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Sam Ramon

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About Sam Ramon

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  1. Get me out of this crazy country called the USA!

  2. We're going off topic here but I just have to add that the U.S. has outsourced ALL KINDS OF JOBS. There are currently 15 million UNEMPLOYED here, 3 million will be without any benefits by the end of this month, having exhausted all their benefits. Many are losing their homes and/or cashing in their 401k's, selling jewelry, etc. to survive. Yet there is only ONE job for EVERY FIVE UNEMPLOYED. This country outsources millions of jobs and now the Economy is paying for it. What did they think? That outsourcing jobs would NOT screw up our country???
  3. wishes he were in San Ramon!

  4. Question: I think I was charged some sort of "taxes" by my attorney, on my 2 corporations. One holds my bank account and the other holds my land. Is this normal, when are these taxes due, and how much should they be, mas o menos?
  5. Are you Prepared?

    Another great resource for legal info, and views from one of Costa Rica's major real estate and law offices: http://crexpertise.info/
  6. Got advice on Cr-Home.com

    I absolutely agree! Do your due diligence, but most importantly ask for personal references and make sure you have a good highly recommended attorney for your property transaction. By the way, I did not mean that all realtors are crooked or not trustworthy. What I meant - and what I said was if you read it carefully - was that you should not put your full trust in any realtor (or developer) without asking around, keeping your eyes open, learning about buying real estate in Costa Rica, and using your own recommended attorney for any transaction. In other words, I have heard of people going to Costa Rica, having someone show them a few properties and then buy one from him or her just based on the fact that he or she seemed like a nice person! This is what I mean by "fully trusting a realtor" - trusting them so much that you do NO checking on him, NO asking around, NO research, and using HIS attorney for the transaction. This kind of "fully trusting" without checking on the person's reputation and without using your own attorney is a recipe for disaster. So whoever you buy from - Realtor, Developer or Taxi Driver - check them out, and most importantly have a GOOD attorney check out the property itself in the Registry for liens and problems. That last step - having a good attorney research the property fullyin person at the Registro - not just on the Registro internet site - is the MOST important thing because even if the guy selling you the property is a snake, as long as it is registered correctly and you get it into your name correctly, you'll be okay. Where you have to be careful is in "fully trusting" the person if they say "Oh yeah, the road is going to be improved next month" or "Oh yeah, the electricity will be put in here in June", etc. Even if they say "The electricity is here", ask them to SHOW the transformer to you. The water is piped in? Have them SHOW you the pipe! Anything like that, get it in writing!
  7. It always kills me when people say "Don't look for real estate on the internet". I admit that you won't find the best deals there, and it is true that visiting for a month or living in CR for awhile, you will find better deals. BUT - and this is a big butt! - most people who are looking to buy real estate in CR simply cannot afford to move to Costa Rica or live there for a month or more to look for a better real estate deal. Also, most of the "better" real estate deals are only findable if you speak Spanish, drive around and talk to people, and even then it takes awhile and a lot of leg work. Most people simply cannot afford or are not able to go this route! One CAN find good deals on the internet. I did it. It took me 2 years and about 5 trips back and forth but I did it. And yes I did get a good deal, even Ticos are amazed at the deal I got. And yes I bought from a gringo and yes he charged a big commission. Here is my suggestion for those who want to buy on the net: (I assume you have already spent at least a month living in some part of Costa Rica so you know you can stand living in a "developing" country and that you have some affinity for living there. People who just decide to move there based on books and internet are dumb. You MUST find a way to spend at least a month living there, not in a hotel but in a home or apartment and see what it's really like before you make the big step of deciding to buy property there and move there permanently!) 