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5 Tips on How to Sell a Fixer Upper House in Costa Rica

Is the house in Costa Rica that you are selling so undesirable that nobody will buy it? Have you been trying for years to sell your house but it’s been impossible to find a buyer? What can you do about it?

Some time ago, I wrote an article titled “8 reasons why your property in Costa Rica has not sold in 7 years,” which offered a simple solution to the problem, if the price is what really matters.

Your home may be beautiful, but there is a reason it won’t sell. You may think you own the most beautiful home in the world; buyers might not have the same opinion. Maybe it’s the lazy real estate agent’s fault for not promoting it enough? Or could there be another, more logical reason?

Many sellers do not realize that a property buyer will not purchase a house that they do not completely fall in love with. Buying a house is a huge investment and to make a buyer fall in love with your house, it needs to be way above average.

There are a number of ways to find solutions for your inability to sell your undesirable house in Costa Rica, but you have to make the effort to find those solutions. Ask yourself if you are somehow scaring buyers off. If homely people can find spouses, why can’t the owner of an undesirable house find a buyer?

Here are 5 tips on how to sell a fixer upper house in Costa Rica.

1. Focus on your curb appeal

Even if an undesirable house is located in the most horrible neighborhood in town, it can still be the nicest house in the neighborhood, right? It’s just a matter of concentrating on the details, especially on the curb appeal. Curb appeal is the first impression a buyer gets, which is very important in the buyer’s decision-making process.

Focus on how to make that curb appeal near perfect without having to spend a lot of money on it. Can you cut the hedge, paint the fence or clean up the garbage on the sidewalk? Also maybe fix the sidewalk or do something else that can make your house stand out in a positive way?

2. Focus on the positive features

There was a reason you bought the house yourself. This undesirable house must have a lot of positive features.

Take the time to think about all the positive and unique features your house has. Make a list of those features and then focus on them.

Find out how you can make those unique features stand out. If you don’t know what to do, ask your real estate agent for recommendations. You will need to work on it, as it won’t happen automatically.

3. Focus on the negative features

Now consider the negative features of your house. I doubt you’ll find that many of them. If you can’t figure it out, ask your real estate agent what is turning buyers away.

Once you’ve identified the negative features of your house, focus on how to turn them into positives. You’ll be surprised how easy it is. Most agents will tell you that you need to de-clutter, clean up, get rid of all that stuff you have lying around, clean up the dog poop, cut the grass in the yard, etc.

It is much easier than you would think to turn negative features into positive ones. Even if you have to spend money on painting those garish walls in your daughter’s room in a more acceptable color, it’s an investment that will help sell your house.

4. Home staging and de-clutter

The other day, I went to a house for sale that has been on the market for at least eight years. The house is quite nice but has so much furniture that you can hardly walk through the rooms. It makes the house feel small and it isn’t. But the main reason it hasn’t sold is because it’s overpriced. If the seller had gotten rid of 50 percent of his furniture and other clutter, I’m sure the house would have sold a long time ago. At the right price, of course.

Get rid of the stuff you don’t need, put it in storage, sell it or give it away. Make the house look picture-perfect for every showing.

5. Time frame

Houses in Costa Rica take a lot longer to sell than they do in many other countries. What is the reason for that? In my opinion, it’s the lack of real estate agents working together and the lack of a real Multiple Listing Service, but mostly because people are trying to sell undesirable houses that are overpriced and look terrible when shown.

If you try hard to do something about it, you can make the difference.

Ivo Henfling founded the American-European Real Estate Group in 1999 — the first functioning MLS in Costa Rica with affiliate agents from coast to coast. Contact Ivo at (506) 2289-5125 / 8834-4515 

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