Mar 102017
 

We are in high season here in the southern pacific zone. The months of November through April are typically when there are more tourists here than during the rainy months.

There is another type of “high season” happening right now as well. This has more to do with world conditions. I know, those from the States are going to think that Mr. Trump is pushing many to look elsewhere. And I suspect that this is true to some extent. I think that Mr. Trump has been good for my Costa Rica real estate business. I think Mrs. Clinton would have been as well. Such is the world that we live in.

However, our property buyers here are not just from the States. We’ve got buyers from Canada, despite their currently weak currency. These people are buying property and essentially paying 30% – 40% more due to the exchange rate on their currency. One has got to wonder – why?

France, Germany, Great Britain – all are providing us here with buyers. Again: why? There are economic, political and security issues happening in various areas of the world. I suppose that greater analytical minds would come up with the cause and effect links in trying to answer the question. But I find that there is one common thread when I talk with these people.

The Reason:
Stress
is pushing, and the promise of less stress, is pulling people to consider a life in Costa Rica. Simpler living is highly attractive. Costa Rica offers this and it (simple living) seems to be the antidote to whatever may be happening in one’s home country.

Uvita, Dominical, Ojochal and the surrounding areas that make up Costa Rica’s southern pacific zone are all seeing an influx of buyers. But there is more. There are some big-money players who are making some moves here that are notable. There are condominium complexes being constructed, and sold at a good clip. There are town homes, urbanization projects and upgrades to some of the antiquated infrastructure in some of these areas.

There is some talk of giving Uvita a facelift. This is much needed. With both Dominical and Ojochal, you turn off the coastal highway and drive into the town. In Uvita, the highway passes right through the town. Up till now its growth has happened with hardly any attention to the aesthetic and it is essentially a strip-mall, Costa Rican style.

This is a pity since Uvita could really have been (or be made to be) one of the most beautiful towns on the planet. So if these well funded entities see the beautifying of the town as in their best interests, great! Although it’s hard to imagine what can be done, short of tearing the whole thing down and starting over again.

The Envision Festival is going on currently. This has become one of the largest events of the year. Kudos to the organizers. I’ve heard that 7,000 people attended last year, but that about half that number are here now.

Uvita Costa Rica's Crunchy Envision Festival

2017 Envision Festival Uvita Costa Rica

Some of the Ticos complain a bit about Envision, claiming that the drugs, nudity and general licentiousness is disrespectful to their culture. I suspect that there is some truth to these allegations, but for me, I’ve never met an Envisioner I didn’t like and the festival provides a time of some fascinating people watching.

I’ve not  personally ever attended. I can hear the music from my home well, the bass notes anyway, and I routinely provide rides to those thumbing to the grocery store and back. There is also the complaint of them being a bit odoriferous, but I can’t speak to this having lost my olfactory sense some years back. So I get along fine with them in my car and always enjoy their upbeat spirit.

So between the time of year and world conditions, sales are good here in the Zone’s real estate market.

About Property Prices:
During the recession, there was not much of a market here. It hit hard and us realtors languished waiting for the anomalous inquiry that might result in a sale. I actually got into brokering hard money loans during this time in an effort to not only make a little commission, but to also help some land owners to not lose their properties.

Prices plummeted during the recession. This was an interesting time. The pre-recession time was a “boom”. The biggest challenge for a buyer then was being able to find an available real estate agent. I felt like I should put a Baskin Robbins “take a number” device at the door. Some of these buyers were our good-old bread and butter retirees, looking to retire to Costa Rica. However, there were lots of folks who refinanced their homes and then found themselves cash-rich and wondering what to do with it. The causes of the recession helped to fuel some of that heady boom and resulted in pushing prices up to a rather silly level.

So the fall of pricing some 40% – 50% during the recession could appropriately be called a correction.

Much of our land here is still at recession pricing. There hasn’t been a big upward push on prices since then. The demand for houses is strong and so we’re starting to see some upward movement there – all very rational though. This is no heady boom. Its simply that the inventory which was glutted post-recession, is finally starting to get mopped up. This was inconceivable in the years following the recession due to the glut.

I still get asked sometimes why it seems that everything is for sale. I find this interesting since I have to really work to find properties for some of the criteria lists I build for my clients.

