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How Realtors in Costa Rica Make Money

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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'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

 

Dear Jeff.

 

I have no animosity toward Scott personally. I don't know the guy. To be honest, I found his outburst here on this BB a bit comical. He is the one with the problem, not me.

 

I do feel very strongly that his book is deceptively presented to the public as a text book when it is nothing more than a marketing device that he sells to an unsuspecting public. There have been many that have purchased his book on Amazon.com that feel the exact same way I do and you can go and read the reviews for yourself. I also felt decieved after purchasing the book on Amazon when I discovered that all his friends "stuffed the ballot box" with positive reviews in a very short time after the book was posted on Amazon. Anyone that looks at the dates of all the positive reviews can see that there was a coordinated effort to get a lot of positive reviews for a very poorly written book.

 

I have been on this board for a long time and I challenge you to find one time where I have been disrespectful of anyones opinions! It is you that appears to not be able to deal with someone that expresses an opinion that you have no answer for. Rather than address the issues I raise, you attack me personally. Nice.

 

If you feel the need to criticize me personally, have at. If you an put together a valid point, I may even agree with you. The problem is, you really don't address the points I make, and neither does Scott. Rather you side step them and try to make this into a personal issue, which it is not.

 

Scott needs to spend $10,000, hire a ghost writer and fix the damn book. What he is selling now is marketing material that only addresses information that suits his business interests.

 

"Hide behind an alias", gee Jeff, there are not more than 2 or 3 people that use their given name on this BB. Why are you here if you can not trust any of them? That is an obsurd point. What about MediaTica, TicoGrande, JDcop to name just a few? Are they hiding too? That is just crap Jeff and you know it. Very, very few people (especially those that understand the internet) use their real names on BB. That is a rediculus personal attack that is nothing more than an attempt to side step and avoid the issues I have raised. .

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I have to add to what Kahuna has posted. I would recommend that you take a look at profiles (that's why they are there, you know) should you have any questions about who we are. For what it is worth, I never read Scott's book myself. But, as Kahuna has pointed out to you (and, you keep ignoring) issues have been raised by him in his posts, and your responses do not address them. One more time, let me explain how our family found and bought property in CR, and how I will buy when and if I decide to do so: we visited for years, got to know people, then talked about the possibility of maybe living there someday. People then reacted to what we said (Ticos) and would mention different properties that might be available. When it was time to actually look at property, we just drove around with our Tico friends, who introduced us to the owners. All negotiations took place between owner and potential buyer. Then, when it looked like a deal was possible, we went to the lawyer, who took care of the paperwork. No realtors ever involved. None. No need. What part of this process do you all not understand?

 

As for using our real names, you might look into the history of the internet and BBs/forums. Personally, I have used this same online name (or, handle, if you will) for about fifteen years, dating back to when email and BBs were text only. As I told you, if you'll look at my profile (just click on my online name) you'll see more than you need to know about who and what I am. Certainly more personal information than your own profile reveals. (note to Kahuna: his profile reads like yet another commercial)!

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OK! Everybody out of the pool! I am stepping in now as I know where this is headed, and that is not going to happen.

 

The subject of real estate and specifically real estate agents seems to be a truly polarizing issue in these forums. This subject has been beaten to death and nothing new is ever added.. just restatement of opinions... then it gets a bit nasty. People state their opinions, someone else replies, and after 5-6 posts, things start getting personal and THAT, as you know, we do not permit. Everyone here is welcome to their opinion, but if you do not agree with that opinion, by all means feel free to reply... but be polite!

 

Whether you like them of not, realtors have a right to be in Costa Rica and to try to earn a living! You may feel they serve no purpose whatsoever and are unnecessary. OK... say that then drop it. Readers of these forums are not stupid. They are capable of reading all opinions and making a decision if using a realtor is for them.

 

Many people do not have the time to visit Costa Rica several times in order to build the relationships mentioned by JDOCOP. Sure, that is the best way to do it, but not always practical, so they use a realtor to introduce them to the marketplace. I do not see that these people have a lot of options if they insist on buying right away.

 

Saying that, and as I have mentioned here and elsewhere, to come here and buy property immediately is just not smart! There are probably 10 reasons why they should not buy this way, the three biggest being:

  • You almost assuredly will pay too much as there is no Multiple Listing Service to get comparisons
  • You almost assuredly will buy in the wrong location as you have not had a chance to visit ALL the great places in Costa Rica and
  • With about 40% of the people leaving to return home within 1 year, how on earth do you know you will LIKE and can even live here??

