LX interviews Catalina Sauma, experienced luxury real estate specialist better known amongst clients and friends as ‘Cata’, to learn about her particular style of service, why she loves living in Curridabat, and her own thoughts on the luxury real estate market on the east side of San José, Costa Rica.
1. Nowadays, what are the traits that every succesful real estate agent should embody?
Listening skills are vital. Being able to read and understand a customer is a must in order to show him what he’s really looking for. I’m speaking about really understanding the client, not just ’hearing’ the general details and completing the picture with assumptions… A residence is one of the most important aspects of a human being. Most people have in mind a clear vision of their dream house… A great real estate agent needs to make sure the puzzle fits without forcing any of its pieces. The ideal scenario is to contemplate all the options and provide the buyer with only those that really match his profile, tastes and preferences.
2. How would you define the luxury real estate market?
Basically, it isn’t very permeable to external circumstances, it isn’t easily influenced. Whether the real estate market is in a positive or negative period, the luxury niche (High Net Worth and Ultra High Net Worth Individuals) remains much more predictable, it’s generally less affected from uncertainty. And, for the past few years, it’s a very active market with multiple levels of complexity both for buyers and sellers.
3. What’s your favorite part of living and working on the east side of San José?
First of all, the weather is fresher and the access to country farms and estates in the mountains is pretty easy. Neighborhoods are sober and elegant. Commercial growth is booming… Thinking about the future, the best universities, bilingual and trilingual schools are all located on this side of the capital.
4. What makes your personal working style different? How would you describe to a customer what is like to work with you?
I love what I do and when someone works within the boundaries of his passion, everything flows smoothly. For me, every customer is unique and important and I make sure he feels that from the very first encounter. I strongly believe life is like a circle and every single thing has to be done with upright integrity. Then, the results are the expected; that’s why I work under very strict ethical parameters; besides that, I’m all about perseverance, will and positive energy.
5. Name one interesting fact about yourself that most people ignore and can be useful for them in relation to this market.
I’m energized and motivated by the diversity in cultures and lifestyles. This has led me to live outside of Costa Rica for a long time. I lived in Belgium, France and Spain. These experiences taught me about perspectives, I got to taste different cultures, architectural styles and preferences. Furthermore, it armed me with tolerance. It allowed me to see beauty in diversity. It also helped me to perfect three languages (English, French and Spanish) as well as a little bit of Portuguese.