Yes, I suppose everything is, in fact, for sale, at some price. However, finding what you want, finding that screaming ocean view with good access and amenities nearby, and all this in your budget, can sometimes be a bit daunting.

And then there is that wonderful amenity “simplicity”. I wonder if this could be put at the top of the list. Right up there with “ocean view”. I’m thinking that this one amenity is the primary mover of the current strong market we’re seeing here in The Zone.

Nov 172016
 
Suitcase for a move to Costa Rica

This article is a copy and paste from an e-mail with a couple that have purchased a property here in Uvita. They are moving from Canada and are going to build a primary home for their own full-time residence. Plus, they are going to build at least 3 rental cabinas that they will run as a business to support themselves.

They asked a series of questions about what to bring. They have sold what they have at home, and are moving, lock stock and barrel, to Costa Rica.

Suitcase for a move to Costa Rica

What to pack in a move to Costa Rica

Questions fer ya:
We are trying to figure out how much cash to bring… We want to buy an ATV within the first week of being there… What’s the best way to pay for it? We’re looking at ones around 5-6k Max… Do we use our CR Bank card? Write a check? What’s the best way to pay for large ticket items?
This is likely preaching to the choir but, you can only bring $9,999 on your person without having to declare it. This is something that I have done sin problema (without a problem). I’m not even really sure what the problem is with having to declare anything at or over $10,000. It may be a non-event, but I suspect that it will result in a bit of bureaucracy (man that is a crazy word to spell correctly).

 

And as we are packing the kitchen items we are wondering about a few items and if we can get there and/or if they are way pricey there!
  1. Sm shop vac – to keep the spiders away!!!

Y’all will likely want to sign up for membership at PriceSmart (Price-Ehsmart in Spanish). They’ve got shop-vacs there. I’m not sure about the

Buy a ShopVac in Costa Rica.

You can buy this one at PriceSmart in San Jose for about $200.00 USD

pricing, but at some point it becomes no longer worth it to always try and beat the system with getting lower prices elsewhere and then the hassle of getting the item(s) here. Peter and Mindi just told me the other day that they had bought their Shop-Vac at Price Ehsmart.

 

  1. Leaf blower (to bring later – its a hand held plug in type)
This would likely be a useful item here. They are not common so I don’t know about their availability nor pricing. Ditto the above comment for this. Maybe it’s available here. There is the “Get it There Jerry” service that lots of folks here use for bringing such things down.

 

  1. Should we bring our juicer? Are veggies for juicing readily available or are they expensive? Beets, carrots are our favourite and then any hard fruit that can be juiced i.e.: apples, pears

Yes (conditionally), bring your juicer. I have had a Champion juicer, as well as another high-dollar brand here in the past. These were a major hassle to clean. We used them as a family but eventually we all tired of the

Vita Mix

This author feels the VitaMix to be essential to life in Costa Rica, or anywhere for that matter.

hassle. I suspect there have been some design improvements over the years though. I now accept the oxidation hit that comes from using just a

Vitamix for all my juicing needs. This is a must-have item here (as we have discussed). I think that my regularity of using the thing and the high quality of kale, spinach, turmeric, carrots, bananas, papaya, flax etc… mostly organic, makes up whatever qualitative concerns there are between a blender that oxidationalizes over a juicer that just extracts the pure juice from the pulp. So, it’s a personal call.

  1. Thick duvet cover for our dogs to use on the back of the jeep (small dogs need some security lol) – can we buy an ugly polyester one for cheap somewhere?
I would think so. Nat is the queen of the Ropa Americana shops in San Isidro. She can help to find whatever. These shops usually have good prices. They’re akin to Salvation Army. We have found that the heavy packing blankets that one inherits from using a container to ship stuff to Costa Rica come in handy for such purposes.
 
 

 

  1. Chai seeds
Available here. Nuts and seeds are generally cost prohibitive to my way of thinking. I haven’t checked for a while, but I generally avoid buying these items here.
 
 

 

  1. Hemp seeds
Ain’t never seen these here. Getting in with the Tinamaste crowd would likely result in a broader selection of such things. I would bring what you can though. I’ve got a few items for which I just know what a 6 month supply is. I regularly bring these down with me every 6 mo. visit to the States: good tasting yeast, coconut oil, Dr. Bronners and so on. This list is changing however. There are more products here all the time and prices are changing both here and elsewhere. Ex: I’ll not be bringing Coconut oil back anymore due to the rising price of it in the States.
Ditto this on the Dr. Bronners, but not for pricing so much. I have a friend here in Playa Hermosa that sells Amway products. I buy my laundry detergent, toothpaste, bar-soap, bathroom cleaner etc… from him. This company seems to me to pay the requisite attention to biodegradability of both its products and its packaging (for the most part). Their toothpaste is more organiquer than “Tom’s”.
 
