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The helpful Costa Rica home owner

Costa Rica home ownerWhen I list a Costa Rica home for sale, I always instruct every Costa Rica home owner what to do and what not to do when we show their house to a prospect. At least I try to.

A Costa Rica home owner will generally just instruct the housekeeper to let me in. This makes it much easier for a real estate agent because you can ask the house keeper to switch on all the lights and make sure the clutter is gone and disappear into her room when you arrive with the buyer.

A “reminder” phone call 30 minutes before the showing (if you are showing other properties to the same client) will make the house perfect for showing. This way, you won’t have any Costa Rica home owner bothering the buyers and let me do my job.

A gringo home seller is different.

Most gringo home owners have carried a real estate license at one time in their life. It doesn’t really matter how many times you ask a gringo home owner to not “be there”, “to walk the dog”, “to visit the neighbor”, “to play a round of golf” or “to go to the local bar and get drunk”, the gringo owner wants to help.

I want to help

Ginny is a Gringa home owner in Costa Rica. For some reason she thinks a real estate agent cannot sell her house on his or her own without her help. That’s what Ginny says, but the behavior is really all about control.

Ginny wants to control everything that is going on, as a good type A personality, from the moment the doorbell rings until right at the closing.

Let me play it out for you, so if you are a seller, you will know what NOT to do and if you are a buyer, you know what to expect, even though I always try hard to make it happen differently than described below.

Costa Rica home owner
It is really easy to delete a property from our websites

Ringing the bell

It starts when I ring the bell. You need to know that we don’t have lock boxes in Costa Rica, so we have to make appointments to show a home for sale and someone has to be home to open the door for us.

“Hello!!! I’m Ginny and this is my husband Memo. We all call him Memo here because it is easier for the help to pronounce than Bill. Come on in please. Where are you from? Oh my God, you know that Memo’s great grand aunt had a boyfriend who also lived there?”

“I hope you love the neighborhood as much as we do, that was the main reason we bought the home, because it is so close to our kid’s school and church as well. Would you like some coffee? I just finished baking a delicious cinnamon rolls; I’ve read somewhere that the smell of baking a cake helps sell the house.

Interfering real estate agent

“Ginny, would you mind leaving us, so I can show Marlene and John your lovely house?”  Though we’d all love some coffee and cake, but right now is not good timing as we have other showing appointments lined up. The weather is great, why don’t you enjoy the weather on your porch while I show your house?”

Touring the house

While we’re going through the house, I can hear Ginny shout “Ivo, don’t forget to tell them about all the closet space we have and the double-height ceilings”. Marlene tells me that she’s so glad I got rid of Ginny and she was afraid she’d join us on the grand tour. “It’s so hard to make any comments to John with that woman breathing down our neck. Thanks for telling her to get lost”.

Costa Rica home owner
This is where I keep my yellow cards for misbehaving Costa Rica home sellers

Out of control

Of course, Ginny couldn’t hold herself long in the yard, knowing she was out of control. While we were just checking out the kitchen, she walked back in saying “did you see the huuuuge pantry? You can stick an elephant in there!”

“Ginnyyyyyyyyy, please, could you leave us alone for a while? Go sit outside with Memo please”.

“Just one last thing guys, don’t you think one of the bedrooms would make a lovely baby room, wouldn’t it? I’m sure you guys will soon have babies!”

Ginny didn’t know of course that, sadly enough, that Marlene just lost a baby and they’re planning to try again, once she feels up to it. This comment though, worked as a slap in the face for Marlene, who said “honey, let’s go, I’ve seen enough of this house”.

A true story

This is a true story, for those who wonder, even though Ginny could be Eva, Beth or Suzanna. After this happened, I lost not only the sale of a house both buyers really liked but didn’t want anymore. Marlene and John  decided not to look for another house for quite a while. I lost track of them after a few years. But I decided right there and then, to change my strategy from then on.

When I make a listing appointment, I tell the Costa Rica home owner to let me do my job. I tell him/her to say hi at the door and to disappear until I let them know the buyers are out the door.  If they interfere with my showing, they get a yellow card. The third yellow card automatically turns into a red card and I will un-list the property. I will never work it again.

In that case, I prefer they call the Re/Max office in Escazu to sell their house. Usually, we’ll never get past the 2nd yellow card. We either sell the house, or the seller learns to behave.

If you are a Costa Rica home owner, you want to sell your home and you’re looking for a knowledgeable and hard working real estate team, contact us now.

Feel free to leave your comments on this blog.


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Ivo Henfling

If you are looking to buy a home in Costa Rica or invest in a condo anywhere in the central Valley, or looking for any property for sale in Escazu, you need to call me. I have been selling real estate in Escazu for over 20 years and can show you hundreds of happy buyers of real estate in Escazu and other areas. To me, a deal is not a good deal unless both buyer and seller are happy.

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