Real Estate Exhibitionists

Somewhere this weekend (Aug 6… 2010) there will be a big ‘exposition’ featuring a hall filled with exhibitors who hope to entice potential buyers to take a look at their presentations and possibly buy something. I will be out of the country for a while, though I suppose I could go tomorrow for a few hours. Naw… think I’ll pass.

This is a big deal that has been held year after year. Obviously there is money to be made here or the exposition wouldn’t exist. This is not Habitat for Humanity here. From reading some of the advertisements, it seems they would like potential buyers to think that the potential buyers are going to be making money. There is a lot of talk about all the ‘bargains’ available in Costa Rica, and how the exposition is THE place to find them. It would appear that there are enough people who believe this to make such an exposition possible. There are also a fair number of people who believe that Elvis is still alive.

My faithful readers can probably guess my opinion of such an exposition. The Costa Rican real estate game is a minefield set on top of a toxic waste dump. I have expressed my opinions before on this subject, which you can read HERE. I really regret that the people who will be attending this event are the least likely to read these words of caution. I would be willing to wager that for quite a few, this will be their first trip to Costa Rica. They will be fed a steady diet of propaganda of all the wonders of Costa Rica and never will be heard a discouraging word. Not much they can do about the clouds in the sky, though.

I was tempted to do a post the other day regarding a letter to the editor of AM Costa Rica which said, in effect, that people should stop saying negative things about Costa Rica because it’s hurting their (the letter writers’) business. Well, call me a communist if you want, but I don’t put the right to make a buck any way you can above the truth. I celebrate the good stuff in my adopted country, and I don’t try to cover up the blemishes when I see them.

Despite my best efforts, people will probably be buying into unfinished developments, buying lots that have no road, water or power, or buying condos where they will be the only residents in the building (and paying all the maintenance fees). I am just a guy with a broom trying to sweep back an ocean. But it’s good exercise, at least… You should see my typing muscles!

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  1. In order to purchase real estate here, as Warren Zevon suggests, better bring lawyers, guns and money.

  2. The exposition is in Heredia and 12 -15,000 people are expected according to La Nacion. It appears that the vast majority will be ticos with a smaller amount of "gringos". The advertisements seem to have the same basic marketing as the ads I am accustomed to in the US. Of course, it is always good advice that a buyer of real estate should be cautious and skeptical – however to label Costa Rica real estate as "…a minefield set on top of a toxic waste dump" seems exaggerated. The level of scams in CR real estate seem to be about equal to those in US real estate – different scams but in both societies there are unscruplous, greedy developers, sellers, "agents", etc. A "more highly regulated" real estate market such as the US may appear to be safer than in CR; however the damage in the US economy related to housing in recent years tells me it is not. And, by the way, I have no financial or other involvment in real estate in either CR or the US – I did my homework, bought a condo in CR and have had no problems in the four years since buying – but then I have always been a lucky guy…

  3. safetypatrol says:

    ….my suggestion is that anyone wanting to visit and/or buy real-estate in 'CR' needs to at least learn their language first..

  4. Easy, I'm glad you had good luck. I can't say whether I am exaggerating or not since I don't have any statistics of how many people are happy with their real estate experiences here versus those who aren't. I do live with a real estate agent and I am close friends with several developers. I have watched some totally insane things here that could just not happen in the USA. True that there are plenty of problems in the USA too. I have bought and sold 4 houses in the USA without any real problems, and I have seen so many hassles here that from my point of view it's not comparable. Still, if you buy the right kind of property, i.e., a going condo, you are probably going to be just fine. If you buy undeveloped land… a very different story. But I'm glad your purchase was trouble free.