 

 

  1. Balsamic / white wine / etc vinegars

All vinegars are available here at the Poop (BM) Market. I make my chilero

Malt Vinegar is a bit frivolous due to the wonderful lemons that serve to brighten up the flavor of the abundant fresh fish here. But I still use it on occasion.

Roland Malt Vinegar is available at the grocery store in Uvita, along with other such liquids.

with Heinz apple cider vinegar. Synthetic (still not sure what that means with respect to vinegar) white vinegar for cleaning spray. Balsamic and malt vinegars are available here. The company “Roland” seems to fill the void with various products. They are more expensive but hey, what can you do.

 
  1. Any spices that you think we should bring? I have tumeric, cumin and spices like that packed
I buy all those here. Fresh turmeric is cheap (500 colones for a bag of roots at the farmers market). Cumin I pay about 700 colones for 1 oz of the dried powder, again at the Poop.
 
 

 

  1. Organic oatmeal (spelt is ideal)

There is oatmeal available here, but if you get into the specialty types,

BioLand Avena Oatmeal

Avena is Spanish for oatmeal. Bio Land sells some good organic foods in Costa Rica.

you’ll pay. Steel cut is occasionally here and expensive. I buy any brand of regular oatmeal that claims to be organic, and it’s not expensive. Bio-Land is a good bet here. However, anything other than just run-of-the-mill avena will be pricey.

 
  1. Good cereal – I have a cereal addiction and we like the ones made from quinoa and black beans – so in that zone of health
Quinoa is expensive here. I don’t buy it for this reason. Bring a supply. Black, white, red, lentils and garbanzo beans are plentiful and good here, and affordable.
 
 

 

  1. Chocolate almond milk (to go on the cereal)
Almond milk is available here, but due to pricing is not on my shopping list. Your call.
Liquids are tough to bring. When I’ve brought Dr. Bronners soap or coconut oil, I cut a rectangle of cardboard and wrap the bottle in a layer or 2 of the carboard and then tape it so that it’s secure. You don’t want to open your suitcase to find everything covered in oil.
 
 

 

  1. 70% or higher dark chocolate – there’s a theme here
Yes, this is available but I’m not qualified to speak to the pricing of it. There is a gal at the farmers market that sells it. There are lots of cacao plants around the country so I suspect you’d be able to find a cottage source for your habit.
 
 

 

  1. Rice noodles

I think this is here. I have found Roland’s Organic Buckwheat Soba

Roland Buckwheat Soba Noodles.

These buckwheat Soba Noodles make a mean spaghetti.

noodles are to die for.

 
  1. Medications? We have a Costco size of Aleve already lol
This will likely be a good difference here price-wise. You might have to find equivalents in other brands, but medications are readily available. I’m not well versed in this actually, but Big Pharma is great at getting its junk everywhere.
 
 

 

  1. Any other food recommendations that you think we might like that we can’t get there please add – we like our healthy options!!!
Sheesh! Not sure what could be added to this list. But I’ll give it some thought and letchoo know if I come up with something.
 
Just thought I’d share.
May 262016
 
Whales Tail view property Uvita

Updated on January 19, 2018. This particular article can be used as a guide for available under $100,000 ocean view properties in the market. I’ll make every effort to keep it up to date but you might want to check with me for availability.

One of the things you can count on when you are a real estate agent in Costa Rica. The question: “how is the market there?” Perhaps not a daily occurrence, but almost. I was asked this today. One of the consistent qualities of “the market” here is that there are always those that are looking for the under $100k ocean view lots. If you find yourself in this category, this article is for you.

