Costa Rica FAQ Series – Habla Español?, Property Managers and Do I need a Realtor

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in EX PATS in Costa Rica, FAQ's, Newsletters, Tres Amigos Realty Group

Costa Rica FAQ Series – Habla Español?, Property Managers and Do I need a Realtor

Tank Tops Flip Flops Newsletter no. 226

Welcome to the 2nd installment of our Costa Rica FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Series, where we dive into the nitty-gritty of real estate and property investment and as always – life in Costa Rica.

First of all some great news!  Costa Rica is #1 in the world for the highest amount of Foriegn Direct Investment as a percentage of GDP.  Check out the article in Q Costa Rica for details.  qcostarica.com/costa-rica-is-first-in-the-world-in-direct-foreign-investment

Video 1:  Do I need to speak Spanish in Costa Rica?

Do you have to speak Spanish to live in Costa Rica?  Really the answer is no.  Costa Rica is very bilingual especially here at the beach where you find out that everybody speaks English and it is very easy to communicate.  But at the same token you’re coming to their country so you should go out of your way to learn some Spanish and again it’s fun.  There are many different ways to take Spanish lessons: You can do it privately where someone will come to your house and teach you Spanish in your own home, also many people do these small groups where maybe there’s four or five couples.  So, this week we have the lesson at my house, next week at your house, the week after that at Martha’s house and then afterwards we all celebrate we have some wine and cheese and hang out after our Spanish lesson.  There are schools here where you can go and take Spanish lessons in a more controlled environment but no you don’t need to worry about speaking Spanish coming down.  All the menus in the restaurants are in both English and Spanish and most of the grocery stores have North American products and if you can can’t read something there’s always somebody there that will help you.  My advice would be to take it upon yourself to learn Spanish so you can more fully enjoy this beautiful country.  You can always go to night school (wink, wink).

Video 2:  How to Choose a Good Property Manager in Costa Rica

Are there good property managers in Costa Rica?  Fortunately, I work with four or five phenomenal property management companies and they can help you with whatever you need.  There are different kinds of property managers and different kinds of property management companies.  If you want to rent your house there are property managers that specialize in big houses doing the whole Turn Key package right down to chefs cooking food in your house.  There are people that can manage your condominiums for you and help you rent your condominium and generate an income and then there are property managers that will just look after your home if you don’t want to rent your property.  A tremendous amount of my clients buy a property here and it’s their second home they don’t rent it – they don’t want anybody sleeping in their bed – and we have great property managers that can pay your bills, look after the house, fix any problems and take care of your piece of paradise so you can be stress-free not worrying about your house or your condominium down in Costa Rica.  I will introduce you to those people and we will make sure to find someone that’s going to take care of your investment.

Video 3:  Do I need a Realtor in Costa Rica?

Should I use a real estate agent to buy my property in Costa Rica?  That’s amazing anybody would even ask me that question!  You seriously are going to come down to another country where you have no idea of the laws, the rules and the regulations of this country and try to buy a property on your own?  You’re going to go to some for sale by owner sign on a tree and try to negotiate the property yourself.  No, no, no that is crazy – you absolutely 100% need a real estate agent to represent you in Costa Rica.  You need a seasoned real estate agent that works at a top real estate brokerage that has been here for years that knows the market.  My clients will tell you I talk them out of more properties than I’ve ever talked them into.   They ask me ‘what do you think about this?’ I tell them you want nothing to do with it,  ‘what about that development?’ I tell them to run away.  ‘What’s the issue here?’  There are many different issues that you need to be aware of:  zoning issues, water issues, easement issues, construction issues –  many different things that you can come across.  Remember we are in Latin America, we’re not in Canada okay.  There’s no zillow.com like there is in Fort Lauderdale where you can see every single property that’s for sale and everything that sold instantaneously at a click of a button.   There is no way you are going to know if a property is priced right – you have no idea unless you’re working with a seasoned real estate agent and a seasoned real estate company.  Even a new agent in my company knows more than any of the other companies in town because they’re able to ask the other agents in the office.  We have three full offices of Agents many of us have been in the business here 20 years or more so even a new agent in my office in one phone call can get an answer where another agent at another agency or an independent agent is not going to have any idea.  So when you ask them well what about this property and this property and that property they’re not able to tell you what you really need to know.  It’s very important that you’re working with an agent that understands the market and can steer you in the right direction to avoid the potholes and the pitfalls that can happen in Latin America because let’s face facts – you can go on the internet and read all about the horror stories and there’s a lot of them out there.  In all fairness people bought the Brooklyn Bridge and swamp land in Florida too so it happens all over the world so it’s important that you work with a trusted real estate agent who knows the market and knows the area that you want to buy.

Here is a BONUS VIDEO where I am interviewed by Andres Montejo about Real Estate and the Environment

Check out all of my Costa Rica Video FAQ’s here

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