You may have heard that there’s a new Costa Rica MLS in town. And it’s promising to change everything.

You’ve likely heard the term “MLS” many times before. It stands for multiple listing service and, while its modern iteration is quite tech-forward, the term dates back more than 115 years: Dating as far back as the early 1900s, real estate agents would gather together to share information on the properties they represented.

Today, a multiple listing service, or MLS, represents regional and national real estate databases that centralize and standardize information on properties for sale. Access is members-only – licensed agents and brokers, not homeowners or buyers – and requires certain filterable information (ex. bedrooms, price per square foot/square meter, etc.), to create easily searchable parameters.

The New Costa Rica MLS: How it Works

The New Costa Rica MLS How it Works

Many people are already familiar with an MLS, even if they don’t use that term. For example, if you’ve ever searched or Zillow, you’ve accessed the consumer side of your region or country’s MLS.

The new Costa Rica MLS system will function in much the same way. In fact, at Blue Water Properties of Costa Rica, we’re already in the process of integrating the new Costa Rica MLS into our website, so you can easily search all properties from right here.

Of course, an MLS is more than a site-side search. The real answer to “how does it work?” is complicated, requiring thousands of hours of planning and programming and refinements. What’s more, much of the MLS’s processing power, filtering, and valuable features are available only to the licensed agents who access the service.

Fun Fact: You may not know is that our very own Rebecca Clower, BWP founder and owner/broker, is [edit: now former] President of CRGAR (the Costa Rica Global Association of REALTORS), one of only two official real estate associations in Costa Rica.

Becky was at the forefront of Costa Rica’s push to create, strategize, and launch a centralized MLS. And in September 2022, CRGAR launched the country’s first centralized MLS system. Thus, the new Costa Rica MLS was born – and has continued to grow rapidly.

But why does that matter?

The New Costa Rica MLS: Why it Matters

The New Costa Rica MLS Why it Matters

Here at Blue Water Properties, we’re very excited about the new MLS! But we realize that the features that matter most to us are not quite the same as answering, why does that matter to you?

It does matter. The new MLS is not only poised to revolutionize the Costa Rican real estate market, but also your very personal experience buying and selling real estate here. And we know – that seems like a big promise. It’s also true. Here’s why:

Benefit #1: Transparency

If there’s one overarching, all-encompassing benefit to the new MLS, it’s transparency. Plain and simple.

We finally have a centralized, accurate, and reputable database of listed and sold real estate: No longer do we have to rely on third-party websites and what people say is available, for what they say is fair market value. Now, we have a central repository that pulls together solid numbers and facts, for all registered agents to access.

Benefit #2: Comparative Market Analysis (aka: What’s that property really worth?)

One of the first ways we leverage this transparency is to compare apples to apples.

As a registered and affiliated brokerage, the new Costa Rica MLS allows Blue Water Properties agents to access a full suite of comparative information: asking price, price per square foot/square meter, bedrooms/bathrooms, time on market, and a lot more.

We then take this information and compare it: How does Property A stack up to Property B? For sellers, this allows us to price your property competitively – and solidify that stance via hard numbers, when we come to the negotiating table. For buyers, this also means peace of mind and stronger negotiating power.

Side Note: Previous to the MLS, it was very common to find wildly overpriced properties that represented how much someone hoped or wanted to sell for. They’d often sit on the market for years or decades – a dangling carrot that you could never reach. The new MLS will, slowly but surely, establish the concept of “fair market value” in Costa Rica and, thus, help cut down on this type of listing.

Benefit #3: Know What’s REALLY Available

If you’ve ever searched around online for Costa Rica real estate, you’ll quickly spot two major problems with some local listings:

  1. They’re listed by many different “agents,” often at wildly different prices; and
  2. Many listings are years or even decades old.

The new Costa Rica MLS does not allow for duplicate listings. It also requires agents to list properties as under contract and/or sold within two (2) business days.

In other words, you and your agent will know whether a property is active or not. The MLS is up-to-date, current, and accurate. And that will save you a lot of time, frustration, and, possibly, some heartache.

Note: At Blue Water Properties of Costa Rica, we’re in the process of integrating the new Costa Rica MLS into our website, so you can easily search all properties from right here.

Benefit #4: It’s Country-Wide

You may know that there’s no required real estate licensing in Costa Rica, but you may not know that there are two official Costa Rican real estate associations, which do provide broker and agent licensing for real estate professionals throughout the country.

These two associations are the Costa Rica Global Association of REALTORS, or CRGAR, and the Cámara Costarricense de Corredores de Bienes Raices (the Costa Rican Chamber of Real Estate Agents), or CCCBR. Note: As a general rule, the difference is regional: CRGAR agents are bilingual, licensed Realtors® (through NAR Global), often found along the coasts (although they do extend into the Central Valley), while CCCBR agents are Costa Rican agents who represent mostly the Central Valley.

Though CRGAR was the driving force behind developing and launching the new Costa Rica MLS, the CCCBR has now adopted the same MLS, which means that all brokers and agents who are part of either of Costa Rica’s two real estate associations will use the same system.

And that means that you, as a buyer or seller, will have access (through your licensed agent) to properties located throughout Costa Rica. The full picture just grew even bigger.

Benefit #5: Understand Costa Rica’s Real Estate Market

A lot goes into understanding a bear or bull real estate market. And an MLS can help you foresee where we’re headed.

One of the most important indicators – and one that we have long struggled with here in Costa Rica, without an MLS – is days on market. Long story short, when we have a centralized database that lists a property’s days on market ( = how many days between listing and sale), we have a good indication of when the market is accelerating or slowing down.

And as your buyer’s or seller’s agent, knowing this will help inform our property search, negotiation strategy, and other factors in helping find your next home or make your next sale.

Benefit #6: Greater Real Estate Professionalism

Finally – and this is a big “finally!” – because only licensed CRGAR and CCCBR agents have access to the new Costa Rica MLS, you, the buyer or seller, will experience an increased level of professionalism when you work with a broker or agent who has access to the MLS.

This is because all CRGAR and CCCBR agents are licensed – and they’re the only ones who have access to the MLS. For example, CRGAR REALTORS® undergo an application process, must complete a required 12-month series of professional education and are also required to operate under specific ethical and professional standards. They reside and work legally (not always a given in Costa Rica), pay their due taxes, and contribute in other ways to Costa Rican society.

Providing MLS access to licensed agents only represents a critical step in standardizing Costa Rican real estate and leveling-up our quality of service.

Want to List on the New Costa Rica MLS?

Want to List on the New Costa Rica MLS

Yes, you can be one of the first sellers to list on the MLS – or one of the first buyers to find your home on the Costa Rica MLS!

At Blue Water Properties, we’re CRGAR REALTORS®. We meet those high standards. We follow a strong code of ethics. And we not only have access to the new MLS, but we led the charge. (Thanks, Becky!) And now, we’re happy to help you in any way we can.

As a company and as people, we thrive on relationships and promise the fastest communication and best services in the industry. And that begins with lots of information. We are happy to answer your questions and point you in the right direction, even if you’re only in the beginning phases of planning your future move.

We’re proud to offer some of the best Costa Rica real estate, from condos and homes to land and businesses for sale. So, go ahead – try us. Give us a chance to show off our expertise – and wow you with the possibilities! We look forward to it.