Under $100k Ocean View Lot Uvita Costa Rica

Ocean view from a $92k lot in Uvita – BV 5 SOLD

 

First off, who are you? Obviously, the budget minded buyer, perhaps limited in available expendable cash. But that ocean view is a gotta have! There are also those that already have a property here in Costa Rica and they simply want an income generating property, or an additional property for visiting friends or family. And they too, really want to offer an ocean view to the mix. Don’t want to be sticking the mother in law down in a hole somewhere with no air motion and (gasp!) no ocean view. Then there are the spec home builders. They are looking to reduce their initial investment to maximize profits. I suspect that there are some others that I’m not noting here, but I think that you get the point. This group of buyers applies to many who are interested in property here in Costa Rica.

Big Whales Tail view in Uvita Costa Rica

Shabam View – $85k ocean view. High-dollar view for low-dollar – SOLD

As mentioned in the title, in the current market here in Costa Rica’s southern pacific zone, the under $100k ocean view property is going the way of the dodo. I’ve checked my own inventory as well as made a search of some of the other agencies in The Zone to see what they’ve got. They’re getting scarce. I provide a list of links at the end of this article of some of these under $100k’ers.

This is the second countdown on this type of properties that I’ve experienced in my career. I think that it was in 2006. We did a countdown and I remember the day when the last of the breed got snapped up. From that point onward we simply had to say to such buyers: “I’m sorry but ocean view properties start at $125k”. Then gradually up to “$145k”. Then, the crash. Then, the recovery. Then the glut on the market of desperate sellers who have finally cycled to the “conciliation” state of the acceptance cycle and had the mindset of: “whatever it takes. Sell that thing!”

That was the period that the word “fire-sale” characterizes very well. There were lots of fire-sales. These sellers had ocean view properties on the market for years. That’s right, plural – “years”. “Do not let that prospect walk away from the table” was the common message from the buyer to his agent.

That was clearly a buyer’s market. It is now gradually shifting over to a seller’s market. There are still some good options out there, but we are in that period of time prior to when this type and price of property is simply no longer available

Currently Available Sold since starting the list
  • Bruce’s Baby
  • BV 6
  • Shabam View
  • Whale of a View
  • BV 5
  • Rod’s Dominicalito
May 162012
 

Has the Costa Rica real estate market hit the bottom? As realtors in Costa Rica we frequently get asked this question, so we decided to share our thoughts on why there are signs pointing toward a positive answer. Regardless of what we think, more and more people are retiring, relocating, and investing in Costa Rica real estate. Thanks for watching and if you have a minute, please comment in the section below and “Like” this video on YouTube. The “Like” helps us reach more people interested in buying and selling Costa Rica real estate.

www.hotcostaricarealestate.com

Apr 282012
 


 

The Guys In The Zone discuss the state of the Costa Rica real estate market in Uvita. What does an abundance of property options–lots, large parcels, houses, and commercial–mean for buyers? Why are so many families and retirees relocating to Costa Rica? Drawing on nearly 15 years of experience, Ben and Rod answer these questions and more.

Jan 272012
 
Costa Rica real estate evaluation in progress

“How much is my property worth?”

Right from the Guys in the Trenches. Here is how we evaluate property, and where we/I think property values are going. Please note that this article is written by me, Ben, and that these ideas can vary from one real estate professional to the other, even within a single office. Rod may have contrasting ideas on these points.

Replacement Cost:

Costa Rica real estate

Appraising a Costa Rica Property.

The starting point the Costa Rica real estate professional uses in order to evaluate a property in today’s market is to calculate Replacement Cost.

Raw Land: We assign a value to the land. This value is based on market knowledge – ongoing efforts to sell, and of course, actual sales of land in the area. The value of a piece of raw land will get a surprisingly consistent evaluation amongst various agents polled. However, I’ll be putting a bit of a challenge on this point in a bit.

Construction Value: After establishing the value of the land as though there were nothing on it, we then measure the square footage of the house and assign it a price per square foot. Such is the life of a Costa Rica expat real estate agent. We live in a world where land size is referred to in metric (square meters – hectares) and houses in U. S. units (square feet).

The square foot value of a house is going to be bracketed somewhere around the $100.00 (USD) per foot. Contributing factors to this evaluation are: finishes, distance up the hill, steepness of the hill.

We are assuming that the basic foundation, drainage, and wall construct are dictated by universal laws that aren’t negotiable from one house to another. In Costa Rica you’ve got a few material choices, but the prices don’t really vary that much between them.  Concrete block is likely the most common. Cement panels are gaining some traction. Structural insulated panels are used by a number of builders. The use of wood in building is growing with Balinese architecture enjoying a fashionable presence in the market.

