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Everything posted by Harriet411

  1. That would be lovely, Paul. We will be staying there September 27 - October 3 (or an additional week if need be. She already said additional time is fine. There's something to be said for starting off during the rainy season!). So any breakfast (other than the 27th of course) we'll be there and would most happily enjoy meeting you...along with a bit of 'brain-picking'
  2. Paul, We have our reservations at Vida Tropical for the end of September. Isabel seems very nice and we are very grateful for the recommendation! Muchas Gracias!!
  3. I just figured we could rent somewhere and pay for the month and even if we stayed only a week (or less even), it would be cheaper than a hotel. The month would still be paid for, no one gets ripped off,but just because we paid for that one month doesn't mean we have to sleep there the whole time. Thank you very much for the B&B idea, it's probably what I'll do since they allow pets and shipping pets later as cargo is much more paperwork and hassle... (and more expensive) than checking them with you as luggage on the same flight. It was recommended several places to try and avoid shipping as cargo unless you have no other choice. But back to the B&B, even with her reasonable prices it's $350.00 a week which is $1400.00 a month. A cheap monthly rental somewhere is equal to a week or so at the B&B. And even with a B&B or hotel, you don't know what you're getting. i.e. I know someone who's room was robbed at her hotel, but it was advertised as "a safe, friendly neighborhood". Since you've stayed at this B&B personally, I can at least know it's a good, safe place. If either of you personally knew of a monthly rental it would amount to the same thing. I'd at least know something about it. That's why I haven't gone with the online classifieds. No one to recommend the area or anything else. David...thank you for the guesstimate. True that it's better to budget high and come in low than the opposite, that's for sure.
  4. Thank you Paul! That's good to know they're trying. I know a law was passed regarding equal access a number of years ago, but even with the law in effect, funding is the problem. I can understand that. CR has a lot of infrastructure things it needs to work on and has limited funds to do them. It also takes time, but seeing ramps being installed is a great sign, indeed! So Alajuela Centro might be a good choice to check out further. We're looking for a rental house (house, not apt.) that will allow 2 dogs.(Well trained, well-behaved sweet dogs). Know of any around for $500/mo or less? We only have 2 months left before we move so I need to get a rental set up soon. I believe it David. How a space is set up makes a huge difference. Do you mind my asking..(and you can give me a rough ballpark. I don't want it to feel too personal) how much it would cost to build a structure of about that size? Not the property or anything else...just the structure itself. David, do you know of a house for rent that will allow 2 dogs? (they're very friendly and fully house-trained so they don't mess anything up. They're good dogs). We only have 2 months to go. I'd pay the deposit now for a monthly just to secure it. We've got to start somewhere and then from that first place, we can worry about finding a longer-term rental and really start our 'town investigation'. That and acclimating to the new culture and new life we are about to embark on. It's so exciting! And 2 months is nothing. I almost feel like I don't have enough time left, even though we've been planning for over a year and have all of our paperwork on-track, movers scheduled, all that good stuff but it feels like crunch time anyway. It didn't help that I lost more than a week of productivity when I became gravely ill. I'm just getting better from that now, but I was bad enough that we we're scared. My husband is very difficult to rattle and he was a wreck, poor thing. I felt so sorry for him. But that tells you how awfully sick I was. But anytime I had a lucid moment of thought, all I could think of was everything we should be doing to get ready and what a waste of time being sick was. But, the rest of the time, I couldn't talk and was totally unresponsive (scary, huh?). When I seemed awake and was asked a question, my answers made no sense. (So they say. I don't remember any of that lol). But enough of that. I can function again and that's what matters. Let me know (either of you) if you think of anything that would work for us. I'm so grateful for all of the assistance and advice from you here.
  5. Thanks Shea! Disappointing to hear, but good to know. Even though I am not in a wheelchair yet (though I do rarely use it even now), I don't want to move somewhere that isn't accessible. I could easily find myself permanently in a chair one day and to be stuck into a town we bought property in but I can't get around in would be awful. Any good places you can think of please let me know. Your advice is much appreciated
  6. Shirley - I put this in my original post, but I said 'attainable'. Thank you very much for letting me know that 'attainable' is not enough and that those things need to already be there. I appreciate that because that could have easily been a big pitfall for us. David - I did talk about the suggestion you made based on your friends' octagonal house with the bedrooms off to the side. I like the concept, but if we do something like that, we'd adjust down the central room's size and I didn't make that clear. Sorry for any confusion. I think 930' will be fine (for us). We're almost always in the same room anyway. Even in this 2000 sq. ft. (+ basement brings it close to 3000' ) house we live in now, we live in less than 1/3 of it. The basement just collects junk. My bedroom is on the first floor so we never go upstairs either. We live exclusively on the first floor and even there where we have a den and a living room, the living room is never used. So we live in a small den, kitchen, bedroom, and bath. What an incredible waste of space, isn't it? (not to mention a waste of utilities as well). So, I like small but want it to feel spacious, hence the yurt-esque idea. The only other thing we need is somewhere for me to paint. I'm a portrait artist so when the house is finished, we'd like to build a small studio for me on the same property. (Another reason we need to be careful with spending on the main house...we need some leftover for a studio). I could work in the main house, but it would be cramped and probably not good to sleep with the fumes. Savannahjo - Thank you for the head's up about San Ramon. We'll check that out more thoroughly when we get there, but it's good to keep in mind. We need to stay in the Central Valley and more specifically we need to avoid anywhere it gets extremely hot and/or humid. Extreme cold is bad but I don't think you get the extreme cold I mean...below 45F/7C. All are very bad for MS.( Cool/coldish nights are fine though). And it needs to be close enough for medical assistance. And I'd rather not be in SJ. Within a reasonable driving distance to it is good, though. That's why our initial choice has been Atenas, it fits all those criteria, but that's based on reading alone and it's simply not possible to know until we see it for ourselves. We want to rent there for a while..and rent in a few other towns as well. I'm sure there are some I'd just fall in love with that I haven't even heard of yet. Actually, if any of you guys can think of towns that fit those criteria please feel free to suggest them.
