The Costa Rican real estate industry is a bit like the American Wild West. Only here the guns are under car seats and in glove boxes and not visibly holstered on gunslinger’s thighs. There is no external regulation of our industry, so everyone in the country qualifies to pimp dirt, though foreigners on tourist visas are roughed up a bit if caught by tax authorities plying the trade. Indeed there are taxi drivers and tour guides that moonlight as brokers, developers and builders that purport real estate expertise—years of experience—lawyers and ex-Mayors and current functionaries that all steer people in all kinds of crazy directions. It can be very confusing if you try to understand it rationally.
But once you realize and accept that everyone is out to get you, it all gets very simple.
My rule of thumb is to believe none of what I hear and only have of what I see. And it’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you. I have pointed this out often to newcomers as a means of taking them under my wing to protect them from the often hostile forces arrayed against them.
“But who will protect us from YOU?” I am sometimes asked in return. “Let me buy you a beer,” I am sometimes able to remember the proper reply, mustering a sheepish grin.