. I'd just like to say the following:

 

There are honest Realtors, and Kahuna is right, finding real estate with Realtors is not (and has not) been the traditional way to look at real estate. As a Realtor, I don't believe that every client needs one. I wrote an article saying if you speak Spanish, know the area, etc, then you may not need me! Pura vida y buena suerte. Honesty first! However, to the average tourist, they have no desire to drive around with a Tico Driver (who may or may not speak English) to find real estate. Who is to say that the Driver is Mr. Honesto? You know what I mean?

Not all Realtors are snakes. I've been one for many years, and although I may be the few, I'd like to think I am a good and honest one. I am also one who understands the culture of the US buyer and Tico buyer, afterall I am "1/2" Tica.

 

All good points.

 

My only complaint is that people are not given the correct information so that they can make an informed decision on their own.

 

It is not the realitors place to make this decision for the client.

 

Yes, MT, I do think you are among the minority of honest ones out there. The jury is still out on Jeff :)

 

You should write a book on buying real estate in CR and do it right!

Edited by Kahuna

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Kahuna,

 

It is clear that you do not work in the RE industry in Costa Rica. I look at new listings everyday, mostly from Ticos. They are asking rediculous prices for their property. The idea that a gringo is going to find a better deal from a Tico network is laughable. That may have been true in the past, but now ALL of the Tico sellers are beginning to ask absurdly inflated prices -especially when they see a gringo.

 

The reason Scott does not put that method in his book, is not because it doesn't serve his wallet, it is because it is a foolish and careless way to find a GOOD SAFE deal. The only people who know true market values are the ones in the trenches everyday. A buyer who retains an honest agent will get honest views of values. That, my friend, saves people money.

 

Scott has put his name and face behind his words and reputation. You pretend to be an expert and yet you hide behind "Kahuna". Who is to trust your knowledge and why?

 

Sincerely,

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Kahuna,

 

It is clear that you do not work in the RE industry in Costa Rica. I look at new listings everyday, mostly from Ticos. They are asking rediculous prices for their property.

 

EXACTLY! I do not work in the real estate industry! So guess what? I have no agenda! I put forward my opinions based on my research. I do not pretend to be an expert. I only take objection with those that claim to be experts and only provide their clients with the information that is in alignment with their own personal business agenda. You and I can debate Scott's motivations, but facts are facts. The traditional method for purchasing real estate is totally ignored in Scott's book. If not for me, and others like me on this board (non realitors), people would not have access to the information so that they can make their OWN informed decisions as to what is the best method of purchase for them. People should be able to trust that their "Real Estate Experts" are giving them complete information and not just the information that fits with their own business interests.

 

So you say you look at Tico "listings" everyday. Exactly where are these "listings" listed? I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about when you talk about listings in Costa Rica. Please tell us about the listing service here in Costa Rica.

 

In fact Jeff, let me to be the first to inform you that there is at least one attorney here in Costa Rica that specializes in the exact type of deal you find so laughable. There is one company I know of that is called Gringo Services and they have an excellent reputation for putting together exactly the type of deal you find "laughable". So laugh away.

 

The idea that a gringo is going to find a better deal from a Tico network is laughable. That may have been true in the past, but now ALL of the Tico sellers are beginning to ask absurdly inflated prices -especially when they see a gringo.

 

Laughable?

 

First, lets just start with the fact that there are many gringos right here on this discussion board that have done exactly the thing that you claim is "laughable". So I am not sure just who is laughing at whom.

 

Yes, there are inflated prices in the real estate market in Costa Rica. Just where did all that start? Ticos are just mimicking what they see the Gringos do and why shouldn't they?

 

The reason Scott does not put that method in his book, is not because it doesn't serve his wallet, it is because it is a foolish and careless way to find a GOOD SAFE deal. The only people who know true market values are the ones in the trenches everyday. A buyer who retains an honest agent will get honest views of values. That, my friend, saves people money.

 

Then let Scott make that argument in his book! Then he would have some credibility. To claim you are an expert, then to write a book and omit the most prevalent method of purchasing property (weather he agrees with it or not) is just wrong. Instead of giving the readers the information so that they can make up their own mind, he incessantly markets his services. This practice is fine for marketing material; it is deceptive when you are selling a text to the public on the subject.

 

Scott has put his name and face behind his words and reputation. You pretend to be an expert and yet you hide behind "Kahuna". Who is to trust your knowledge and why?

 

I do not suggest that anyone should act on my opinions regarding real estate and I never have. I have NEVER, not once, claimed to be an expert. I have never, not once, attempted to sell a property here in Costa Rica.

 

To the contrary I have never claimed to be anything other than an expert on tour and travel. When I am working with a client, I give them all the options, the ones I prefer and those that I don't. Many times my clients choose things that I advise against. My job is not to decide for them, my job is to give them the information and my professional advice and it is up to them to decide what is best for their own situation. For me to only recommend only options that suit my personal interests would be unethical.

 

I find that MANY realitors here in Costa Rica do exactly that. I would hope that you would not be one to fall into this category, yet you seem to be advocating this exact practice.

 

One final comment Jeff. Your choice of words is curious. "You pretend to be an expert and yet you hide behind "Kahuna". Those are the very words that Scott used in a very hostile post he put on this BB. It is an amazing coincidence that you would choose such similar verbiage. Or is it? Scott wanted to attack me personally here on the Board. I suggested that I would be happy to debate the merits of his book and he has not been back since.

 

You use his exact words, so just who is hiding behind whom?

 

 

HAVE A NICE DAY!

Edited by Kahuna

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Kahuna,

 

I had no idea you had a past history of animosity with Scott. I sort-of guessed that you did. Wow, you're pretty bitter about it.

 

I said it is "laughable" to suggest that your method is SAFER to find a good deal for the average "tourist" buyer. Not that the method isn't handled by experienced people. I already told you that I agree that retaining a good attorney and learning values on your own can work for some people. Just not the ones who have limited time.

 

When I say I look at New listings everyday - I mean a Tico seller calls our company to list their property for sale. In the last few months the majority of those listings have been grossly overpriced. It would be very difficult to find the true values of property in 1-2 week property search. Honest agents list properties for exactly what the seller tells them to list it at. How does that fit your "inflated price" model when using realtors?

 

Much mud has been thrown around on this post at realtors. There are honest and dishonest people in every profession. Those of us who service our customers with integrity somehow get thrown in with the rest. I have heard as many bad lawyer stories, scams etc.. happening while trying to avoid using a realtor, as I've heard about dishonest agents.

 

Here is my opinion: A vacationer/foreign retiree is more educated after buying Scott's book - not less. With limited time to search they are better off retaining a HIGHLY recommended agent to help them find, purchase, protect, and befriend. They will save time, money, and headaches The client will find a home that is priced the same as if the Tico taxi driver showed it to them and maybe LESS!

 

I'm sorry you do not like Scott Oliver or his book. Yes his book is not perfect, but at least he has put his reputation on the line to try to educate potential buyers. I suppose that Scott and I must think alike: when someone likes to criticize other people and then hide behind an alias, they seem disingenuous.

 

Kahuna is the resident "know-it-all" on ARCR. We must not criticize or disagree with him. For he is the big Kahuna.

 

Pura Vida

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