I spoke with mover Charlie Zeller a few weeks ago and he gave me an astonishing statistic. He tells me he moves BACK 60% of those he moves here in that first year. SIXTY PERCENT!! How can anyone ignore either of the above statistics?? Smart people come here and live for at least six months before they buy. Learn the country and the culture. Do not sell the home back home and liquidate assets (also known as putting all your eggs in one basket). You are just begging for trouble!

 

Do not make ANY decision that you cannot "undo" in less than 5 phone calls. Then, if all does not go well, you lose very little except your time. I PROMISE there will still be property to buy and realtors to sell it in a year!

 

As for realtors, not all are scumbags. Some, probably most, are honest people, but check them out just as you would if dealing with anyone. Here are a few suggestions!

  1. Here is one I think is VERY important, but often is totally ignored. Are they themselves here in Costa Rica legally? Many are NOT. Do they have Permanent Residency or citizenship (required to work here!) or are they perpetual tourists? This is important because if they have not committed to living here and working legally, what interest do they have in making sure you will be happy and in the right home. Hell, they could be gone tomorrow! Ask to see their cedula (residency card) and remember, rentistas and pensionados may NOT work here legally in Costa Rica.
  2. How long have they been in this country? I mean living here.
  3. How long have they been in the real estate business? This is very different from #2!
  4. How many homes have they actually sold, and by this I mean through closing and delivery.
  5. Will they provide the names and phone numbers of the last five clients that used them to buy a home?
  6. Do they specialize in ALL of Costa Rica (impossible IMHO) or do they have a "territory" i.e. in and around Playa del Coco?

I am sure readers can add to this list, but off the top of my head, those are some of the biggies! Same goes for any non-Tico who may be building a home for you.

 

In any case, a realtor can be of assistance, but if you still insist on buying here without having lived here, you are opening yourself up to some very unpleasant possibilities. It is very easy to buy here. It is MUCH harder to sell if you made a mistake and MUCH MUCH harder if you overpaid!

 

I am not going to close this thread yet, but people... be nice to each other.

 

TG

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Kahuna,

 

I apologize that my post appeared to be attacking in nature. Your posts are thoughtful, well written and polite and you do not deserve to be attacked. Thoughtfully questioned -YES, attacked NO. As a real estate professional, I feel personally attacked regularly on this BB. I service my clients with integrity and genuine friendship, and nothing is more painful to me than having my integrity questioned - especially from nameless folks who don't even know me.

 

As to using a name on the internet, I also understand where you are coming from. My thought is, when I use my real name it is because if the world sees what I write - Great. I am not ashamed of my words or actions. But I do understand the apprehension. Although, I do know every one of those alias names that you mentioned- and as far as I can tell they don't have anything to hide either.

 

I agree that Scott's book is not perfect, full of self promotion, and not for everyone. So to your main opinion I agree with you. I simply think that the book is still helpful for some people - if they can read between the ads for his website. I'm unaware of Scott's rant on this BB. However, I do know Scott and I know how he runs his operation. He is a stand-up guy who really takes care of his client's needs. To me, that is the most important thing.

 

Real estate is tricky business here as you know. As someone who works this industry, I wish you were right that good deals can be found through Tico networks. Our Tico partner is the property acquisitions guy to help discourage Ticos from jacking up the prices on us gringo agents. They still request much higher prices than the market is bearing. Ticos know that foreigners will pay more money and they are beginning to ask super inflated prices (in my area anyway). In my opinion, a foreigner would have to be extremely lucky to find a good deal through Tico channels. Further, many scams can occur to unsuspecting foreign buyers using that method.

 

So even though I disagree with you that the traditional method will work for the average foreigners - you're right that in a 'How to Buy' book should include the traditional method. Unfortunately, the traditional method is becoming obsolete for many reasons: Ticos want more for their properties from foreigners, Foreign buyers have limited time to search and research (not that they are 'lazy' or don't want to learn the customs), Buyers want to have a sense of true market values, Finally they don't want to be a victim of a scam.

 

Kahuna - please accept my apologies. My name is Jeff Hickcox, 31 years old, married with 2 boys and one on the way (in 3 weeks). I am a Buddhist, avid reader, writer, political activist, and family man - and clearly have nothing to hide.

