Day: February 3, 2018

Buying Real Estate in Nicaragua

The first step to shopping for real estate in Nicaragua is to forget everything you know about the process back home… no matter where home may be.

Let me make one thing clear from the start. There are incredible bargains to be had buying property in Nicaragua. In fact, there is no other market in the Americas where insisting upon a 40% return on investment or better is reasonable. However, there are few similarities between the rules and regulations governing the real estate industries in North America or Europe, and Nicaragua. It’s because of this lack of similarities that foreign investors often get into trouble. There is a preconceived notion on the part of foreigners that the Nicaragua real estate industry is as carefully regulated as it is elsewhere, and it is this incorrect assumption that sets foreign investors up to be cheated. The only universal real estate investing rule that applies as equally in Nicaragua as it does anyway else is Caveat emptor, buyer beware.

Real Estate Brokers

Basically there’s no such thing in Nicaragua as a real estate brokerage that a Canadian, American or European would assume the term represents. There are real estate brokerage offices. Some even have familiar franchise names, but that’s where the similarity ends.

There is no mandated, formal training of real estate sales people, nor are there specific licensing requirements. Anyone can become a “realtor” by paying for a merchant license or incorporating a Nicaraguan company. I’m not suggesting this means “all” real estate sales people are incompetent or untrained… many are. In fact, there are a number of retired realtors who relocated to Nicaragua and maintain successful, upstanding businesses. However, there are many more who are not at all competent, and operate on the razor edge between honest business and outright fraud. Caveat emptor again!

There is no district or federal regulatory boards governing the real estate industry in place. Real estate sales are no more regulated than a vehicle sale transacted by a street vendor. Outright criminality is not ignored by authorities, but having the perpetrator jailed is unlikely to result in recovery of any money lost. The revenge should make a fleeced buyer feel better though. Nicaraguan jails exist to punish criminals, not rehabilitate, and they are Hell on Earth. Unfortunately though, most issues that can arise in a real estate transaction are considered civil matters by law enforcement and have to be treated as such. In short, whatever money you think you were cheated out of… consider it lost. Even with a judgment in the plaintiff’s favor, collecting money owed in a judgement rarely happens. So again, caveat emptor.

Money-making investments in the real estate

The real estate market is one where a profitable investment is always to be found; somewhere amidst the foreclosure lists or lying dormant on a real estate agent’s desk. This guide aims to give you the background necessary to allow you to find profitable investment real estate.

The first key to profiting from real estate is to find a highly motivated and urgent seller. The idea is that to negotiate a lower price on a piece of real estate requires the seller to want to sell their house quickly or desperately. If you are talking to an unmotivated seller on the telephone then it will soon be very clear that you are not going to get a discounted price on this real estate. If the seller is unmotivated then you will be unable to negotiate a lucrative deal.

One counterintuitive aspect of real estate investment is that you normally make a profit when you buy real estate and not when you sell it. This means that, while there is often little you can do to increase the value of real estate; sellers are human and are often willing to negotiate their price. Saving money while buying real estate is the key to selling homes for a profit in the real estate market.

With that in mind, your first step is to develop a list of real estate properties that you are considering investing in. You are going to need to view around ten pieces of real estate before you careful choose which one will be your chosen investment.

One useful technique for sourcing profitable real estate properties is to interview real estate agents; the people that profit from real estate on a daily basis. Interviewing a real estate agent and finding out if they own any investment real estate they would be very useful. Remember, they will be more than willing to be interviewed because you are offering them your regular custom.

Real estate agents understand the market “inside out” and can be an excellent source of investment properties with low prices because others have not seen or understood the potential of them. After you create a good relationship with some local real estate agents you will typically receive a phone call every time they notice a good property reach their desk. Remember, they receive a lot in return for this relationship because the more real estate that they sell the more commission that they earn.

Another very useful method for sourcing great real estate deals is the use of foreclosure lists. All you have to do is to search Google for “foreclosure lists” in your local area. Typically, you will have to pay a subscription fee to access this but it is definitely worth the cost.