10 things you should know when buying Tamarindo real estate
Pt. 2: Finding a Realtor
In our last article, we discussed the Costa Rican legal system and discussed how it differs from the U.S. system. A little research coupled with a communicative Notario (Costa Rican lawyer qualified to transfer real property) will help you navigate the legal aspects of buying Tamarindo real estate. However, buying a primary residence or vacation home in a foreign country involves a lot of new information. An experienced realtor can help focus your home search, inform you of peculiarities of a particular property and help you find a great deal. In this second installment of our ten-part series, we will discuss how you should prepare for your realtor search, including the qualities you should look for in a realtor.
Costa Rica does not have licensing requirements for realtors. This means anyone may call himself or herself a realtor, and there are no formal training or educational requirements. While the lack of licensing requirements is naturally concerning, rest assured that there are many reputable experienced real estate professionals ready to help you. Some agents have formed voluntary associations with education and training requirements as well as ethical codes of conduct. One of the largest such organizations is the Costa Rican Global Association of Realtors (CRGAR).
While affiliation with such an organization is a positive sign, what you are really after is an experienced knowledgeable agent with the time and energy to help you in your home search. In order for an agent to help you, you will have to be ready to answer some questions. Here is how to prepare:
Know What You Want
Have an idea of what you are looking to buy. Do you want a condo, a house or an undeveloped property? Do you need to be on the beach? Do you need an ocean view? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Do you have a square foot minimum or maximum? Most realtors have hundreds of listings. Driving around viewing properties is not an efficient way to begin your search. A good place to start is to consider how you will use your property. If you plan on buying an income property that you use for vacation two weeks and rent the rest of the year, do you really need a yard or garage? While everyone dreams of living on the beach, a home directly on the beach may cost you fifty to one hundred percent more than a similar property a few minutes walk away. Knowing the parameters of your search will save both you and your agent time and frustration.
Know Your Budget
You need to give your realtor some financial parameters in which to conduct their search. Be realistic. Realtors know that most buyers will stretch if they find them the perfect property. If you are concerned about going over budget, leave yourself a margin for that property that is just outside of the top end of your budget.
Research The Area
While this was a much more challenging task in the past, today you have the Internet, YouTube videos and the blogosphere to help guide you. Local blogs are a great way to get an insider view of what is going on in Costa Rica in general and Tamarindo in particular. Most bloggers want to share their experience. That is why they are blogging. Use them as another source for collecting information, but as with all investigation, you should consider the source.
Now that you have done your research and set your parameters, you are ready to find your realtor.
Just as there are no licensing requirements for realtors in Costa Rica, there is also no official multiple listing service (MLS). While some of the voluntary realtor associations have MLS systems, they are not as comprehensive as such systems in the U.S. This is where local knowledge is vital. You will want an agent with a high sale rate so that they will have access to comparable sales in the area that you want to buy. In addition, your realtor is a great resource for referrals for lawyers, decorators, moving companies and other parties involved in the purchase process.
Word of Mouth
If possible you would like to work with an agent recommended to you by someone you trust. You will receive an objective opinion on the realtor’s work as well as their strengths and weaknesses. If you don’t know anyone who has purchased a home here, then ask around. Tamarindo is a friendly place and locals love to talk. Make sure you speak with someone who has recently purchased a home. Push for details on the transaction. It will be time well spent. If you accept referrals from a prospective agent, ask for two referrals from a transaction that closed in the last six months. Also, ask the person giving the referral their relation to the realtor they are referring.
Make A Call
Once you have the name of a realtor you are considering as your agent, make a call. Ask to set up an appointment to meet with them. During your call ask them a few questions about the area or home buying process, including a question to which you already know the answer. You want an agent who is knowledgeable, patient and able to answer your questions to your satisfaction. You are going to be depending on this person to lead your home search. You want to feel comfortable communicating with them.
Meet The Agent
This is where you will judge whether the agent is the realtor with whom you wish to work. As you have researched the Tamarindo area and have a good idea of your parameters, you can have a meaningful dialogue about Tamarindo real estate. If at the end of the meeting you do not feel confident that this is the person you want to lead your home search, you are better off looking for a different agent.
A knowledgeable local realtor is a vital component of any Tamarindo real estate search. In addition to finding the right property for you, they will guide you through the purchase process. Follow the steps outlined above to ensure that you not only find a competent realtor but also someone that will help you enjoy the process.
PPV Tamarindo Real Estate is an Eco-conscious, residential Ocean View community located on Costa Rica’s beautiful Pacific Coast. Our development offers more luxury than you would ever expect at an affordable price. Our development is close to beautiful beaches; offers Ocean View Condos; lots offering panoramic Ocean views; and affordable tropical residential lots.