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  1. The national registry is not involved with collection of property taxes. The local municipalities collect the property taxes. You can pay your property taxes on-line with an account at Banco de Costa Rica.
  2. Construction costs are not standard throughout Costa Rica. Costs increase outside of the central valley. The bottom line is that building costs per square foot are determined by the building contract and construction specifications agreed to between the owner and the builder. Take a look at www.costaricahomebuilder.com and go to the "documents" page and select "construction specifications" in order to determine some of the options you can select from. Later, Tom
  3. It is best not to try the "Do It Yourself" method. Some people, in trying to save some dollars in professional fees, avoid the work of finding a good consultant to perform proper due diligence that is in their favor. There is no yellow brick road in Costa Rica. Do your homework, just as you would do in the real world. Find professionals, whom you can communicate with, and stay with them for as long as they continue to provide good work. Good luck! Before closing on a property that you intend to build on, you need to make absolutely certain that you'll be able to obtain a building permit for your construction plans. Do not rely on the opinion of the seller or sales agent concerning the ease of obtaining permits. This is technical advice that they are not qualified to provide. Hire an unbiased professional to make certain the property has sufficient water, electricity, telephone and drainage. Consider his services as inexpensive insurance that can save you a lot of money and grief down the road. Don't rely on the seller's opinion that these services are obtainable. Many purchasers find out too late that the cost to bring the utilities to their property ends up costing far more than they were told. It's little surprises like this that can end up costing you a bundle and ultimately depletes the funds you originally budgeted for the construction of your dwelling.
  4. Here are a couple of local papers with info on what's been happening. Panama America http://www.pa-digital.com.pa/diario/index.php and La Prensa http://www.prensa.com/hoy/portada.shtml and then for those of you who are condemned to reading your news only in English, The Miami Herald section of La Prensa http://www.prensa.com/hoy/herald/1264746.html
  5. I have a well-educated friend in Panama who has been living and working there for over 4 years, and has a water view condo in the city and farms for sale near David. I asked her what this group was, and she explained, "Trotsky was a Russian communist that differed from Lenin and Marx and broke off. I heard it was real bad in the city. Last night they cleared them all out" From Wikipedia: Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. Trotsky considered himself an orthodox Marxist and Bolshevik-Leninist, arguing for the establishment of a vanguard party. His politics differed sharply from those of Stalinism, most importantly in declaring the need for an international proletarian revolution (rather than socialism in one country) and unwavering support for a true dictatorship of the proletariat based on democratic principles. Numerous groups around the world continue to describe themselves as Trotskyist, although they have diverse interpretations of Trotsky's writings. Trotskyist groups include; CWI • FI(ICR) • ICFI IMT • IST • IWL reunified FI Panama City, Panama - Construction workers clashed with riot police Wednesday in several cities in Panama, one day after a worker was shot dead during a street protest. Television footage showed a group of workers praying for colleagues injured or dead in the clashes as a police officer shot tear gas at them. Other footage showed workers throwing stones, sticks and metal bars at police. Workers waving red flags and banners blocked streets and roads and shouted slogans against several members of the government. Thousands of drivers were trapped in the clashes, in which police used tear gas and pellets. Angry demonstrators barricaded themselves in exclusive areas of Panama City, where many luxury buildings are being built. Police said in a statement that riot police "used the level of force required to clear roads and restore order." The protest had originally been summoned by construction sector trade union Suntracs, which accused the government of carrying out a "dirty campaign" against trade-union leaders. Panamanian President Martin Torrijos denied the allegations, and on Wednesday he called upon workers to call off the protests, promising a probe on the death of worker Iromi Smith. Smith was killed on Tuesday in a clash with police in the city of Colon, 80 kilometres north-east of Panama City, on the Caribbean. "We have made a call to tolerance and sanity," Torrijos said. He added that "violence is not the way to put forward demands." Public Works Minister Benjamin Colamarco denounced that the protests did not seem spontaneous and claimed they had been provoked by Trotskyist groups. Protests took place in Panama City, Colon, San Carlos, Rio Hato, Penonome, Santiago de Veraguas and David, in western Panama, where workers occupied streets, bridges and other infrastructure elements. The U.S. Embassy would like to alert the American Community to the following information: Due to the possibility of violent protests throughout Panama