One of the Biggest Mistakes Made When Purchasing Real Estate in Costa Rica

One of the Biggest Mistakes Made When Purchasing Real Estate in Costa Rica

One of the Biggest Mistakes Made When Purchasing Real Estate in Costa Rica

The Vital Role of Choosing the Right Realtor in Costa Rica

I get it you are excited to buy your piece of Costa Rica, so you jump online and start shopping, it makes sense.  So then you probably end up seeing a beautiful property that peaks your interest and you inquire, seems like the logical step right?  Wrong, this is when it can quickly go south.  That inquiry or multiple inquiries leads to someone following up to help you more, but what if the person who followed up to you isn't viable, or knowledgeable, or looking out for your best interests?  This is what most people simply don't understand in Costa Rica.  The LISTING DOES NOT DICTATE WHO YOU HAVE TO WORK WITH, YOU the client makes that decision.  Yes, you choose who will assist you with all of the hand-holding with the transaction including the guidance, the education and the negotiation of the purchase.  Just like an attorney, you have the right to choose who represents you in a sale in Costa Rica, whether the listing is with another office, whether it is a new development, you choose.   And don't worry, the selling side handles sales commission, there is no cost to you, it is just shared between 2 agents when a buyers agent is involved.

Cash market, hundreds of thousands of dollars, a foreign country, wow, don't you think you might want to take your time and shop around to decide who you are going to choose to help you with such a big decision rather than simply working with someone that followed up to your inquiry?  

Selecting the right realtor cannot be overstated. The choice of a real estate agent can profoundly impact the success, ease, and satisfaction of your property venture. Here's why:

Local Expertise and Market Knowledge

Navigating the Costa Rican real estate landscape requires more than just a cursory understanding of listings. A seasoned realtor brings invaluable local expertise and deep market knowledge to the table. They are familiar with the nuances of different regions, from the bustling beach towns of Guanacaste to the serene mountain retreats of the Central Valley.

An experienced realtor can guide you through the various legalities, zoning regulations, and property ownership structures unique to Costa Rica. This knowledge not only ensures a smoother transaction process but also helps you make informed decisions aligned with your investment goals.

Access to Listings

The best properties in Costa Rica often never make it to the public market. They are quietly passed along through professional networks and exclusive channels. This is where a reputable realtor shines, offering access to a treasure trove of off-market listings that match your preferences.

By partnering with a well-connected real estate agent, you increase your chances of discovering hidden gems—properties that perfectly align with your vision but may not be visible to the general buyer.

Negotiation Skills and Advocacy

Property transactions involve intricate negotiations, from price haggling to contract terms. A skilled realtor acts as your advocate, tirelessly working to secure the best deal on your behalf. They understand local market trends, property values, and the art of negotiation, ensuring that you get the most value for your investment.

Moreover, in a foreign market like Costa Rica, where language and cultural differences may pose challenges, having a realtor proficient in English and Spanish can bridge communication gaps and prevent misunderstandings.

Legal and Administrative Support

Buying real estate in a foreign country comes with a host of legal and administrative tasks. From title searches and due diligence to contract reviews and closing procedures, the process can be daunting without the right guidance.

A reputable realtor in Costa Rica acts as your ally throughout these stages, recommending trusted legal professionals, overseeing paperwork, and ensuring compliance with local regulations. This level of support not only streamlines the buying process but also safeguards your interests every step of the way.

Long-Term Relationship and Continued Assistance

The relationship with your realtor doesn't end at the closing table. A reliable real estate agent in Costa Rica offers ongoing support, serving as a valuable resource even after you've acquired your property. They can recommend reputable property managers, contractors for renovations, or even assist with rental management if you choose to generate income from your investment.

Additionally, should you decide to sell or upgrade in the future, having an established relationship with a trusted realtor simplifies the process. They already understand your preferences, investment history, and goals, making subsequent transactions more efficient and tailored to your needs.


In the captivating realm of Costa Rican real estate, choosing the right realtor is not just a matter of convenience—it's a strategic investment in the success of your property venture. From expert market insights to exclusive listings, skilled negotiation, and ongoing support, a reputable real estate agent in Costa Rica offers a wealth of benefits that can make all the difference.

Whether you're dreaming of a beachfront villa, a serene mountain retreat, or a bustling urban condo, the guidance of a knowledgeable realtor ensures that your Costa Rican property journey is not only fulfilling but also financially sound. So, before embarking on your real estate adventure in this tropical paradise, take the time to select a realtor who understands your vision, values, and aspirations. The right choice can be the difference between a safe and secure investment or potentially a nightmare in paradise.  

Written by David Karr

Originally from Washington State (Go Cougs), David Karr is the owner of the Coldwell Banker franchise in Jaco, Costa Rica. With nearly 20 years of experience, David takes a different approach to Costa Rica real estate, focusing on educating clients about the market, navigating them through pitfalls, and focusing as a buyers agent to make sure clients are presented with all options. If you are looking for an expert in Costa Rica real estate be sure to contact him today.  US Direct 509.855.7457 or in Costa Rica 506.8718.7216

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I have been traveling to CR over the past 18 years. My dream was to own a secondary property in CR and on my past trip in Jaco, David made that dream come true. We only had two days to meet with David, he lead us on the right path, listened to our demands and wants, found us the right property and 30 days later, he got the deal done. I could not be happier with his services and our new friendship. Not only did he find us the right "play", but he helped with property management, construction/remodeling aspects, and his wife Melissa is an absolute gem, and they our a great team when is comes to design and remodeling consultants. I highly recommend David for his services, professionalism, and honesty If your interested in buying real estate in CR, please connect with him and you won't be disappointed!
R Seymour, Wisconsin

As a prospective buyer, I consulted with David regarding the local property market, potential challenges as an international second home buyer, as well as specific property details and closing process. David also connected me with his network of professionals such as real estate lawyer. A typical realtor will focus on closing the deal. What sets David apart is truly a consultative trust based approach whereby I felt totally comfortable in the advice and guidance I was getting. I always felt that David has my interest above and beyond his own commercial interest. I truly believe having David on your side is a great start for any prospective buyer or seller.

R, Kabra

Meg Berns does much more than just sell houses, She takes the time to listen and understand the needs as well as the dreams of potential buyers and makes sure the properties she shows tick all the boxes. Moreover, long after our purchase was finalized, Meg continued to support us by introducing us to property managers who will host our home as a vacation rental when we're not in it and helped us make other community connections to enhance our time when we are here. We would strongly recommend Meg as your real estate agent -- her level of service was way above any other we experienced. She's knowledgeable, operates with a high degree of integrity and genuinely cares about the well being and happiness of her clients.

Margaret Eaton, Costa Rica

Once I contacted David Karr about buying a house in Costa Rica, he never gave up. When we arrived in Costa Rica, he had made arrangements to meet with Chris and Joy Gillard since David was out of town. Believe me! They listened and found us our dream home! Chris and Joy were more than realtors, they have so much knowledge about Costa Rica and we now consider them our friends.
I’m so glad they took us seriously and stayed in touch! Thank you so much for continued advice and assistance after the sale! We couldn’t have done this without this team!’

Vonda Chancey, Costa Rica
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