The construction of the roof can vary quite a bit and consequently can affect the per foot value. I know of one house in the zone that has a poured cement roof. This is cool stuff – absolute quiet during heavy duty rain storms, but we are talking HEAVY.

Less expensive roofs vary from the poured cement, to insulated sandwich layers, to tin with a dropped ceiling (the noisiest).

It is, arguably, the finishes that have the most direct effect on the value of the house. Granite counter tops – really fine plumbing fixtures, tiles and the details of the pool will push the bracket into the “over $100 per foot” range.

A pool adds $20,000 to $30,000 to the price.

Here is an example evaluation that I just did yesterday in my offce:

Raw land, $110,000

A 2,600 square foot house at $120 per foot. This particular house is located in an area that requires four wheel drive, so the shuttling of materials increased the per foot price quite a bit –
$312,000
+ $110,000
$422,000.

Pool – $30,000

Replacement cost – $455,000

So, what do we do with this number? These people have dedicated a year of their lives to building this house.  They flew to Costa Rica every 6 weeks to check in on the progress and of course, make the innumerable decisions that need to be made in such a project. What is that worth?

Merciless Market:
Well, frankly, this is the part that the Costa Rica real estate market doesn’t really pay much heed to. The big consideration at this point is, do we offer to sell your house at replacement cost, above replacement cost, or below? In today’s world, pushing the price above replacement cost is a function of the real estate Guy’s market insight. We are in a Buyer’s Market.

The agent will consider the desirability of the property. The view, the access, the privacy, the air motion and so on – the general niceness of the property are all considered.  Based on this criteria, there can be some upward movement from the raw replacement cost.

Perplexation:
Here is where it can get a bit strange. There are some houses that are priced below replacement cost.  How can this be?!? The land has an asset value, and the construction costs are fixed and don’t vary too awfully much from one source to another.

I am working on a new theory about this phenomenon in evaluating Costa Rica real estate

In my ruminations of this topic, I have come to conclude that there are two rational areas that we might have misjudged the value of a property. There is a third that can simply be explained by the seller being intensely motivated by desperation.

The Rational Considerations

Consideration #1 – The seller ran amok with making their construction and design a declaration of their personal individuality with the result that nobody in their right mind is going to want to live in such a structure. In order to buy the property and then live in it, the buyer will be taking on some serious expenses in order to make it livable for their purpose. The sale price is going to have to be adjusted down to accommodate these expenses.

Consideration #2 – I got the value of the land wrong. It’s not really worth what I said it is. This is the one that gets me, and brings about some interesting questions. Is land value here in Costa Rica really lower than what we are willing to admit? Hmmmmm…

What is NEVER factored in:
How much the seller has into the property.

I’m going to write more on the evaluation of property in our Costa Rica real estate market place. We have had some interesting discussions as of late with the vibrations of increasing buyer activity here in The Zone.

Jan 012012
 
Consider the cost of living in Costa Rica.

Please see part 1 if you haven’t already.

My e-mail inbox, and Facebook, and LinkedIn messages, repeatedly urged me to go to the Wall Street Journal to read this article. It appears that my friends know my interests.

I spend much of my days talking with people who are interested in making Costa Rica their home. Real estate occupies a fundamental place in this decision hence, the referrals to this article, written by a couple of 60-some gals that relocated to Playa Naranjo on the Gulf of Nicoya, 5 hours north of where I live in Uvita Costa Rica.

Consider the cost of living in Costa Rica.

Does and early retirement to Costa Rica cut expenses in half?

Cost of Living in Costa Rica

In detailing out living expenses here, the author (Vicki) says that she has cut her living expenses in half:

We spend about $50 a week on food (for two people). Native fare is rice and beans (about $2 for about two pounds), potatoes, yucca, onions, red peppers and carrots (about 25 cents each). For $1 you can buy three cantaloupes, or two avocados, or four mangos, or three oranges (in season), a watermelon, or a whole pineapple and enough fish to feed two. Two pounds of ground beef (86% lean) or boneless chicken cost about $4. On occasion, I’ll splurge, paying about $6 for a bag of Cheetos or miniature chocolates.

I am one of those guys that doesn’t pay much attention to what stuff costs at the grocery store. This is not due to vast wealth, although I suspect that the wealthy are among the most vigilant of such things. That is likely one of the reasons why they are wealthy.

