Costa Rican real estate got a boost last week when 17 real estate professionals representing the United States, England, Canada, Korea, Brazil, and Costa Rica attended a week-long event in Tamarindo.
This was a training event sponsored by the Costa Rica Global Association of Realtors. The program also included tours of available property to give visitors an idea of availability and price range.
Such special gatherings help put the country back on the map and in the minds of those who sell property to buyers in the United States and other parts of the world. “I had no idea Costa Rica was such a powerful destination. I’m coming back, and soon,” one broker from Austin, Texas, said,
The course, called Certified Independent Property Specialist, covered an in-depth look at the real estate markets in the United States, Europe, Asia and Central and South America. It also included the transaction tools necessary to work in an international world: The metric system, currency exchange, taxes, visas, and how to use these numbers for profitable decision-making.
David and Patsy Wyant, an experienced instructional team from Ormond Beach, Florida, worked to provide students with a first-class learning experience.
The association combined a yearly fundraiser for local community projects like Sardinal’s Elder Care Center and Surf for Youth and the other groups it supports with the training courses.
The Global Association of Realtors has as part of its mission trying to professionalize the business here. Costa Rica has no licensing, and many who claim to be real estate brokers are not even residents. So they might not even be around when their customers need them.
In addition, there are many sad tales of property thefts, the sale of unbuildable lots via the Internet and even straight-out theft by lawyers and real estate operators. Among other problems, Costa Rica does not have a law that creates and regulates escrow accounts.
There is nothing worse for Costa Rica’s reputation than having honest people hoodwinked out of their life savings by unscrupulous, unlicensed, and otherwise nasty individuals calling themselves real estate agents. That is why the Global Association of Realtors seeks to promote standards.
A lawyer announced a major step Friday in Tamarindo. It was bad news for real estate
people using the association’s name and logo without permission.
Allen Lungo, who helped organize the training, said association volunteers will monitor the Internet very closely and when they find a violator, someone saying they are part of the organization when they are not, a nice request would be made to terminate the violation.
“This could include making an application for membership for qualified applicants. However, if nice doesn’t work, the association’s legal team will take over,” he said.
Linda Gray, vice president of Coldwell Banker, had a dream some 12 years ago. She believed Costa Rica needed more global real estate exposure and strong emphases on ethics and professionalism. Ms. Gray was responsible for obtaining an alliance with the National Association of Realtors in the United States. Lungo, the current board president, is doing his best to further her vision.
The battle has been uphill, mostly because there are two associations for real estate brokers in Costa Rica. The other is the Camara Costarricense de Corredores de Bienes Raices.
Most people in real estate in Costa Rica agree, the market bottomed in 2012 and started to turn around in 2013 and looks positive for the future. The sizzling market of 2005 is long gone, and it did go kaboom as expected but is now improving quickly.
Garland M. Baker is a 44-year resident and naturalized citizen of Costa Rica who provides multidisciplinary professional services to the international community. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Baker has undertaken the research leading to these series of articles in conjunction with A.M. Costa Rica. Find the collection at http://crexpertise.info, a complimentary reprint is available at the end of each article. Copyright 2014, use without permission prohibited.