How Do You Know You Have a “REAL-tor” in Costa Rica

Coldwell Banker Pacific Realty | 24th June 2024 | Share
How Do You Know You Have a “REAL-tor” in Costa Rica

Navigating the vibrant real estate market in Costa Rica can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. The appeal of tropical landscapes, diverse ecosystems, and a laid-back lifestyle attracts many to this Central American paradise. As you find yourself ready to purchase your dream property, how can you be sure you’ve partnered with a genuine, trustworthy realtor. In this blog, we will unravel the key indicators that signify you've found a "REAL-tor" – someone who brings authentic expertise, integrity, and local insight to your property search in Costa Rica.


They work for an agency.

We see many people in the area hawking properties. Your local taxi driver will likely offer a ton of properties on your way from the airport, a surfer buddy might try to sell you his amazing beach-front lot, or even the guy you bought a cold coconut from, well, he probably has something more to sell you too. A REAL-tor will be working for or own a brokerage here in Costa Rica, with a website, social media presence, or the sales to prove it. Moral of the story is, we strongly advise that you don’t buy a property from a jack of all trades, even if it sounds like a good deal.


They are affiliated with real estate organizations.

There are two major chambers of REAL-tors here in Costa Rica: CRGAR – Costa Rica Global Association of Realtors and CCCBR – Camara Costarricense de Corredores de Bienes Raices. Your REAL-tor will be a member of at least one of them. It is important to note that both of these organizations requires that applicants be residents or citizens of Costa Rica, assuring that they are working in the country legally. Furthermore, they might be a member in CILA, FIABCI, or one of the many other international real estate organizations. A top notch REAL-tor will have a membership with NAR – National Association of Realtors in the U.S.A, a membership which requires that your REAL-tor abide by the normal standard of ethics that, not only are you are accustomed to, but you most definitely deserve.


They show up in a clean car they own.

Ok, ok, ok. Sure, there are two seasons here…dust and mud. Your REAL-tor may have the outside of their car dirty with either of the aforementioned, but the inside of the car is prepped and clean for you. You shouldn’t have to sit in their kids spilled potato chips or wait for them to get their surf gear out of the way to get into the car! You also shouldn’t hop on the back of any motorcycles on the way to showings. A REAL-tor is always gassed up and ready to go!


They live in Costa Rica full time.

Did your REAL-tor mention that they come here for winters and then travel back to their home country for summers? How are they able to keep on top of what is happening in the real estate market if they aren’t here all year round? If their daily focus isn’t making sure they are on top of trends, comps, new listings, and you, then you should start looking elsewhere! There is no standardized MLS or Zillow type services in Costa Rica so REAL-tors here really have to be on top of their game to ensure that you are getting the best buy for your hard-earned money.


They are legal residents and active in the community.

By moving to a new country, you are making a big investment and changing your lifestyle immensely; Why would you work with an agent in your home country promoting a handful of listings in Costa Rica? Do they know anything about Costa Rican real estate law or what the lifestyle looks like? Almost all of the career oriented REAL-tors we know are active in their community. They volunteer in beach cleanups, are members of non-profit organizations, and should definitely be able to tell you where to get the best “casado” in town. A great real estate agent is going to represent your best interests even after you are settled into your new home.

Side note: Outside of referrals, if a real estate agent is promoting listings and selling them from your home country, they are essentially working in Costa Rica illegally.


They are interested in showing you all listings.

Your REAL-tor makes money from selling you real estate and it’s no secret that they can make much more from selling you their exclusive listings, however, a REAL-tor is really interested in seeing you reach your goals first, not theirs. They should always show you not only his companies’ exclusive listings, but other agencies exclusives that are ‘For Sale by Owner’ as well.


They have a list of quality lawyers.

We often hear from clients “my lawyer just never gets back to me”. Well, your career oriented REAL-tor has likely worked with a 100 or more lawyers over the years. They should have a list whittled down to a select few that they work with personally and professionally because they focus on real estate law, and actually get back to their clients!


They are committed to your needs.

Your REAL-tor should always be committed to you. Unlike other places, in Costa Rica, your relationship with your REAL-tor is just beginning at sale. Most often than not, your entrusted REAL-tor will become your friendly neighbor who you will count on for a host of needs. Who can help me fix my air conditioner? Where can I buy the freshest ceviche? When does rainy season start again? Is it normal for the electricity to go out this much? (Short answer: Yes).


Real estate in Costa Rica can be easy or very complicated depending on the type of property you are looking for. You should definitely grill your perspective agent prior to making a commitment to them to ensure that you have an actual REAL-tor. Most importantly, you should work with just that realtor who will represent you from start to finish, as working with multiple agents is a big no no. Finally, once you feel confident with your decision, you can sit back, relax, and get ready for your journey in paradise to begin.


Sign Up For Property Alerts