City during morning rush hour, the Consular section, will delay its opening on Thursday, February 14 to 9:00 a.m. The demonstrations are in response to the killing of a member of Suntracs, a construction worker´s union in the city of Colon. For personal security and safety reason U.S. Citizens are therefore urged to avoid Punta Pacifica/Paitilla neighborhoods of Panama City and the area around the University of Panama where the demonstrations will occur. By avoiding these areas you minimize risk and avoid turning yourself into a potential target as an innocent bystander. U.S. Citizens should also exercise additional caution at all times when moving around city. For updated information on the security situation in Panama, please contact the American Citizens Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy at 207-7000. The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy is located in Building 783 (besides the Colegio de las Esclavas), in the Clayton section of Panama. The Consular Section fax is 207-7278. The Embassy web site is http://usembassy.state.gov/panama and e-mails should be address to Panama-ACS@state.gov
  6. WHERE TO BUY YOUR PETROLEUM PRODUCTS THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW. READ ON-- Gas rationing in the 80's worked even though we grumbled about it. It might even be good for us! The Saudis are boycotting American goods. We should return the favor. An interesting thought is to boycott their PETROLEUM PRODUCTS. Every time you fill up the car, you can avoid putting more money into the coffers of Saudi Arabia. Only buy from companies that don't import their oil from the Saudis. Nothing is more frustrating than the feeling that every time I fill-up the tank, I am sending my money to people who are trying to kill me, my family, and my friends. I thought it might be interesting for you to know which companies are the best to buy oil from and which major companies import Middle Eastern oil. These companies Import Middle Eastern Oil: Shell..........................205,742,000 barrels Chevron/Texaco.........144,332,000 barrels Exxon /Mobil..............130,082,000 barrels Marathon/Speedway...117,740,000 barrels Amoco..........................62,231,000 barrels Citgo is from Venzuela, and Hugo Chaves, that countries Dictator, hates Americans. Do the math at $30/barrel, these imports amount to over $18 BILLION! (Oil is now $90-$95 a barrel) Here are some large companies that DO NOT import Middle Eastern oil: Sunoco................ 0 barrels Conoco................ 0 barrels Sinclair................ 0 barrels BP/Phillips........... 0 barrels Hess.................... 0 barrels ARC0.................... 0 barrels All of this information is available from the Department of Energy and each is required to state where they get their oil and how much they are importing.
  7. If you are interested in Real Estate you can attend Americas Real Estate Expo trade show open to the public ONLY on Sunday, February 10, from 10am to 6pm. http://www.americasrealestateexpo.com/exhibitors.htm at the Ramada Herradura Conference Center http://www.ramadaherradura.com/english/index/index.htm in front of the Mall Cariari http://www.plazarealcariari.com just outside of San Jose and within ten minutes of the international airport in Alajuela. The booth exhibitors are all involved in the real estate industry and have much information to offer those who are considering purchasing real estate throughout the Americas. Many quality real estate projects that have attractive homes and lots will be offering valuable information and special deals at the show. Additionally, most of the local Banks and several Mortgage Lenders will be on hand to explain financing options. I would suggest you seriously consider the projects that have housing and lots that are titled and have been legally registered in the Registro Nacional in Costa Rica
  8. I have trusted the same family of attorney's here for over ten years and they have helped me in many real estate transactions. I am happy to share my lawyers contact info with you. Carlos A. Echeverria Alfaro. His business has grown a lot over the last few years and represents large land developers now and has an additional office in Guanacaste in Los Altos de Cacique on the main road between Playas Coco and Hermosa. His level of service has always been consistent and honorable and his firm is a family practice with his father, brothers and sister as well as other lawyers with expertise in specific areas of law. They are located in Barrio Dent, San Jose, office telephone, 524-0717, Guanacaste office, 670-1165. Cellular, 830-5432. cecheverria@bufeteecheverria.com
  9. The ICT, Costa Rican Tourism Board, said that more than $2 billion in projects were announced for Costa Rica in 2007 and many new endeavors are planned for 2008. Please review this article, which positions Costa Rica in the eye of a property boom. http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Latin-America/Costa-Rica The advent of affordable financing in CR has created an attractive housing market for the Latinos and foreigners as well. With Scotia Bank, HSBC and now Citi Bank purchasing Costa Rican financial institutions the competition will drive the local economy to its limit. The limit is difficult to envision because for many years the Costa Rican market did not offer mortgage financing and now with these major financial institutions all competing to lend money in little ole Costa Rica you will see