 

I hope we can agree to disagree from time to time - peacefully.

 

Pura Vida

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Thanks Jeff.

 

I don’t take any of it personal and you don’t really need to apologize. It is just a damn web site after all. I have never gotten the impression that you are a bad guy.

 

I have no problem with a little self-promotion in an appropriate setting. Everyone needs to make a living. However, when you go down that road on this BB, you better be prepared to back up what you put out there on the board. This BB has been like that since I joined it. You have taken the approach of putting yourself out there a little and you have taken your lumps. MediaTica (the other resident real estate regular) was been a little more subtle in her approach and I think she has had an easier time than you. It is all a question of approach and it is not something that you should take personally.

 

I do enjoy a vigorous debate of the issues and as I said before, I do appreciate the fact that you are here to represent Scott’s case. In the end it is not important if you or I agree or not. It is not important for us to change each other’s mind. Those visiting the web site can judge the merits of our arguments for themselves. In the end that is the whole point of having a BB in the first place. Personally I get more out of reading a thread it if there is some disagreement. Personally, I have also learned a lot in the process of going through this debate with you. If we both come out a little wiser from the exchange than we both benefit.

 

Make no mistake; I have no personal feelings (negative or otherwise) toward Scott and certainly not towards you. It goes without saying I take strong exception to how Scott goes about promoting his business. In the end, it is up to others to judge the validity of my opinions and the appropriateness of Scott’s approach.

 

My final word on Scott’s book and I said it before, if his intentions are as you say, and as he presents himself to the public in his book, than he should absolutely FIX THE BOOK!

 

I, and many others, have felt deceived in the purchase of his book. All the talk in the world is not going to make that problem go away for Scott. We can go back and forth verbally all day long, but as long as that book is on bookshelves as it is now, there are legitimate questions that can be raised regarding Scott’s integrity. It is up to Scott to do something about it. Actions speak loader than words. He has sold enough copies to justify doing it right and fixing the problems with the book he is selling to the public. If he doesn’t want to fix the problems and make it right, than what he is saying with his actions is that all he cares about is making money. As far as I am concerned that is the bottom line. As long as he keeps selling it the way it is now, I am going to continue to complain.

 

Hang in there Jeff. Most of what you have brought to the board has been good. I can honestly say that I have incorporated a lot of your information into my thinking from our discussions.

 

Best, Kahuna

Edited by Kahuna

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Thanks Jeff.

 

I don’t take any of it personal and you don’t really need to apologize. It is just a damn web site after all. I have never gotten the impression that you are a bad guy.

 

I have no problem with a little self-promotion in an appropriate setting. Everyone needs to make a living. However, when you go down that road on this BB, you better be prepared to back up what you put out there on the board. This BB has been like that since I joined it. You have taken the approach of putting yourself out there a little and you have taken your lumps. MediaTica (the other resident real estate regular) was been a little more subtle in her approach and I think she has had an easier time than you. It is all a question of approach and it is not something that you should take personally.

 

I do enjoy a vigorous debate of the issues and as I said before, I do appreciate the fact that you are here to represent Scott’s case. In the end it is not important if you or I agree or not. It is not important for us to change each other’s mind. Those visiting the web site can judge the merits of our arguments for themselves. In the end that is the whole point of having a BB in the first place. Personally I get more out of reading a thread it if there is some disagreement. Personally, I have also learned a lot in the process of going through this debate with you. If we both come out a little wiser from the exchange than we both benefit.

 

Make no mistake; I have no personal feelings (negative or otherwise) toward Scott and certainly not towards you. It goes without saying I take strong exception to how Scott goes about promoting his business. In the end, it is up to others to judge the validity of my opinions and the appropriateness of Scott’s approach.

 

My final word on Scott’s book and I said it before, if his intentions are as you say, and as he presents himself to the public in his book, than he should absolutely FIX THE BOOK!

 

I, and many others, have felt deceived in the purchase of his book. All the talk in the world is not going to make that problem go away for Scott. We can go back and forth verbally all day long, but as long as that book is on bookshelves as it is now, there are legitimate questions that can be raised regarding Scott’s integrity. It is up to Scott to do something about it. Actions speak loader than words. He has sold enough copies to justify doing it right and fixing the problems with the book he is selling to the public. If he doesn’t want to fix the problems and make it right, than what he is saying with his actions is that all he cares about is making money. As far as I am concerned that is the bottom line. As long as he keeps selling it the way it is now, I am going to continue to complain.