1) spend many many hours doing searches and looking at EVERY real estate site you can find. Compare prices in areas you like, take notes, bookmark sites, write them emails and ask about listings that are not listed on their site yet. Many realtors do their own webmastering and don't find a lot of time for frequent updates so they often have a listing or two sitting around that has not made it to the web yet. Of course these same realtors also don't find time to answer emails promptly... So be patient and write back if you don't hear from them in a few days. I spent at least an hour or two every single day for weeks just gathering info and bookmarking sites that I would then go back and check at least every few days for new listings. Also periodically check for new real estate sites - they pop up pretty frequently. 2) Once you find some sites that seem to have reasonable prices, begin to make a list of properties you want to look at. Write and get as much info about them as you can, maybe even call and talk to the realtors by phone. Figure out what is most important to you and then ask questions to try to qualify and disqualify properties. No point in making a trip out to look at a property that a few pointed questions can disqualify. For me, this meant asking questions like "How near is the nearest neighbor?" I did not want close neighbors so someone might have a great property but if it had neighbors within a few hundred meters, I was not interested in it. You may have different details that will disqualify a place. You may need to be near a bus line. You may need to be near a school or hospital. You may not want to be on a 4wheel drive only road. You may require a property with internet access available. Etc. etc.. Ask as many questions as you can to disqualify properties before going to look at them. 3) After spending many months (probably) on the above 2, line up at least 7-8 properties that really seem like they are ideal for you. Then set up appointments with the realtors. Call them on the phone (Skype is cheap or use onesuite.com for cheap long distance phone calls to Costa Rica) and let them know you are very serious about one or more of their properties and that you plan to come down on THIS DAY (about 2-6 weeks in advance) and so tell them when you will be there and how many properties of their's you want to see. In my case, what I did was line up 1-4 properties with 3-4 realtors about a month in advance. I set exact dates and times to meet them. Remember that if you are looking at properties "out in the sticks" you may only be able to see 2-3 in a day. By the time you drive or bus to the realtor's office and he drives you around to look at them, it is difficult to see more than 2-4 in a day unless they are all very close to each other and easy to get to. Rain may also be a factor. So I made appointments to see 3 properties with Realtor A on Wednesday, 3 properties with Realtor B on Thur, 4 properties with Realtor C on Fri and 5 properties with realtor C on Saturday about a month in advance. Looked at all of them, took notes on each one and my first trip was a bust. None of the properties were quite what I was looking for. Back to the states. Back to the search. 4-6 months later I found 6-10 other new properties to look at. Did the same procedure, sheduled 3 more days of looking. Put money down on a place on that trip. The title fell through. I was out money on the trip and more time lost. 4-6 months later I found more places, made plans for another trip. This time I found the perfect place at a great price and bought it. Actually I am shortening the process. I actually made more trips and altogether it took me 2 years and 2 false starts (properties with title problems) before I bought my property. The person I ended up buying from was not really a realtor but a developer who just happened to know a Tico with a piece of land for sale. It was never listed on the net, it was one they showed me after the ones I looked at from the net were rejected. So, if you can afford to make 2-3 trips per year for 3-5 days per trip, you can probably find something at a fair price using the net. I did and I know others who have. Read the post here in this forum about dealing with realtors and how to make doubly sure your real estate has a clear title, getting YOUR OWN attorney (not the seller's attorney) to check the title and make the deal for you, etc. etc... Unfortunately not everyone can just up and move to Costa Rica for months at a time to find a better deal, so the internet is their only choice. Google is your friend! And don't forget to check all the forums and yahoo groups etc. for real estate offered, or make a post there "I am looking for a [piece of land or home] near [area] in the price range of [$] with [your requirements: internet, no close neighbors, good all year road, or whatever]. Anyone know of such a property for sale?" Patience and diligence are the keys!
  8. Got advice on Cr-Home.com

