Recently I received an email that asked:
“It looks like there are some new gated communities but we can’t find any info on them other than some YouTube videos with very little information. Are there any websites with sales listings?”
Good luck with that!
I guess it doesn’t matter how often I say it, I need to keep repeating: the real estate market here in Las Tablas is nothing like what you’re used to in North America.
Those of us who’ve been here a while just laugh when we hear the assumptions behind the questions.
Let me explain.
Laugh Reason #1: Gated Communities
As of right now, there are no gated communities in Las Tablas. Repeat after me, “there are no gated communities in Las Tablas.”
There may be one in a couple of years. Plans have been drawn, fancy brochures have been created, and a website with imaginative artist’s renderings is up and running. My husband and I drove out there a few months back, and I wrote about it here.
It was fenced, one road was built, and a long, steep staircase leading down to the beach had been constructed.
The road to get there was a bone-crushing dirt adventure that took 45 minutes from Las Tablas itself despite being just a few miles.
In a couple of years there may be a gated community there.
There are some other projects happening. But, as with my advice about finding a rental here, you need to be here and check it out thoroughly. And remember, buy what you see, not what some artist has drawn. In this market, nothing beats old-fashioned boots on the ground.
Laugh Reason #2: Real Estate Agencies
As I’ve stated many times, Las Tablas does not have an organized real estate market. There are no agents, certainly no MLS, and no rental agencies. It’s all word of mouth here, folks. If you do find a listing online, it’s aimed at the gringo market and you’re going to pay a very inflated price.
One individual emailed me recently, proud to have bagged a two-month beach house rental from an ad on Craigslist. She’s paying at least 50% more than others I know have paid for that same property.
If you absolutely, positively have to find something online to start out with, try to navigate through the Spanish-language listings on Encuentra24.com or Craigslist. You’ll find more listings at better prices.
Or do what I did — negotiate a discount at one of the local hotels, and stay there for a few weeks while you find someplace suitable for longer term at a reasonable price.
Once you’re here in person, you’ll find people — expats and locals — to be friendly and helpful.