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Talk the Talk – WALK THE WALK – How to choose a Real Estate Agent in Costa Rica

Chris Spears

Look at these questions and imagine yourself asking them of a prospective Real Estate Agent in Costa Rica.

  • Have you ever built a house in Costa Rica?
  • Have you ever visited the Municipality and applied for building permits?
  • Have you ever met with contractors and negotiated prices?
  • Not only looking for the lowest price from the contractor, but also looking for and knowing how to get the balance between price and quality?
  • Do you own a house in Costa Rica (or houses), or do you rent?
  • Have you ever remodeled a kitchen or bathroom here?
  • Do you own an income producing rental property?
  • How do you market your rental property? How much experience do you have with an Architect in Costa Rica?


All of these questions and more are the questions you, the investor, should / will ask of your real estate agent. You are a smart, intelligent, prudent investor, which is the reason you have money to invest in Costa Rica.  You want to use the best, right?

This is a serious point. This is not to be taken lightly. Who you are using to help you invest thousands of dollars in a foreign country is the first decision and probably the most important decision you will make during this process.

Why do I bring this up? There are many reasons and I am going to mention a few in this article and then I will mention the rest when we meet in person. Here is a good example that I see every couple months:

I have a listing for a great property, and the kitchen and bathroom really need to be updated.  Another real estate agent calls and makes an appointment to show the property I have listed. We all meet at the property, the other agent, the couple that are looking to invest their money and myself.

First thing the client sees when they walk in? That kitchen, it needs to be remodeled! It’s hideous! During the showings, when it’s the client of another agent, I try and say as little as possible out of respect for the other agent, unless they ask for my input.

Then I hear the typical conversation between the agent and client: Uhh… I hate this kitchen, (the husband says to his wife) then the wife says: “The bathrooms are really dated also”. Then the agent chimes in: “No problem, we will have someone come in and change out that kitchen for you…  “Three – four thousand dollars and you can have custom, exotic hardwood cabinets with beautiful granite countertops”… And the wife says to the agent, “I hate the bathrooms”… Agent again says, “No problem, a couple thousand bucks and you can have your dream bathroom, getting work done in Costa Rica is cheap!”

Now at this point, I am just listening. As the clients walk away to see the rest of the property, I start chatting with the agent…I ask the agent: “Hey, where do you live?” response? “Oh, over there in such and such condos”.. (Lowest priced rental condo in the whole area) “Oh, do you own a condo there?” – “No just renting”…

Then I ask, have you ever built a house here in Costa Rica?  Ever negotiated with contractors? Have you ever filed for building permits? Which architect do you like use?….The point is this: When that agent says: “For $3,000 - $4,000 you can get an awesome kitchen”! You, the intelligent investor immediately know one of two things:

Either he is lying or he has never built anything, both of which have no business being a part of your team!  You are a winner and you want winners on your team! You are wasting your time with this agent!  All of this time wasted could have been avoided had the questions I mentioned above been asked.

If you’re going to talk the talk, you must WALK THE WALK!

My name is Chris Spears. I have built three houses here in Costa Rica; have two rental properties, with which I generate great return on. I have remodeled several condos and work with only the best Architects. I will make your team a winning team! Call me today and get real answers to questions about investing in Costa Rica. Use me as your agent and we will be successful. It is important who you use as your agent