What I do pay attention to is when something is outrageously expensive, like walnuts, and cheese. Peanut butter is prohibitive and only the not-good-for-you-hydrogenated-oils-added type is available anyway. This is a bummer for those of us that thrive on peanut butter on bananas. Here we live where bananas grow like weeds, and there isn’t a decent source for quality peanut butter. Give me a break! Such are the ironies of life.

So, I’ll go with Vickie’s report on the costs of various staples.

Housing prices are off their highs of two or three years ago. You can buy a nice two-bedroom home on about an acre of land for between $100,000 and $300,000. My utility bill is $50 to $150 a month, depending on how much I use the air conditioning. My property tax last year was under $100.

You can get a good idea of housing prices in The Zone by looking around this blog. It would seem that houses are a bit less expensive in Playa Naranjo if Vicki has her numbers right. Although, maybe not. I understand that up north there are lots of small, 1/4 acre, piano key style housing developments. Since we don’t have this type of property here, we are not comparing mangoes with mangoes. Most lot sizes here are multi-acres and have ocean views.

Having said that, we do have one house that is actually quite nice starting out our housing options at $150,000.

Uvita Ocean View Cabin

Ocean view mountain cabin in Uvita Costa Rica 2 bedroom, 2 bath, ocean view, wood constructed cabin in Uvita. Price just reduced to $150,000.

This is a bit of an anomaly. I would typify our house options as starting at around the $250,000 – $300,000 range, and go up from there.

Expense: Electricity – Pools and Air Conditioning

So much depends on how you want to live. I don’t have air conditioning, but I find that a pool is nearly indispensable here in Costa Rica.

Electricity is expensive here. As with so many things here in Costa Rica, the powers that be are saddled with the challenge of two extremely different economic strata living together in one country. There is a graduated use scale for billing electricity consumption. They seem to have done a pretty good job of determining how to really nail the primary consumers and leave the simple, non-consuming farmers alone.

Unfortunately, the high cost of “luz” as electricity is called in Costa Rica, affects the price of food. The cost of running all those refrigeration boxes in a grocery store is the primary expense of running such a business and affects the price on the non-refrigerated peanut butter, which is the real tragedy of this story.

There are a number of different strategies for dealing with the high cost of electricity here in Costa Rica. One couple I know feel that there is a time of day, when the demand is low, when you get more kilowatt bang for the buck. So they set up to do their laundry in the wee hours of the morning. Others say that this is simply not true and that there is no timing involved with the billing of electricity.

On properties where there is more than one structure, like a main house with a guest house, you can run two meters, one for each building. This helps economize on the scaled, consumption based billing of ICE (EE-say, not ice) the electric company.

Pools, refrigerators and air conditioning are the primary contenders for causing a shock with the monthly electric bill. One trick that I learned from a veteran expat pool owner, is to ignore the traditional pool care procedures and instead do this.

Run your filter for a couple hours a day only. This will obviously cut down on electrical consumption. However, the thought is that you need to filter all of your water, once a day. So, you calculate the amount of water you’ve got, with the amount of water that your filter filters per hour, and you’ll likely come up with the need to run your filter for 4 hours.

Well, ignore that.

Go with the two hours. Use your tester to make sure that you always have the right amount of chlorine in your pool. I switched from a salt pool over to chlorine for economic reasons, so I’m not talking here about salt. You’ve got to run the filter to get the salt/chlorine conversion, and that requires longer runs of the filter, which makes economizing on electricity difficult if not impossible.

When the 2 hour cycle starts, gradually pour a half cup to a cup of granulated chlorine into your pool’s skimmer. I have gone for months with this program with no problem. We do, on occasion have problems, but not any more than the normal amount for pool owners, and our electricity bills went down.

Disclaimer: I am no pool expert. We have had problems now that have required professional help to clear up, but I think that most people with pools have such concerns, even when they are doing the conventional, electricity-gobbling pool care system. Also, if you decide you want to try this program, really keep an eye on your pool. Learn how to use additives like “Shock” and “PH” powders. If you see any discoloration in your tile or grout, you’ve probably got algae. Get rid of it. I use a steel brush and swim around with a mask and snorkel prowling for any irregularities.

My but I do carry on. There is so much more to say on this topic of retiring to Costa Rica.