tremendous growth in the housing sector. Remember what it was like to get your first new car and borrow the money from the bank. I for one was honored to be accepted into the adult financial world. The Ticos are now being offered financing for cars, homes, etc at affordable rates. Therefore the average middle income Costa Rican is just getting a taste of how financing can improve ones lifestyle and create new opportunities. The Costa Rican economy is like any other and is driven by financial investment and borrowing power. With these new international banks just now beginning to do lend money here the local economy is just getting started. Additionally, North American real estate investors gravitate where the opportunities are attractive. Since the US real estate market is correcting and the opportunities are limited these investors will take their money and borrowing power to the markets that offer opportunities and appreciation. Take a look at some of the new projects committed to and who are behind these megabuck investments. REVOLUTION PLACES: Steve Case who founded AOL, is the chairman of the parent firm, Revolution Places, and Vice chairman is Philippe Bourguignon, former president of Club Med and president and CEO of Euro Disney. The president of the firm, is Donn Davis, who with Case helped build AOL. The company has Philippe Cousteau, grandson of the famous undersea explorer, as an environmental adviser. Although Case and his associates do not have extensive experience in real estate development in Costa Rica, the president of Revolution Places Costa Rica is Darren Linnartz, who worked for 15 years with Marriott/Ritz Carlton. Revolution Places, just north of Playas del Coco, has been presented as an integrated luxury resort. The first phase, due to open in 2010, is on 263 hectares, about 650 acres. The estimated investment is $800 million, said the company. The project seeks to bring in One & Only Resorts, which will build 120 detached casitas. Also planned is an 18-hole golf course and a tennis center. Exclusive Reports was listed to build 30 residences. Miraval Cacique is contracted to build 60 villas and 120 luxury rooms. The project is good for Costa Rica because it will provide jobs for 2,500 employees, will generate $20 million in taxes and the company promised to donate a million trees for a conservation group to plant nearby and $1 million for organizations that develop initiatives to protect the Costa Rican environment. Another major project, involving an estimated $600 million investment, was announced for Esparza earlier in 2007.
  10. I have lived here since 1992 and have utilized the same dentist for all those years. My trusted lawyer's wife is related to this dentist and I have never seen a foreigner in his waiting room. On August 9, 2007, I visited him in San Jose. Dr. Rodolfo Hernandez Romero who is a 60+ years old, educated in Michigan and he examined my teeth and then (the dentist not a hygienist) cleaned my teeth. 1st he used his hydrostatic pressure cleaner. 2nd he scraped the teeth with the metal pick. Finally he polished my teeth with his electronic buffer using a very tasty gel. Cost was 10,000 colones for each step. So it cost me $58 for the exam and cleaning. During his exam he discovered that I had pitting on the front of several teeth which he said probably was caused by brushing horizontally over the years instead of vertically. He recommended applying the highest quality filling material that is manufactured in Lichtenstein to cover the craters. Cost for the preparation and installing the imported filler is $58.00 per tooth. His son in the same office is a dental implant specialist. This week a friend from Florida staying at the Presidente Hotel in San Jose who came here specifically to have 6 implants installed and this is his 2nd trip to have this work completed by the same dentist. During his 1st trip he had 2 implants and crowns installed and the total procedure took 3 days. The dentist arranged for hotel and transport from the airport and daily for the office visits. The cost he paid is $500 per tooth for titanium steel covered with bone material implants. The actual procedure takes less than 30 minutes per tooth. The impressions and the porcelain crowns cost $250 each. This dentist makes the crowns right in his office so my friend had the impression made on Monday and the crowns installed on Tuesday. This dentist charges $70 for deep cleaning. My friend said that this dentist, educated at the U of Missouri, who does the implants as well as his son who takes the impressions and installs the crowns are not only professionals but great people as well. The dentist is Dr. Marco A Munoz Cavallini. http://www.aestheticdentistrycr.com
