Real Estate in Santa Teresa and Mal Pais Costa Rica
Properties in Mal Pais, Santa Teresa, Playa Hermosa and Manzanillo
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Costa Rica Real Estate Guide

Real Estate Agents

In Costa Rica, there is little governmental regulation of the real estate industry. However, a knowledgeable real estate expert will be invaluable in helping you with many aspects of your purchase. In general, a good real estate agent performs a more critical role than stateside agents as the system in Costa Rica is far less sophisticated. There are no formal escrow companies, mortgage companies or banks that assist in the process. Attorneys will often use an escrow company to hold and distribute funds. Since Mal Pais, Santa Teresa, Hermosa and Manzanillo real estate is a distance from San Jose, sometimes it is helpful to get a local attorney to check the property. We often recommend a combination of a San Jose lawyer and a local lawyer.

In some ways, this puts more responsibility on the real estate agent. For example, all listings must be thoroughly researched before a property can even be considered, especially in rural areas. In some cases, a real estate agent will not only show you property, but also work directly with the lawyer, the surveyor, the property owner, the registry, and follow up on a host of details until the transaction is completed. The real estate agent may represent both the buyer and seller so that when it’s time to draw up the sale document, all issues are discussed and agreed upon before closing a transaction. The real estate agent’s commission is normally paid by the seller, but in some cases the buyer and seller may split the commission if agreed to in advance.

Beware of people off the street: bartenders, taxi drivers, hotel owners, etc. (Costa Ricans AND foreigners) that offer to sell you property. They have no sense of real estate as a business and the attraction of a commission from the seller may outweigh their concern for the protection of the parties. There are many properties in Costa Rica where ownership rights are unclear, borders are undefined or contain hidden conflicts of one sort or another. Getting a lawyer is not enough. A knowledgeable field agent that knows the area and the history of the property will not only show you qualified properties, but will help work out many issues before it’s time to finalize the details with a lawyer. A good agent will also help educate you so you can make an informed decision.

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