  7. Thanks David. Good advice. I'm a little confused about the house size comment though. The house I have in mind would only be 930 sq. feet..smaller than yours. I want small. The house I have now is too big and it's senseless space. The ~930 ft sq. includes the kitchen, bedroom/sleeping area, living room, bathroom. Only if I added an addition would it be larger but our original intention was the round structure only, with areas divided up much the same way a converted warehouse loft is divided so 930 ft. sq. seems fine, don't you think? Regarding the architect, I'll take your advice. It's sound advice and makes sense. Though my husband's civilian experience was indeed "stick-built' houses, he also constructed cement bunkers in the Iraq war. He was infantry, but in a war, you do what you're good at so when they weren't fighting, he worked on constructing their base. (He was there during the initial invasion so there was nothing in place). So he's done a bit of everything, but having someone who's specialty is CR construction, particularly when you tell me it's not too expensive, is worth it. I'm sure there are other ways we can cut costs. Our budget isn't too bad...we don't need loans (which I hear are nearly impossible to get anyway), but I don't want to spend every dime we have either. I'm aware of the terrain and know there's not much flat, particularly in the areas we're currently interested in so yes, a little leveling won't do the trick at all. And I wouldn't buy property without a consultation regardless. I've heard horror stories from people not actually owning the land they're 'selling' or some other issue with deeds and ownership to land that won't 'perk'...but you can't check to see if it 'perks' unless you own it. A bit of a catch-22 I don't want to get stuck in. Thank you for the great advice. It is much appreciated!
  8. ..and thank you Dana as well! I was typing up my reply to David when you posted yours so I didn't see it until after I was finished. I don't see why that design couldn't be adapted either.
  9. Thank you David! Yes, that's great to hear that it worked out successfully for your friends (the second time at least ). You're right about electrical and plumbing potentially plaguing any construction. The house I'm currently living in I had built 10 years ago (unfortunately before I met my husband) and they screwed up a number of things big-time. But regarding the 'yurt', you are indeed correct...they are flat panels that wind up as a roundish structure. As an example, for a 35' diameter (10.66 m) house, twenty seven 4' (1.21 m) panels are used. With so many panels, it's close to round. The height of the wall can be whatever, though I'd like a taller wall so we would do 9' or 10' (3 m or so). Better for keeping cool and it feels roomier and in a small space, that helps a lot. This would make a 930 sq. feet (283.46 sq. m) house. Not large, but not too tiny. It's just the two of us. But with a bedroom or two radiating from the center it would add a bedroom and guest room (+bathrooms). The yurt-like structure with 27 'walls' winds up pretty round, but not perfectly so. Some people drywall the interior to make it really round. But I'd prefer a light wood interior, if I can find a wood termites don't like. Octagonal is also something we've discussed. It's a similar feel with less tediousness in terms of getting so many walls angled just right. And it still has that open, airy space I'm looking for. With picture windows dispersed nicely throughout and a ceiling that follows the roof-line, the same wonderful light effect should happen. Have you seen their house and, if so, what did you think? Did they use a local contractor or did they do it themselves as contractors with local builders? Did they do their own architectural drawings or have them drawn up? (I know they have to be stamped and approved, but depending on your friends' respective lines of expertise they could have done it themselves). If they used a local architect, would you mind asking for the name? My husband can site-manage as the contractor, but building plans have to account for so many variants and that's the realm of an architect. Sorry for the litany of questions, but you've made my day
  10. I wrote my reply regarding insulating the roof due to this comment from Epicatt who said it would be deafening. The 'yurt' does have an aluminum/tin roof. It just has insulation and wood on the inside, not the outside. I also explained about the wood siding because someone at the beginning of the thread said a yurt would be impossible to secure so clearly there was some confusion about what I meant regarding a yurt vs. a yurt-style house. A yurt-style house is a much more appropriate description so thank you for that DanaJ. I'm not struggling with concepts. I have been merely clarifying and responding to posters' comments and questions. As I already live in a handicapped accessible house, I don't find them to be too 'friendly'. However, I like the idea of the open floor plan with just a simple bedroom on each side and a pyramid shaped roof as DanaJ mentioned. But there is something beautiful and pleasing (to me) about a circular house and the lovely ceilings they produce. The light inside one is pure magic. When possible, a house should be something you love. I've lived in plenty of homes I didn't love and a few that I did and when given a choice, I want to build something that makes me happy to be in. I just happen to love the structure of a yurt and have always wanted to live in one. My husband is an excellent builder and general contractor so much of the work he will do himself with Ticos to assist with labor. I know we have to pay CAJA fees and all of that as well as their salary, so no need for the warnings on that front. I have read on other