Is there any governmental licensing in Costa Rica for real estate brokers and agents?

by Quatro Legal Real Estate Team | Nov 24, 2023 | Article, Real Estate

One of the biggest differences that exists between the Costa Rica real estate market and markets in the United States or Canada is that real estate agents and brokers do not require licensing and therefore are not subject to any supervision, governing bodies, or any type of formal training and/or certifications to practice. For this reason, it is usually said that anybody in Costa Rica can be a real estate agent and there is no shortage of stories from many foreigners and expats being approached by taxi drivers or tourist operators to buy property with them and who even go as far as to say that you do not need a real estate attorney as they know a guy. Red flag!

Based on this particularity, we always advice real estate buyers and sellers to do their research and choose to work with agents and brokers that have a track record, are experienced and knowledgeable about the market they practice in and that can provide information about the different pros and cons that a specific area may have and show listings and comparable for your review.
Below you will find a few tips for first time real estate investors looking for real estate agent or brokerage to work with:

Ask around to other expats. One of the best sources of information is to ask other foreign real estate investors that know the market and have worked with agents and brokerages for their own purchases. They will be able to explain their experience from a buyer or seller perspective and give you input full of facts; but also the feelings they had when they were in your position.

Surf the web for information. Even though you can’t trust everything you hear or read on the web, do your own due diligence. Look for information from real estate agents and brokers webpages, social media, see their listings, teams, and content. Look for online reviews and get a good idea of the market or markets they work in to be better prepared to interview or communicate with them when the time comes.

Interview for the job. Buying or selling real estate in Costa Rica is not a game; therefore, take all the precautions necessary. Interview as many real estate agents or brokers as if they were auditioning for the job of their life (because they are, at least from your perspective). Ask questions about their background, network, families, experience, track records, markets of expertise, etc. The more you know about someone, the more information you will have to decide.

Ask about memberships, certifications, and qualifications. Participating in the real estate market in Costa Rica can’t be taken lightly and even though it is not an activity that requires licensing, constant learning and understanding of real estate laws and practices is a must. Ask your candidates about their affiliation with Costa Rican or international real estate associations, courses, trainings, and academic experience. Always look for someone who is trying to improve and work on their craft.

Make them explain to you how buying or selling real estate works. Always look for someone that can explain difficult things in an easy manner. Pretty much like if you were a five-year-old. The real estate purchase and selling process in Costa Rica is very dynamic and full of moving parts and participants. Choose someone that can explain to you how the process of buying and selling property works, what due diligence entails and how to open an escrow account. Someone that can’t explain something, probably does not do it as much.

There are great real estate agents and brokerage firms in the Costa Rica, so make sure you choose the one the fits better with you.

For more information please fill out the courtesy e-meeting form at the bottom. We will be glad to assist you!

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