Exclusive Listings Revisited Part 1 of 3

This is the first of a 3 part series on how to sell a property in Costa Rica.

  1. Part 1 is this one and it deals with the most common type of listing that sellers use in Costa Rica: The Open Listing.
  2. Part 2 discusses how agencies here in The Zone imitate the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) of the U. S. and other countries by offering Exclusive listings.
  3. Part 3 – A new thought on how to get representation and motivating all real estate agencies to promote the sale of your property.

This question just in:

Should a seller give an open listing, or an exclusive listing? What is the difference?
To give an exclusive listing, or an open listing? That is the question. In Costa Rica's non-MLS marketplace, the rules are all different.

What is your advice regarding putting it out there with everybody vs. exclusive.  Several people know it’s for sale, including Guy X, Guy Y and Gal Z who do sell properties ‘on the side” Is there no exclusive at all down there?

Before going into these questions, I’d like to mention that these questions are common.  It is difficult to understand how Costa Rica real estate works when all one has ever known is the ubiquitous Multiple Listing Service (MLS) model of the US and other developed nations (with the exception of UK and the state of Mississippi).

Open Listings:

To understand exclusive listings, we need to understand open listings first. Open listings are the norm, if there is any such thing in Costa Rica real estate.  When you list a property with an agency in Costa Rica, that is as far as it goes. That office has your listing, and that is it.  If you want another agency to have the listing, you dear seller, have to visit the next agency and do your presentation all over again. Repeat these steps until all of the agencies that you want to list your property have your property.

Bear with me here now.  I’ve been down this road before. You think you’ve got it, right?  Well, oddly enough, it is very likely that you don’t.

In your country, it is most likely the case that you list your property with one agency and they are then entrusted with the task of announcing the listing to all the other agencies.  You get representation in the deal and all of the agencies that subscribe to your MLS now have your listing and they can bring the buyer to your property.  They are represented by whoever the agent is that shows them the property. You, the seller, are represented by the agency that you listed your property with.  The commission is split 50/50 between the listing and selling agencies.

In Costa Rica, when you list with an agency, you are simply enhancing the inventory of that one agency.  AND, you are not getting any sort of representation in the deal.  The agency will likely put you on their website, and they may even print out a flier for the wall or marquis outside of their office. If they sell it, they will get the full commission.

You go out and give your listing to as many agencies as you can and each one of them hopes that they are the one to sell your property and get the whole commission.

Later on, if you want to know what the reaction is to your listing among the prospective buyers who have viewed it, you will need to call or e-mail each of the agencies and ask how it is going.  This is recommended anyway since regular communication helps the agencies to keep your listing in mind.

It should be mentioned at this point that here in Costa Rica, most of our sellers don’t live in the country.  They live somewhere else.

Which segways us nicely into the…

Stay tuned to the next installment of the topic “Exclusive Listings Revisited”, where we will consider the pros and cons, and consider best practices of doing an exclusive listing.

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Click here for Part 2 of How To Sell a Property in Costa Rica.

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