There are two approaches to Dominical, well three actually if you count the approach from the south as though your trip originated in Panama. But most come in from the north, from San Jose. Coming down the coast is a lovely drive until you get just past Quepos where the road turns into what we like to call, “The Road From Hell”. It is still lovely mind you, but it is a car-breaking rough ride.
The other approach comes in from the PanAmerican highway. This is the main artery that connects Nicaragua to the north with Panama to the south. You take it south out of San Jose until you get to Costa Rica’s southern zone commercial center of San Isidro de Perez Zeledon, or San Isidro de el General. Don’t ask me why places here have more than one name, they just do.
Anyway, you turn right at San Isidro and drive on down to Dominical. As one passes through the breathtakingly gorgeous mountains that ultimately drop down to the sea, one starts to notice the prevalence of real estate signs, and one starts to think, “is everything for sale here”?
In a sense the answer to that question is “yes” but then not. It has well been said that everything has a price. Everything is for sale in that sense. Little by little the real estate in Costa Rica is getting owners that are reluctant to sell at almost any price. So then the question is, what is the deal with all those signs?
In the USA, a realtor’s sign on a property means that realtor is the listing agent for the property. Here it does not mean that, except in very rare cases. What it does mean is that realtor asked that property owner for permission to put a sign on his property as advertisement. That is why some properties may actually have more than one sign.
Real estate in Costa Rica is sold in a very different way than what one has grown accustomed to in the US. Since there is no MLS (Multiple Listing Service) in Costa Rica, it is essentially, every realtor for himself. Everybody has the same inventory, provided they have gone out and beat the bushes, so to speak, to get the listings, and then all of the commission flows to the selling office, since there is no listing agent.
So what does this mean to prospectors coming to the Dominical area to purchase properties? If you see a property that you like, and it has a sign on it, you can call or visit that realtor. Or, you can visit any realtor you like and inquire about that property since it really doesn’t matter who you talk to about the property.
Everybody is equal in their ability to sell a given property in Costa Rica.
I suggest that the important thing for the prospective buyer is that they find a real estate agent that they feel comfortable with, and that indicates a clear adherence to good honest business practices.
So, as one approaches Dominical, there is abundant evidence of a “land rush” going on, real estate signs are everywhere. Granted, there are numerous signs announcing car rentals, lodgings, banks and more, the area is booming. Nonetheless, the realtors win the prize for being the most zealous of sign posters.
If indeed this were to indicate anything other than advertising, one would conclude when they finally arrive from their long journey, that Dominical itself belongs to a real estate company. As one drives into town, past the “Welcome To Dominical” sign that features an oh-so-discreet realtor’s logo along it’s bottom edge.