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Private Sale or Property Agent?

When you're selling your property in Costa Rica, which is best, getting a Realtor in, or selling the place yourself?


This is an interesting dilemma facing anyone with a house to sell in Costa Rica, and other places too. Property Agent or Private Sale?

Property Agents in Costa Rica typically charge 5% of the value of the property, but this doesn't necessarily mean you'll get 5% less money. (See The Camelot Assumption for an explanation of this). The property agent may be able to sell your property at a higher price if they are good, and they could conceivably get 5% more than you in a private sale. This is what you hope if you get a property agent to do the job.

My own take on this is that you need to find a realtor (estate agent) you can trust, someone you are confident will try their utmost to get the best price for you. You are the Vendor, and your property agent works for YOU. That is the professional ethic. Some agents are professionals who will work for their vendors to get the best prices, and it is to be hoped they can do better than an amateur sign with "Se Vende" / "For Sale" on the front of the building. However, you have to be careful because some agents try to sell off as many places as possible at any old price, which isn't what you want.

Well, it isn't if you're selling. Might be good if you are buying, though!

To get a good appraisal of the style of the agent/realtor, here's a good test: Imagine you were going to sell the place yourself. How much would you expect to get? How much would you hope to get? Now ask the property agent how much they think they can get? If the answer is 10% higher, and you believe them, you may be onto a good thing. After all, you are trying to maximise the amount of money you will get.

On the other hand, you may feel that you have more control if you sell the property yourself. People who are scared of flying are often not so afraid when they are piloting the plane! It's a matter of control. But before you get some paint and a piece of wood and nail it to a tree, consider this: If you put an advertisement in the Costa Rica Real Estate Classified site Encuentra24.com, you might do very well. This is especially of interest if you are selling a house in Costa Rica but your lingo is English. The resource caters for English-speaking folks in Costa Rica, and they tend to be expats, some of them wealthy expats! These could be your customers.

I am quite impressed at the fact you can put a free ad in and see how that goes, and then upgrade it to a specially promoted priority ad if you feel like paying $25 (twenty five dollars) for example. Such amounts pale into insignificance in relation to the 5% of the value which you would have paid to the realtor, but then again, are you going to get the required amount? Maybe you will. However, you won't find out unless you give it a try, and it's not as if you're in a desperate rush to sell. Plus, how much are you gambling?

You could afford to put an ad in Encuentra24 and see if the place sells "like hot cakes", and then if it does, great! And if not, you still have the option to try some Costa Rica Property Agents. In a way you can have it both ways, as if you can have your hot cake AND eat it.

I wish you luck selling your place! Costa Rica is a tax haven which many people are keen to emigrate to. It's not just a matter of avoiding tax. It's the freedom. Freedom from the bureaucracy and paperwork and unnecessary rules which some countries have! In Costa Rica, they just don't bother with that sort of thing!

Of course now you've got to decide whether to put the price of the house in Dollars or Colones. I think I'd go for Dollars myself.Encuentra24

These things are just my opinion. Those kind people at Encuentra24 (Encuentra Viente Cuatro) have shown me something of which I wasn't initially aware, and I think it's only fair to let you know.