So you’ve decided to list your property. Now what…?
Selling your property in Costa Rica is an involved process. Before you begin this process, you'll want to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information and documentation ready. When should you sell? How do you get the best price? What kinds of renovations should be made prior to the sale? The questions to ask here are the same ones you would ask any time you plan on selling a piece of property.
A REALTOR® will assist you in answering the many questions that arise during the sales process. When you're armed with the right information and the support of an experienced real estate professional, you'll be closer to reaching your goal – which is selling your property for the best price possible.
This is even more important if you happen to live outside of Costa Rica.
COMMON MISTAKES SELLERS MAKE
Learn the top selling mistakes people make and what steps you can take to avoid them.
Over-pricing the property
Not having the paperwork in order
Thinking that the property will sell immediately
Not repairing the things that are in need of repair
Not arranging with the property manager to gain access on short notice if possible
WOO YOUR BUYER
Remember what first attracted you to your property when you bought it? What excited you the most? Now that you've decided to sell, you'll need to look at it as if you were buying it all over again. A buyer has to feel the same way you did.
MAKING IT THROUGH THE SALE PROCESS UNSCATHED
Getting a good price for your home is important but minimizing stress and simplifying the selling process can be just as essential. Having your paperwork, title information, corporation documents and books in order and all bills paid will ensure that that sale can happen smoothly and without any delay.
Costa Rica's top real estate agents have great websites, extensive networks and word-of-mouth referrals – just the tools you will need to sell your home. As a member of the Costa Rica Global Association of REALTORS®, we have the training and experience to get the job done.
PRICING YOUR UNIT
When you’re selling your property, the price you set is a critical factor in the return you’ll receive. Selling your home for top dollar is all about beating the competition. You'll need to hire a good real estate team, prepare your property for sale and work on having the strengths of your property sell itself.
Costa Rica doesn’t have a centralized Multiple Listing Service (MLS) like the US and the Canadian systems.
If you have bought or sold a home in the US or Canada, you may have had access to previously sold properties similar to yours. That information helps you to determine what price you should list your unit at. Without the same type of MLS system in Costa Rica you would be wise to use the help of a real estate agent to help you come up with a fair market value.
Take some time to search the Internet for comparable properties but keep in mind that not all websites in Costa Rica are accurate and up to date.
CURRENT CONDITION OF YOUR PROPERTY
A well-maintained home and property will always appeal to more buyers. If your property is in need of some renovations, make sure you address these before trying to sell. Simple touches like a new coat of paint, or something as simple as a good cleaning can have a positive effect on how potential buyers view your home.
Take inventory of any and all renovations and improvements you've made to your home, such as upgraded tile, kitchen countertops, paint, lighting, and fixtures. Put a monetary value on your upgrades. Talk with your listing agent(s) about the improvements and their value and don't hesitate to leave a detailed list of improvements for potential buyers. Prepare an inventory of the items that will be sold with the unit if it comes furnished. This saves time once an offer is on the table.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
"Location, location, location" – the real estate mantra. If you're in a good location, whether it be an upscale neighborhood or an up-and-coming area of town, emphasize the benefits of where you live. Are you just a few minutes to private schools, the main street where all of the shops and restaurants are, the airport or a hospital? Does your neighborhood have shared amenities, like a pool or clubhouse? The more livable your area, the more valuable your property especially when your buyer is looking for that tropical lifestyle.
STAGING AND SHOWING YOUR PROPERTY
Staging your home is an integral aspect of making a quick sale. Stay organized, and always keep clutter behind closed doors. Make your home attractive to everyone. Create a welcoming atmosphere. Your property manager can arrange to do this or ask your agent to take time to make sure all is in order before any showing.
STRATEGIES GOING FORWARD
If you've tried it all and your home still hasn't sold, it's time to re-think the plan. Consider upgrading some of the accessories to make your place more appealing or offer a bonus to potential buyer’s agents. You may want to post your agent’s listing on your own Facebook or Twitter. The main thing is to get the information out there for the buyer to find it. Find forums to place your listing for free. Most of your competition won't go the extra mile and these strategies will help your home stand out from the pack.
SELLING WHEN YOU DON’T LIVE IN COSTA RICA
If you're selling a Costa Rican property while living in another country, a good real estate agent is extremely important. As always, hire someone you trust and who has excellent communication skills, especially via email. Talk to your agent about staging your property; small changes can really make a difference. Hire a reputable landscaper/gardener and cleaning service to conduct regular upkeep – curb appeal and first impressions are very important, and you won't be around to assure these for yourself.
To handle legal matters, it may be necessary to assign power of attorney to a lawyer, family member or trustworthy friend who lives in Costa Rica. This individual will act as your legal representative for all purposes granted by the power of attorney: the right to sign legal documents on your behalf, access to utility accounts in your name, and other necessities of property management and the eventual sale of your home.