Costa Rica, known for its rainforests and breathtaking scenery, has captured the interest of many, including those who wish to invest in its estate. For Americans accustomed to the real estate market home, it can be confusing that familiar platforms like Zillow and Trulia don’t exist in Costa Rica. In the United States, these websites provide property information that helps buyers make decisions before reaching out to an agent. However, Costa Rica lacks a Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which can leave buyers feeling uncertain about where to start their property search.
In countries like the United States, Canada, and other regions, Multiple Listing Services (MLS) are operated by licensed real estate agents who register properties with their license numbers and affiliated brokerage firms. In Costa Rica, establishing a MLS has proven challenging despite some websites claiming to fill this gap. However, these claims are misleading due to the nature of Costa Rica’s real estate landscape. The country does not have standardized property addresses; instead, properties are identified using descriptions and Plano numbers.
Costa Rica’s real estate market is mainly overseen by brokerages, each curating their exclusive listings and sharing them with other brokerages. Some properties are not listed due to issues like access to utilities or legal title complications, which platforms like Zillow might overlook.
When foreigners look for real estate agents in Costa Rica, they often expect to work with licensed professionals in the U.S. Or Canada. However, unlike in those countries, licensing is not a requirement in Costa Rica. This absence of a licensing mandate creates a dynamic for buyers. It’s important to understand that Costa Rica’s real estate market is unique, with properties being built dream homes that are one of a kind. This uniqueness necessitates the expertise of agents who can accurately assess property values. An algorithm or automated tool cannot replicate the insights provided by an expert.
In contrast to the U.S., where realtors undergo training and licensing processes and typically work within established brokerage firms, Costa Rica has a real estate chamber called the “Camara de Corredores, de Bienes Raíces” that offers a course for realtors who choose to join it.
This elective course covers types of property in Costa Rica, basic training on sales techniques, and the procedures involved in closing property deals. However, it’s not mandatory to have a license in Costa Rica. Many real estate agents choose to take this course, especially if they already hold licenses in the U.S. Or Canada and intend to practice in Costa Rica. While having a license doesn’t guarantee honesty, reputable agents prioritize integrity because it is the thing to do, not because of regulatory requirements.
Regarding market analysis in Costa Rica, there is a difference compared to the U.S. In the U.S., sales prices are meticulously recorded in databases like Zillow; however, Costa Rica lacks a system for recording information accurately. As a result, the recorded tax value at property closings often differs significantly from the sales price. Nevertheless, experienced real estate agents in Costa Rica maintain databases containing precise property transaction information. They understand that each property in Costa Rica is unique and requires an explanation of costs. These professionals frequently release market reports that offer insights into the local real estate market and assist clients in making well-informed decisions.
In conclusion, while Zillow may be a tool for real estate purposes, in the U.S., it’s essential to recognize that Costa Rica’s real estate market operates differently. To ensure a property search, find a local real estate agent who comprehends the intricacies of this particular market.
A real estate agent can act as your Zillow, providing tailored information matching your property needs. If you would like to learn more about the market report for mid-year 2021, please feel free to contact our team.