  11. Am I the only one who's getting nauseous from the political BS? Who do you think pays for the failure (bankruptcy) of the civilians who got caught up in the politicians exchange of favors, (lobbying) for allowing the lending guidelines to be weakened, so the huge sub-prime lenders could rape the American public? John Paulson, hedge fund manager - "While we never made a sub-prime loan and are not predatory lenders, we think a lot of homeowners have been victimized, bankruptcy is the best way to keep homeowners in the home without costing the government any money." Trader Made Billions on Sub-prime Failures - The losers in the collapse of the US housing market are the American public. The biggest winner is John Paulson, a little-known hedge fund manager whose funds were up $15 billion in 2007, on a spectacularly successful bet against the housing market. Mr. Paulson has reaped an estimated $3 billion to $4 billion for himself. This is believed to be the largest one-year payday in Wall Street history. Now, in another twist in financial history, Mr. Paulson is hiring Alan Greenspan, a man some blame for helping feed the housing-market bubble by keeping interest rates so low. Wall Street Journal, 1-15-08 - Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, whom some blame for fueling a housing bubble, is signing on as an adviser to hedge-fund firm Paulson & Co., which has profited handsomely from the collapse of that bubble. Mr. Greenspan will become a member of the New York-based fund manager's advisory board, the firm is to announce today. It is the third consulting contract he has signed since leaving the Fed after 18 years as chairman in January 2006.
  12. Knowing when to apply your brakes, is a necessary exercise for healthy economics Consumers are slowing down and spending less. This is healthy for them but not for the weakening US economy. Consumer spending fuels around 70% of U.S. economic output, so a pullback directly affects growth. Over the last year, U.S. consumers have ignored the approaching economic storm and continued spending, while economists debate about how the housing downturn will affect the US economy. Credit debt, as well as energy and housing prices are burying the average American consumer. Now, evidence is mounting that consumers are applying their brakes in the face of an unpredictable economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 246.79 points or 1.9% to 12606.30 on last week because of lower consumer spending. Tiffany & Co. announced that its U.S. sales slumped during the holiday period. American Express Co. warned late Thursday of rising delinquencies and slowing spending among its cardholders. Kohl's Corp., cut earnings projections after reporting weaker-than expected sales. Capital One Financial Corp. said its 2007 earnings would fall short of its earlier forecast. AT&T Inc. said it has been cutting off more landline and high-speed Internet customers for non-payment. Autodata Corp. the automotive industry tracker reported 3% drop in December sales compared to a year ago. According to the Federal Reserve, credit market instruments such as home mortgages, auto loans and credit-card receivables, have hit an all-time high of 18.7% of household and nonprofit organization assets. USA households are not in good shape at this point, and don't have many reserves to fall back on. With housing prices falling and mortgage-lending standards tightening, consumers can no longer easily tap into the value of their homes the way they could when prices were rising and lending was easy. Housing pressures are causing most consumers to take a second look at their budgets, as high energy and food costs take a bite of their fragile incomes. The American Automobile Association stated that regular unleaded gasoline is averaging $3.10 a gallon in the U.S., up from $2.99 a month ago and $2.28 a year ago. Steep gasoline and home-heating costs are probably the biggest thing dipping into the average consumer's budget right now. Moreover, consumer-credit woes are an issue for many to be concerned about. Debt is part of this; people always put stuff on credit cards. It used to be 75% paid with cash, now it's the other way around. Most vendors are predicting slower sales that during the past years. It's a good thing that people waiting and are somewhat afraid Many Americans have been pushed into the "fringe economy." This is where consumers seek quick loans via check-cashing storefronts and pawnshops. Dave Crume, CEO of Topeka, Kan.-based Capitol City Pawn & Jewelry, which runs pawnshops in Kansas and Nebraska, says, "Our typical loan used to be $60 to $100. We do see more people coming in that do need to borrow $400, $500, $1,000. Those are people that need the money for house and car payments and things like that." The possibility that the USA is in another recession will continue to be debated by economists and politicians. However, here's some facts that reflect the current state of average consumers. Michael Goldstein, an international dealer of antique diamonds based in New York City. He notes that record-high prices for gold have prompted many people to trade in their jewelry for cash. The gold refiners in New York City have many people waiting in line to have their jewelry appraised, so they can exchange it for cash. Shopping-guide publishers say that advertisers, mostly small businesses, are taking longer to make payments and that more accounts are going delinquent. Restaurants have also reported a sharp fall in sales, according to Oscar Sloterbeck, head of company surveys at investment firm ISI Group. Last week, shares of McDonald's Corp. fell 6.6% after an independent analyst's survey pointed to weak U.S. store sales in December. Analysts at Friedman Billings Ramsey also issued a cautious report on the company. Consumers are waking up and taking notice of the factors that are taking place. The average American consumer is worried about the economy, and curtailing spending across the board as a result. They are driving less and looking for less-expensive clothing, food and vacations. This is a good thing! Anyone who is not willing to apply their brakes in the face of this approaching storm is rapidly heading down a dead end road.
