This the account of a 70+ year old woman, buying a property in Costa Rica and building on it.
Part I :: Part II :: Part III :: Part IV :: Part V
The hope is that the details of this tale will help others who wish to do something similar, but are in the dark as to how to proceed. You can start the series by clicking “Ruthies Project”, then “Ruthie’s Project II, and so on, in the menu to the right.Before going into the second phase of Ruth’s Sojourn, I wanted to expound a bit on the jaunt that we took up into the Guapil Estates development on day one. I think that this merits mention since readers of this account will hopefully be able to glean some helpful pointers on a project here that they might want to embark on.
Guapil Estates is one of the finest developments in the Dominical area. It was conceived of, and developed prior to the land boom here. As is the custom with real estate booms in Costa Rica, and elsewhere I’d imagine, the lot sizes have gotten smaller and smaller. Guapil Estates was done at a time when the lot sizes were large. I’d say that 12 acres is the average up in there. The views are screaming northerly views – white water all the way up to Manuel Antonio. So, I’ve got two listings up in there that we looked at in a downpour. I remember Ruth out in her pancho. I gotta tell ya, I’m impressed.
Anyway, the short story of it is that Ruth has decided to go with an existing house. But we didn’t know this at that time.
Day 2: All along the way we are talking, of course. I know that I can talk, but after meet Ruth, I don’t think so any more. Ruth doesn’t let the conversation die. What’s cool about this for me is that, Ruth has a bunch of years on this planet, observing and participating, with an emphasis on the participating aspect. Ruth has concluded that her particular part of Florida has died as respects nature. She also is quite certain that the political situation is on the outs as well. This is getting to be a constant feature in my conversations with people who visit from the States. They say that it is a sad state of affairs there, but boy has it been good for my business.
So, with our ever clarifying focus, we now are feeling like a community would be good, and that an existing house would be good, although we are not opposed to building, should all things point to it.
The Lagunas area beckoned more than anything. Although, I felt that there were a couple of properties along the way between Dominical and San Isidro that would serve Ruthie’s needs as well. I felt that being near to San Isidro made good sense with respect to proximity of services and medical facilities. Lagunas is a well developed enclave of foreigners, with many being full time residents. It is also the area that has the largest selection of built houses.
So, off we went to Bill’s house, up in Lagunas. Bill’s house is a 3 bedroom, 3 bath, single level house that reflects Bills affinity for, and capability with, fine wood working.
While we were there Michael came in. Michael built Bill’s house and was stopping by to do some maintenance. Ruth and Michael hit it off immediately. They talked quite a bit and Michael was all too happy to share the quality secrets with which he had built the house. Parting company was sad but we finally managed. As we drove on to the next house, Ruth expressed her desire to use Michael to build her house should she end up building a house in Costa Rica.
Continuing on, we went to Sunrise Glory. A lovely home on a large piece of land with a teacup view of the ocean, and Ruthie loved it but… it wasn’t for her. While we were there, the contractor who had built the house showed up. Sounds like a coincidence doesn’t it? Well it was, especially since the contractor on this house was the same as the contractor on the last one – that’s right – it was Michael. Ruth felt this to be rather serendipitous. So, after a bit more chit chat, off we went to see what else there was to see.
Fast forwarding now to the next day, we are having lunch out on the point at Punta Dominical. The restaurant is called La Parcela. This came to be Ruthie’s favorite lunch spot. It is a nice place. I could tell that Ruthie was starting to wonder if she was going to be able to find anything. So as we are there, taking it all in and discussing where to go now, she didn’t feel that any of the houses on the market at the moment were for her, so we were stalled. In that conversation she said “I guess I’ll have to build. Lets find a property and then I’ll see if Michael is available to build on it for me.”.
Within 5 minutes, Michael walks into the restaurant.
Now Ruthie is sure that this is a meant to be kind of thing. Even me, a definitely not a “meant to be” kinda guy, started to wonder about these chance happenings. Michael and I have lived down here for years and hardly know each other due to running in different circles. 3 times in 24 hours? Hmmmm.
So we invite Michael to join us. He had overheard some of our conversation with respect to Ruthie’s plight. Buying and existing house in Costa Rica was not turning out to be such an easy thing. There just isn’t that much to pick from, at least not in the Dominical area.
Michael sort of sheepishly mentions that he has a property that he is getting ready to build a spec home on (a home built on the speculation that it’ll sell). The property and house would likely be in the price range of Ruthie’s budget. Well, needless to say, Ruthie is now excited, once again.
To be continued
Living in The Zone, Costa Rica’s south pacific, since 1999. Working in real estate here since 2004. Loves to share the experience and help others with an interest in doing same.