threads that people have done it that way (with themselves as the general contractor) and it worked out well and they were able/allowed to do it. Blueprints are likely the option we will go with, assuming we go with this style of house. For the sake of saving time for my husband, I was curious about the duty-taxes to see if it would be more practical to have the walls and roofing pre-finished and shipped. The compression ring required for the roof and the roof in general is a bear, but certainly within his capacity to do it himself. I am absolutely open to ideas about other structures and plan to check out a multitude of houses once we are there. My original question was for something a year away from now. I like to gather as much information as possible, as early as possible, so that when the time comes, I am comfortable with my decision. For example, even moving to CR, which we are doing this September, is something I've researched and planned for well over a year. (We also looked into other countries, but CR won us over for many reasons.) I spent (and am still spending) countless hours researching the good, the bad, and the ugly. I like to do that with any major decision and building a house fits that category. Regarding health care, this is something I have researched in depth with both my physicians here and physicians in CR. One neurologist from the MS center I go to here was born and raised in CR and his father is a practicing neurologist in San Jose. They have already been in touch regarding my case and he has my files. I wouldn't consider moving anywhere without addressing that first and foremost. My current GP speaks fluent Spanish and lived in South America for 7 years...(he's also married to a woman from Chile). Although any GP (general practitioner) I choose will have to be bilingual until my Spanish improves, his fluency in Spanish will aid in communication with local doctors. But the big issue, the neurologist, is something I've already taken care of. They are also both very supportive of my moving there and think it will be beneficial to me and could possibly improve some of the coordination/mobility problems I have. I am not foolish enough to think moving will be some magical cure. It may very well affect nothing. That's o.k. and I accept that as the more likely outcome, but I will be happy and that counts for a lot. We've both lived overseas in many places, including some 'developing nations'/'3rd world countries' so I do know what to expect to some extent. Living in another country is different and if you've never done it, it can be quite shocking and to some, upsetting. My mother, for one, HATED it every time. She isn't one to adapt easily. Thankfully, my husband and I both have experienced overseas living and are prepared for it. I always loved it and so did he. I enjoy the differences and happily embrace new cultures. We like learning new languages and have done so in every place we've lived. We're adaptable people. Don't let the yurt fool you Would you mind asking the other poster with mobility issues if it's alright to give me his/her name...not their real one, just the one she/he uses on the forum. That would be great if you can.
  11. ..oh..and the ceiling is absolutely finished. An exposed aluminum roof would be horrid anywhere, not just in CR. It's insulated and then covered with beautiful wood. Here are some pictures of the interior ceiling and a few exterior examples.
  12. Yikes! Termites If we do this, it's finished with an oiled knotty pine interior and cedar for the exterior.
  13. Oh no...we're absolutely renting first. We wouldn't be doing this (or buying any other house if that's what we decide) for at least a year. I was just asking about the duty tax out of curiosity. I like to know things ahead of time to see if it's feasible or practical.
  14. Thank you for your reply. You make a good point. Regarding securing items, you are absolutely right with a fabric yurt and lattice walls. However, this yurt has wood walls inside and out along with regular glass windows, not the sewn in vinyl windows. It should be no easier or more difficult than a standard house to break-in to. Two very large dogs helps, too I just like the openness of the yurt design and the beautiful ceiling that it creates. The ceilings truly are lovely. They also stay quite cool naturally as you can vent heat through the top (lockable) skylight. My other reason for wanting a yurt design although this one is built like a regular house with wood, is that I have multiple sclerosis and although I am not in a wheelchair yet, there may come a day when I am. I do own one and have already had to use it occasionally when the MS is bad. I also have a walker I sometimes need to use. That open design makes it much easier and more comfortable to get around in than a traditional house. I have a traditional house now that was built to be handicapped accessible and even in my handicapped-friendly house, on walker/wheelchair days it's annoying to navigate.
  15. We would like to buy land and construct a yurt as our home for various reasons. I am aware of the restrictions regarding ocean property, but that is not an issue. We would like to build near Atenas or San Ramon. I know we need to check for things such as water, electricity availability, and if internet service is attainable as well as a thorough check on the deed and who really owns the land that is for sale, etc. But my real question is does anyone know the tax rate on importing building materials into CR? If we were to buy our yurt here in the States unassembled and have it shipped in, what would be the tax rate? Alternatively, does anyone know of a yurt company within CR that we could possibly work with? Thank you for your help!
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