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Renters and Buyers Will Be Back

Did your dream property just turn into your biggest nightmare? Or, is COVID-19 just a bump in the road?

The answer is another question: who knows? No one can say for sure what the post-pandemic future is going to look like when the world emerges from quarantine mode, not here in Costa Rica or anywhere else. There is no clear outlook but one likelihood: some will come out of this crisis in fairly good shape and others won’t be as fortunate. There is no one-size-fits-all prediction.

So, let’s take a minute to look at some key factors before sounding any alarm bells.

It’s safe to say that this too shall pass, as most tough times ultimately do. But there will also be a new normal. The human need for beaches, travel, exploration and relaxation is hardwired, so that aspect of life as we knew it is NOT over. People will never be content locked in the safety of their homes indefinitely.

So will there be a recovery in the vacation and retirement real estate sectors? Yes there will be. Will it come too late for some? Probably. But sooner rather than later, the Airbnb and VRBO inquiries will start to trickle in as virus control safety measures are relaxed, and then renters will start to flood back.

As for property sales, in the shorter term we can anticipate the inevitable vultures eager to pick the bones of wounded homeowners desperate to sell. But there will also be a new generation of buyers who see COVID-19 as a wake-up call to waste no time escaping the rut of the rat race. Seeking to live the life they desire could very well lead to Costa Rica. So property sales here will recover as well.

The here and now

What do you do in the meantime? How do you keep trying to rent or sell your property at a time when travel is all but illegal in some cases, if not actually illegal? My answer is simple: keep trying and stay relevant. Keep your property out there and highly visible. Those looking to buy will only see what is in front of them.

Undoubtedly, many property owners will pull back and say, “I will wait until this passes.” After more than 20 years of selling real estate, I can not tell you how many people tell me, “I will wait until after the holidays to sell my house.”

If it’s not convenient for you to sell now, that is one thing. But if it’s because you assume there are no buyers, that is quite another. There are always buyers! So do you want your property to be one of the 10 that they see, or one of 200? This applies just as much to the current situation as it always does in a seller’s market slump.

Keep your chin up and your property out there. Now is the time that will test your resolve. The short term is tough, without a doubt. There will be some pain, but never give up hope. There will be a break in the clouds. This is not the first, nor the last, cycle in our economic lifespan.

Pick your team and keep the faith

Make sure your listing agent and property manager are willing to ride this out with you. Some will pack up, stop advertising and retreat until the market gets better. But don’t let them pack up YOUR tent and take it home with them! This is where you want to find the right people on your team — those who will fight it out with you.

Once you have those people on board, encourage them, trust them, support them. Their business is likely suffering greatly, yet they are investing time and money they are not earning to help and support you. In turn, it’s discouraging when their efforts yield limited results.

So, show those on your team love, grace, kindness and patience, as they are doing their utmost. Together, you will get through this.

The sun will come out tomorrow, the dust will settle and we will move on. We will have some scars. A few tears will be shed and likely more than a few rolling down our collective cheeks in the days ahead. But we are tough and we are resilient. And there is nothing like a spectacular Costa Rican sunset to help brighten our perspective as we move forward.

Stay well!

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The Howler Magazine