Gratuitous use of my primary search term for Google purposes: Costa Rica Real Estate

More Retire Early to Costa Rica coming soon.

Oct 032011
 

I was excited to find the Poll functionality on LinkedIn a couple of weeks ago. The question I came up with “What is the top reason to buy land in Costa Rica’s southern Pacific zone?” seemed like a good jumping off point for this regular feature on the blog. Although the sample size was small, the responses were revealing.

Low Property Tax
Costa Rica’s property tax rate is .25% on registered value. That means if you buy a $400,000 house in Uvita, you will pay $1,000 in property tax, plus another $1,000 (or .25%) for the new Luxury Tax passed in 2010. Your total annual property tax bill will be $2,000 which is a third of what you will pay in Houston, Texas.

Investment Value
If we can agree that people want safe, beautiful, and affordable environments to live in, then the southern Pacific zone of Costa Rica has to make that list. Clearly, “affordable” is a relative term. Some clients have $50,000 for a house, some have $1.5 million; however, this market has dipped according to the simple dynamics of Supply and Demand. An ocean view property (only 8 minutes from Uvita) listed for $30,000 was unheard of five years ago, yet now we have it (Sunny Josecito). In fact, we have access to just about every type of investment in every property category.

Growth Potential
I can’t tell you how many times per week people ask me when the International Airport will be completed in Palmar. Given the fact that construction has not started, it is a difficult question to answer. Eventually, it will be constructed (for better or for worse), and the area and property values will grow as a result. I state this with a fair degree of conviction because I’ve seen what paving the Costanera (Coastal Highway) and re-paving the road between San Isidro and Dominical has done for the area. I believe if it weren’t for those two improvements, the downturn would have hit our area much harder.

Walk-Dog-Beach

Walking the dog on your favorite beach.

Weather and Beaches
Today (Sept. 29th, 2011) marks the middle of the rainy season, yet we had sun with its accompanying ocean breeze all day long. The evenings are typically cool, especially if your house is strategically located facing the Pacific Ocean and its beaches. Speaking of beaches, The Zone has something for every sun lover. You want to surf or watch surfing, go to Dominical. You want a good dog-walking beach, go to Playa Hermosa. You want to do some cave exploring, go to Playa Ventanas. I’ve spent more time on the ocean the past 4 years than in my entire life in California, because the water is warm, dare I say perfect, year round.

Relaxing Lifestyle
According to our voters, this is the top reason to buy land in Costa Rica. You don’t realize how stressful life is in the progressive Western world, until you move here. Both Ben and I came from Santa Cruz and Aspen, gorgeous towns in California and Colorado, respectively. We lived the typical cycle of working hard and playing hard, and then right back to working hard again. We were surrounded by friends, family and neighbors who were stressed by this same cycle and material pressures. It all added up to a simple yet consistent desire for change. Without question, Costa Rica presents an opportunity to slooooow down and simplify. Sometimes I surf in the morning, sometimes I walk a big farm. There’s no rushing to Starbucks on the way to pick up the dry cleaning. Here, we sit down and enjoy our coffee. We wear shorts and flip flops. If anything, life in The Zone is indeed relaxing.

So, yes there are many reasons to buy land in Costa Rica. Whether as an investment, as a relocation destination, or simply as a place to visit and unplug for a couple of weeks in the winter… The Zone will not disappoint.

Aug 182011
 

If you as a seller are finding that an agency does not respond to repeated “nudges”, it may be time to ask the question: “do you not want this listing for some reason?  Do you feel that there is a problem with my listing or that it is overpriced?”.

Please keep in mind, dear seller, that the only way that the real estate agency makes any money for the time that they invest in your listing, is if they sell it.  The Costa Rica real estate market has recently taken a 40 – 50% reduction across the board and there are still many sellers that feel that their property is an exception.  Or they may be willing to wait until the market comes up again to sell.

Some agencies are reluctant to speak with candor about such concerns.

Interested in Costa Rica real estate as an investment. They primarily live somewhere else, but they own property in Costa Rica for the asset appreciation potential as well as possible rental income. Some just buy and hold (land-bank). For developed properties, the investor has a vacation home to visit as desired.

Migrators spend a regular amount of time in Costa Rica during each year.

Re-locators are those that are looking to move to Costa Rica from wherever they are. They will live full-time in Costa Rica.