Talk Show – Episode 12

Episode 12 features a candid look at life in the Southern Pacific Zone of Costa Rica. If you’re considering relocation or simply buying land in the greater Dominical or Uvita areas, we encourage you to watch and please feel free to share your comments.

Looking Back Over 2010

Real estate brokers in Costa Rica

I’ve never had a year quite like 2010. Amazing, life altering, wonderful, scary and perplexing would be just a few of the descriptors that would sum this year up for me. The Weather At the start of the new year, we here in Costa Rica are still drying out from what has proved to be … Read more

The Most Precious Real Estate

[Given] the fact that I spend almost everyday at the beaches in and around Uvita, I wanted to highlight some of the most precious real estate in Costa Rica— Parque Nacional Marino Ballena. Home to miles of idyllic beaches, mangroves, islands, and the blue wonderland under the Pacific Ocean, the park sustains a multitude of animals, some of which–like humpback whales and sea turtles–are on the endangered species list. Discover why the park raises the quality of life for those of us who are lucky enough to vacation or reside in The Zone.

Thoughts From The Outfield #1

I was standing in the outfield at the Saturday Softball game in Uvita, when the feeling hit me. It was the warm feeling you get (and I’m not referring to the direct sun variety) when you are with a group of people having fun. In a word: community. We have a special one down here in the Southern Pacific Zone of Costa Rica. Perhaps it is the international mix of….

Shrimp n’ Street Talk

Guys in the Zone heresay service: I thought that I’d behave like a blogger this morning and so I cruised the Costa Rica news & real estate blogs.  The following are my findings along with some current gossip:

The PRETOMA (Programa Restauracion de Tortugas Marinas) website

The US Department of State`s Bureau of Oceans, Environment, and Science imposed a trade embargo on all Costa Rican shrimp exports to the US, effective as of May 1.  The embargo is due to Costa Rica’s failure to enforce its laws that require commercial shrimp fishers to protect sea turtles from capture and death in trawl nets by using Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs).
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And then a little commentary on the matter from Globalpost:

It’s not the first time that the United States, Costa Rica’s chief shrimp buyer (shrimp exports to the U.S. grossed $2.8 million in 2007), has put a trade embargo on Tico shrimp. The ban has been imposed four times since 1999, in an attempt to penalize this country’s shrimping habits.

Fishers are netting shrimp illegally near river heads and protected marine areas in the Pacific, and aren’t using technology designed to prevent turtles from drowning in trawl nets, according to PRETOMA.

The article included statements that the biggest hit here is to Costa Rica’s “Green” reputation.  Costa Rica is apparently allowing shrimp harvesting in such a way that endangers the marine turtles — the green sea turtle, the olive ridley, hawksbill and leatherback.  So the U.S. is wielding its influence, and for those of us that like the idea of preserving the earth’s natural resources, this is good news.

Yesterday I was talking with Chef Dave from La Cusinga.  He’s doing some pretty interesting things here, one of which is cooking up a culinary experience at the La Cusinga restaurant which is called The Gecko.  I haven’t tried it yet, but for those that have, they say that it is nothing short of divine.

Anyway, it turns out that Chef Dave is a bit of a writer, and that he is interested in a lot of the things that I like writing about as well.  He’s started his own blog over at Chef of the Jungle.  He is the one that had originally told me about the U. S. ban on Costa Rica shrimp imports to the U. S. (You can read his commentary on the matter by clicking here).  That is indicative of the topics found in his blog.  Here is a clip from his website:

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The Question on Everbody’s Mind

How would you describe the current “crisis” impact on the local economy and on Costa Rica real-estate in general?

Yesterday I made the trip up to San Isidro de el General to take care of some things. I was to meet Rod and Lindsay for lunch at “Mexico Lindo”, an amazing genuine Mexican food restaurant there, run by a bona fide Mexican Armando and his lovely wife. I have known them for years and used to frequent their little taco hole in one of the off-the-beaten-path streets of San Isidro years ago. Now they are located right on the central square and my, how things have changed since those days of long ago. I don’t think that there was a single empty table there, and at least 50% of what I heard was English – my, how things have changed.