 

Hang in there Jeff. Most of what you have brought to the board has been good. I can honestly say that I have incorporated a lot of your information into my thinking from our discussions.

 

Best, Kahuna

 

PS I have seen some good deals out there in the Tico network. They are out there. I am looking at one right now that looks pretty good, but it is just a little too far out for me. Maybe you don't see them because you are in the business. You and I both know that there is one hell of a lot of stuff out there on the market. You have the right relationship, some of those outragous prices are not as firm as some might suggest.

 

[/quote

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I agree that we have gotten a tad nasty on here.

Let's play nice!

I am Mediatica to most, Rebecca L. Clower to others, born 1/26/78, married, legal resident of CR, and baby on the way!

No more hiding for me!

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Forgive me if I do not buy into the "hiding" argument. There are good reasons for not posting one's personal information on the Web.

 

A person’s arguments should stand on their own merits and the fact that they are offered anonymsly should not matter. If someone wants to find me, send me a PM.

 

I have always tired to be accountable for what I post here. I stand by my statements in the past. No ones opinions are sacred as far as I am concerned, including my own. I have however tried to treat people with respect, which should be a norm shared by all. If I have failed to do so, then I do apologize.

 

Regardless; I do not intend to post my personal info here. My actual name has always been on my profile and I have links to my web sites. I don't need to be any more public than that.

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TAKE YOUR TIME, REAL ESTATE HAS COOLED AND MOVEING DOWNWORD. JUST LIKE THE USA. I speak little spanish and still got a house the tico way; saved at least 50%. Not ALL realtors are bad just most and that's for the USA as well.

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Sabo, I see the trend in some areas, but I also see everything expanding into areas like Playa Gigante, Playa Naranjo, Manzanilla etc. People tend to look for property in a little bit less populated areas now. But I'm sure within a few years those will be as populated as the other ones.

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Looking for lawyers can be like shopping for cloths. There are a lot of them and their prices vary. I have had several since moving here back in 1992. Over 12 years ago I was lucky enough to find a family law firm with three brothers, a sister and the father all practicing under the same roof. They now have various associates with expertise in different areas of law. The nice thing about this arrangement is that if you're not communicating well with one of the brothers, you can ask to speak to their sister or one of the other female associates who may better understand your issues. The majority of them speak several languages and one of the other sisters is a certified translator. Over the years they have referred me to other family members that practice medicine, provide services such as insurance, customs brokering, etc., and I have pleasant experiences with all of their referrals. Their primary office is in San Jose in Barrio Dent and they have opened up an additional office in Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste, to service all their new clients who live and work in that area.

 

I'll recommend to initially speak to Carlos (cel-830-5432) or his sister Alejandra (cel-836-7808) who both speak perfect English and can explain everything you need to know. If you don't get through to them on their cellular phones you can try the office numbers in San Jose at 280-5478 or in Guanacaste at 670-1165. You can take a look at their website. http://www.bufeteecheverria.com

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I just had a meeting with a real estate lawyer here in Santa Teresa, makes me feel very comfortable.

 

 

What is happening in Santa Teresa in not representative of the overall real estate market

 

There is a lot of speculative capitol invested in Guanacaste and The Central Pacific Coast. Both of these markets are at risk of a speculative blow out. Many, many of these projects are paid for by "Pre-Sales" to speculative investors that hope to flip these properties when the projects are completed.

 

THESE ARE THE EXACT SAME PEOPLE THAT ARE GETTING FRIED IN THE US CREDIT CRUNCH RIGHT NOW!!!!!

 

Anyone that does not think the Costa Rican economy is not going to effected if most of these deals fall apart is sadly mistaken!

 

Further, IF (and this is a big IF) there is a speculative blow out in these specific real estate markets, it is hard to see how that would not have implications in the overall real estate values in Costa Rica. Personally, I think the prices are all too high in relation to what wages are here. Something has to give somewhere.

 

Anyone that thinks that real estate doesn't go down should check with the Japanese! In the 80's the speculative real estate investors were slaughtered and it brought their entire economy to its knees for an entire decade. It all happened because the prices of real estate exceeded what the economy could support. When economic equalibriam was reestablished with the land values (Translation: prices fell) it brought the entire economy to a halt. They are still recovering.

Edited by Kahuna

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