  13. Anybody see the local news at lunch today? A representative for the ICT was predicting a lower tourist season based on the US recession. On Monday, Australian equities lost 2.1% amid new revelations of the U.S. recession. U.S. recessions have always caused problems for the U.K., Canada and all large exporters to the U.S. Are North Americans who listen to the US media conglomerates, the only ones on the planet that still believe the US economy is experiencing an economic downturn? Ignore the BS you here coming out of Washington. The politicians are ignoring the facts indicating another recession. It's an election year and that's what politicians do. They rely on "Political Blind Faith" When exactly does and economic downturn become a full-blown recession. History has repeatedly told us but we are very good at forgetting and forgiving our elected public officials who greatly profit from the upturns and lay low during the downturns. Civilians need to plan for reality and prepare to make business and lifestyle adjustments. We are not insulated like the politicians and their lobbying buddies. The U.S. recession will cause worldwide economic repositioning. Moreover, the USA's recessions have always resulted in many years of recovery. The recovery periods last much longer than the downturns. Look at how long the Resolution Trust Corporation, (RTC) functioned, as the US government-owned asset management company mandated to liquidate assets of real estate and mortgage loans, as a consequence of the savings and loan crisis of the 1980's. The RTC was established in August of 1989 and was closed in December 1995. Do any current events sound similar? Who benefited from the Savings and Loans blindly lending money that resulted in a huge recession, lasting six years? Another generation of politicians, that's who. They eased the consumer protection laws, allowing the huge mortgage companies to bury inexperienced consumers with mortgages they could not afford. Are you willing and able to ride out the next recession for six years? The pending recession has increased foreign investors and international company's interest to search globally for "safe havens" in emerging economies offshore. What does that mean to the average North American civilian? It means there will be less jobs and less consumer spending which affect everyone in the USA. Currently, some economists are predicting a dollar rally based on a US economic downturn. Deutsche Bank predicts a stronger dollar by years-end, and said, "The euro will be worth $1.30, down from its current $1.47." However, there are other predictions from large international conglomerates such as Scotiabank that stated in December, "because of the pending U.S. recession and concerns about the diversification of foreign central bank reserves, the dollar has not reached bottom yet." How much time do we have before the US economy hits bottom? No one economist or politician ever really knows. However, prudent business people cannot afford to relax and wait for political results. History has taught us to look beyond political positioning and promises. This recession's probability, is certainly good reason for investors and businesses to look globally for opportunities. Markets with stable, growing economies and democratic governments that welcome foreign investment become very attractive when the US economy shrinks. If you are an investor or are still in business and need to keep making money, you need to look for your own personal solution, before the BS hits the fan. With favorable trade agreements in place and for a multitude of other reasons, I consider myself very fortunate to be plugged into the Costa Rican economy and unplugged from the USA. Every time I hear the BS being spread throughout the world, about a short US recession, I count my blessings and treasure my simple life here in Ticolandia. Pura Vida!
  14. Best wishes during this Holiday Season for you and your families! Click on this link to enjoy a great Christmas card. http://www.jacquielawson.com/viewcard.asp?code=0212320003
  15. Joe Wright opened the new session of the Kansas Senate with this message that makes a lot of practical sense. We know Your Word says,'Woe to those who call evil good', but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor's Possessions & Thoughtfulness and called it Ambition! We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of speech and expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. The response was immediate. A number of legislators walked out in protest. How could it hurt the political process, if a few more messages like this were included to remind the politicians of who they are supposed to represent and our sworn to serve?
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