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Running the gauntlet of greetings as I made my way back to Rod and Lindsay, I looked up to see a couple who are particularly good friends, but that I have not seen for awhile. I greeted them with something like “how are you guys doing in this new world in which we live?” (reference to the economy), to which they responded, “what is going on?”. Working in real estate provides one with an interesting position in life. I didn’t realize it for a long time, but it is now clearer than ever. This industry is at the very foundation of life. We all need to live, play, and work somewhere. I received the above question in an e-mail from one of my clients just yesterday, so I heard the question a total of 2 times over the course of the day, and that wasn’t an unusual day.

Here’s what I think

We have lost a lot of buyers due to the economic crisis. We are gaining some buyers that we wouldn’t have otherwise had. It may look something like the graphic there to the left. It means a slow down for us here in Costa Rica, but not death. I have a client/friend/partner that is a high output kinda guy. I’ll call him Steve, a lawyer in Florida. He purchased a piece of land from me 3ish years ago. Subsequent visits have given us the opportunity to forge a friendship. Steve had a plan.

  • Sell his beach condo that he bought for investment
  • Sell his main home
  • Let the lease on his Porsche run out
  • Finish up obligations at the firm
  • Set up some means of income in Costa Rica
  • Move to Costa Rica

Steve LOVES Costa Rica. This is home to him. Every visit here confirms it to him. He just needed to get the ducks all lined up in a neat row prior to making the move. This is a common scenario. Life was fine. Plans were being made. Then, it all changed.

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Yodeling Naked & Firesales

Rod & I sold a piece of property yesterday and I’d like to tell y’all about it. Be ye buyer or seller I think that it will be informative and hopefully helpful.

The couple came to us from a Canadian referral, primarily to view the San Buenas Golf Resort. I’ll call them the Schmerds.

After viewing the course and deciding that it was for them – they’ll likely get a clubhouse condo for investment and income generation. All this plus the fact that they like to golf made that a no brainer. They asked if they could see some general market properties as well.

We started in Uvita with some lovely whales tail view properties. View from lot 6 Bella Vista Uvita Costa RicaBella Vista Lot #6 has occupied “The Best Deal in Uvita” slot for some time, but was recently nudged into second place by a fire sale opportunity that we had just received.

The Schmerds LOVED #6, with its beautiful ocean and jungle views and absolute privacy. A little over 2 acres and end of the road quiet.

From there we went to Bella Vista #5 Bella Vista 5 Whales Tail Viewwhich is a re-sale and was formerly “Ben’s Favorite Uvita Property” but it too has been relegated to the #2 position by another property that I’ll describe here in a minute. 

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Who is Buying Land In Costa Rica?

I think that this question is probably the second most asked question of a real estate agent in Costa Rica. Second after: “what’s going on in real estate in Costa Rica”? Actually, the two run hand in hand.  In my recent post where I stuck my neck out and made some specific predictions regarding the coming season, I basically said that I felt that there was compelling reason for 1) relocators and 2) land bankers, to buy land in Costa Rica in the present financial climate, and specifically, the southern zone.

I’ll profile my two most recent showings below.

Profile #1:
I’ll call them the Boydsons, were the ones that inspired the post: “Do You Have to be Rich to Buy Land in Costa Rica?”.  We spent a couple days together here, and I think that they represent a large percentage of buyers that we’ll be seeing here this season.

Mr. Boydson had mentioned that he had a little money, $50,000 to $75,000 to put down on a property, and that he would like to have an existing house. His budget was around $150,000.  So seller financing would be required.  An ocean view wasn’t required, but privacy and acreage were. Mr. Boydson is an avid gardener.

The Boydsons and I met in the office and spent our first couple hours discussing their objectives and arranged to go out the next day and put our feet on some available Costa Rican soil.

In our conversation, I mentioned that a lot of folks come to Costa Rica looking for a finished house so that they can avoid the hassle of building, but after looking around some they more often than not, end up buying a piece of land and building.  This has been due to the fact that we are early in the real estate cycle and the bulk of our inventory is still raw land.  The available houses enjoy somewhat of an inflated value due to their scarcity, and the fact that many folks don’t want to build.  After looking at land and houses, the calculations generally make it clear that the best financial decision is to build.

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