Beach Houses

It never fails to amaze me that as soon as someone posts or asks about purchasing or renting real estate, suddenly everyone and their brother (in some cases, sister, mother aunt and a third cousin three times removed) are all expert real estate agents and have something to sell.

Buying a home in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize or in almost any Caribbean nation is not like anything you would experience in Canada or the USA and trying to recover anything thru those court systems if you get screwed over…yeah…good luck with that.

Most Latin American countries do not require training or government license to sell real estate (check with each countries consul or embassy for details), and literally there are people who either on a whim or because they watched one too many episodes of some not really a reality show and bingo, bango, boom, they are the next local real estate mogul. Before you make the second biggest decision of your move and the next stage of your life…a few hints from the Beach Gringo that will save you a lot of time, effort, money and heartache….


  1. If your real estate agent has not been in business for at least 3 years in the country you are planning on moving to…run, it takes time, like with any other business to build local contacts, understand local laws (which change on a regular basis), build rapport with people who will be needed after your purchase and these do not come overnight,
  2. If your agent does not have a rapport with local lawyers, contractors, project managers, utility staff, delivery staff and related services…run, again, this is part of running a business in a service industry and when you are the new kid in town, who may or may not speak the local language, getting basic services without assistance can be a challenge,
  3. If your agent is also the local car rental agent, delivery person, tour guide, maintenance person, ice cream dealer and bar owner…run, selling real estate is hard, hell if it was easy the Beach Gringo would do it, it takes time, effort, resources and money, lots of money and if time and effort is being spent on all these other ventures, well guess what, that same time and effort is not being spent on you and your search for a home,
  4. If your agent suggests lowering the cost on the paperwork for “tax purposes” …run, this is a somewhat common practice, it allows the seller to pay reduced taxes, however it may cause issues for the buyer down the road when it comes time to sell, if the house is used as part of the immigration (investor process) it may be a factor or may cause insurance issues should the home be damaged, remember, no matter how much cash you handed over, the number that counts is what is on the sales document,
  5. When you finally go to look at houses and all the houses you wanted to see are “sold” but the more expensive ones are still for sale…run, classic switch and bait, it takes time to sell houses here, just like in Canada and USA, if the agent does not maintain a current listing and update inventory, then what else is not being maintained or updated.

A few hints from lessons learned, check back often as posts, info and blog are updated regularly. Check out our website at follow us on Facebook or contact us directly at

“To have the Beach life, you must first live on the Beach”

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