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PuddinHead

Buying advice

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From a "newsletter" I get..

 

Here are a few tips on how to get (almost) local prices:

 

Avoid Local Real Estate Agents: To be able to buy at true local prices, you need to avoid the local real estate agents. Buy raw land through an agent, and I guarantee you you’re over-paying. Agents in emerging and unregulated markets know that, as a foreigner, your price perspective is skewed. Where you come from, land is generally far more expensive, so you’re happy to pay more than the going local rate. In your mind, you’re still getting a good deal.

 

Be Aware of the Agent’s Commission: The agent makes his money as a percentage of the sale, so, of course, his objective is to sell for the highest price possible. Don’t believe for an instant that he’s on your side. He’s on the side of the biggest commission.

 

Know Where to Shop: How do you navigate a purchase in an emerging market on your own? You shop for properties for sale by owner. Reading the local newspapers and driving around looking for “se vende” (for sale) signs is a good way to start. If the sign is in English, you can bet that the price is in Gringo. You’ll need to speak the local language or to have a friend who does and who is willing to make the calls for you.

 

Finding property for sale through the local paper or by driving around yields a better price than through a real estate agent, but it’s still not likely to get you a true “local price.”

 

Find a Trustworthy Scout: To dig to the next level, you’ll need to find a local you can trust...someone to act as a scout for you. Using a scout puts a buffer between you and the seller. That is to say, it eliminates the need for you ever to meet him...thus eliminating the risk of a higher asking price thanks to your foreign accent or skin color.

 

Your scout must speak directly with the owner...not the person living on the land. Make sure he understands the distinction, as the two are often different people. In the kinds of markets where we direct you, typically the land owners live in town and the land is occupied by tenants or employees.

 

You also want your scout to pin down an asking price...for obvious reasons...before you enter the conversation.

 

If you have a good and trustworthy scout, you’ll find that you’re able to purchase land at close to true local pricing. This is my friend’s secret...the reason he’s now able to buy land for a 60% discount from going Gringo rates.

 

The key to success at this game is patience. All this digging takes time. Best case is when the seller comes to you. If you ask a local if he wants to sell, you’re likely to get a positive response and an inflated price. You want the sellers to come to you.

 

That is to say, you want the sellers to come to your scout.

 

Which means he needs to get known. And that takes time.

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It is best not to try the "Do It Yourself" method. Some people, in trying to save some dollars in professional fees, avoid the work of finding a good consultant to perform proper due diligence that is in their favor. There is no yellow brick road in Costa Rica. Do your homework, just as you would do in the real world. Find professionals, whom you can communicate with, and stay with them for as long as they continue to provide good work. Good luck!

 

Before closing on a property that you intend to build on, you need to make absolutely certain that you'll be able to obtain a building permit for your construction plans. Do not rely on the opinion of the seller or sales agent concerning the ease of obtaining permits. This is technical advice that they are not qualified to provide.

 

Hire an unbiased professional to make certain the property has sufficient water, electricity, telephone and drainage. Consider his services as inexpensive insurance that can save you a lot of money and grief down the road. Don't rely on the seller's opinion that these services are obtainable.

 

Many purchasers find out too late that the cost to bring the utilities to their property ends up costing far more than they were told. It's little surprises like this that can end up costing you a bundle and ultimately depletes the funds you originally budgeted for the construction of your dwelling.

Edited by TicoGrande

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If you speak the language and have months and months to spend driving around, talking to people and if you can find a "scout" to help you out, you may find a really good deal. Or not.

 

If you don't have all that time to spend, you can do well by finding some of the better real estate agents (who charge a fair commission not an exorbitant one) and dealing with them.

 

As to electricity and water, it's pretty easy to see if you have it or not. Look for the electrical meter and the water valve. The owner can show you where it is. If it isn't there, then where is the next closest one? It can cost thousands of dollars to bring it in from a kilometer or so, so factor that into your "Good deal".

 

Have the title checked out thoroughly by a trusted expert attorney. Do NOT trust the quick internet check that some attorneys and realtors do. The "quick internet check" does not always find the liens and problems that the land has along with it, which can only be found by going to the back room of the land office in San Jose' and digging around. A good attorney will do this work before avising his client the property is safe to buy.

 

Pinning down a price is not that easy, scout or no scout. Many Ticos will raise the price from what they originally quoted after thinking about it awhile and hearing their neighbors' stories about the high price some gringo paid for HIS land down the road (never mind that the other land has much better views, better access, better features...)

 

If the land has the utilities, good access, and is being offered at a fair market value based on YOUR DILIGENT RESEARCH into prices in the area, and your attorney says the title is good, then buy it.

 

 

From a "newsletter" I get..

 

Here are a few tips on how to get (almost) local prices:

 

Avoid Local Real Estate Agents: To be able to buy at true local prices, you need to avoid the local real estate agents. Buy raw land through an agent, and I guarantee you you’re over-paying. Agents in emerging and unregulated markets know that, as a foreigner, your price perspective is skewed. Where you come from, land is generally far more expensive, so you’re happy to pay more than the going local rate. In your mind, you’re still getting a good deal.

 

Be Aware of the Agent’s Commission: The agent makes his money as a percentage of the sale, so, of course, his objective is to sell for the highest price possible. Don’t believe for an instant that he’s on your side. He’s on the side of the biggest commission.

 

Know Where to Shop: How do you navigate a purchase in an emerging market on your own? You shop for properties for sale by owner. Reading the local newspapers and driving around looking for “se vende” (for sale) signs is a good way to start. If the sign is in English, you can bet that the price is in Gringo. You’ll need to speak the local language or to have a friend who does and who is willing to make the calls for you.

 

Finding property for sale through the local paper or by driving around yields a better price than through a real estate agent, but it’s still not likely to get you a true “local price.”

 

Find a Trustworthy Scout: To dig to the next level, you’ll need to find a local you can trust...someone to act as a scout for you. Using a scout puts a buffer between you and the seller. That is to say, it eliminates the need for you ever to meet him...thus eliminating the risk of a higher asking price thanks to your foreign accent or skin color.

 

Your scout must speak directly with the owner...not the person living on the land. Make sure he understands the distinction, as the two are often different people. In the kinds of markets where we direct you, typically the land owners live in town and the land is occupied by tenants or employees.

 

You also want your scout to pin down an asking price...for obvious reasons...before you enter the conversation.

 

If you have a good and trustworthy scout, you’ll find that you’re able to purchase land at close to true local pricing. This is my friend’s secret...the reason he’s now able to buy land for a 60% discount from going Gringo rates.

 

The key to success at this game is patience. All this digging takes time. Best case is when the seller comes to you. If you ask a local if he wants to sell, you’re likely to get a positive response and an inflated price. You want the sellers to come to you.

 

That is to say, you want the sellers to come to your scout.

 

Which means he needs to get known. And that takes time.

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If you see along with the power cable a telephone line going right past the property do not, and I really mean do not presume that you can easily get a phone line!!!

There are only so many lines available and these are probably already been assigned so you may have to wait a year or two or three or...

Edited by costaricafinca

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If you see along with the power cable a telephone line going right past the property do not, and I really mean do not presume that you can easily get a phone line!!!

There are only so many lines available and these are probably already been assigned so you may have to wait a year or two or three or...

 

Right. But if it's just for communication - not for internet - then you can probably get a cell phone that will work there.

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