    In general, you cannot fully trust any realtor in Costa Rica. They're kind of like used car salesmen. Make them prove what they say, in writing, and get yourself a good attorney to help you make sure everything is in order as it should be. I have sent you a private message.
  9. Good affordable land in a nice area will always go up in value - up to a point, at least. Look how high prices went in the Arenal area! And it's windy and cold and rainy up there! My prediction is that as more and more boomers come to Costa Rica, more and more will begin to buy retirement homes or land for homes, there. As to prices, no one can predict, but I can't see them coming down too much in most areas unless they've already gone up way too high (such as Arenal)...
  10. I don't think the issue of someone using your house while you are not there is substantially worse in either country. I think the thing to do would be to rent the house out, have an attorney draw up a lease, and go down and check on it twice a year. Ideally you should have someone there you can trust to watch over it, at least look in on it once a month or so. Depending on whether you're buying something out in the boonies or where other gringos live, the issue of squatting may be much less than you think. You could just ask a neighbor to look after it... call you if anything funny goes on... But the bottom line re Panama vs. Costa Rica is this: You HAVE TO GO THERE and live for a month or more, preferably 3 months or more, and find out which you like better, and narrow it down to which area you want to live in, not only which country, but which state and which town or nearby town... Even the town makes a big difference... One town may have a lot more crime than another... One area might get a lot more rain and wind than another... I was VERY interested in Panama until I went there. I did not like it one bit. That's just MY opinion. I know some love it there. But the places I went and people I met there turned me off to it. (I don't mean to imply that all the people were bad - in fact I met some very nice ones, too. But in general I just like Costa Rica a LOT better!
  11. If the property is soley and wholly owned by the S.A., then - as I understand it; and I am not an attorney - yes, that would make the property legally your's and you would not have to re-register it as it is already registered to (now) YOUR S.A.. However, I have heard that you have to check the S.A. out fairly diligently just as you would check out a property title diligently, to make sure there are no liens or other problems against the S.A. you are buying. As always, get a trustworthy attorney who knows the ins and outs of Tico property laws and S.A.'s. This is something you don't want to do sloppily or haphazardly!
  12. Buying advice

    Right. But if it's just for communication - not for internet - then you can probably get a cell phone that will work there.
  13. I must disagree with that statement. Panama is not higher than Costa Rica, it is cheaper. Almost everything is cheaper in Panama, at least in the north-western part where I went, and from what I have read on other forums, Panama is cheaper all over. (I'm talking cost of living, not real estate. I think the real estate in Panama is about the same if not higher. But the cost of living is much lower.) But yes, I agree that if the cost of living in CR begins to approach the cost of living in the USA then Costa Rica will be less attractive as a destination for boomers. So this is proof then that Costa Rica is NOT approaching - at least not yet! - the cost of living of the USA. A family of 4 simply cannot live well at all in the USA on $1000-1200 a month. So even if the cost of living in CR goes up, say, 33%, it will still be attractive to boomers who cannot afford to retire well in the USA. You do make a good point though, that if one lives like a well to do American and has a maid, a gardener, a pool and washer dryer and central air and 2 new cars and so on and so forth, then yes, it will cost nearly as much to live in CR as it does to live in the USA. The difference is 2 things: 1) if you are willing to live as you say you do, "like a Tico" (though I'm sure that's an exaggeration, I'm sure even on $1200/month you live much better than most of the Ticos around you!), you CAN live much cheaper than in the USA. And: 2) one can still buy property and homes in Costa Rica MUCH cheaper than a similar property and home in the USA in a decent area. For example, I know that a nice home in the Central Valley can be bought for $100k. Once that home is paid for, the family can then live in it for - like you say - $1000-1200 a month. In the USA one cannot generally buy a "nice home" for that price, nor can one live well on $1000-1200/month. When is the last time you were in the states? While costs are rising in Costa Rica, I guarantee you they are rising way faster right now in the USA! Which all goes to say that in my opinion, I still think CR is a bargain in real estate and homes, and so the boomers will continue to choose it to retire. As to tourism, yes it is still as strong as ever. The problem is that everyone and his brother has gone down with the idea of having a hotel or restaurant or bar, and there is only so much to go around, especially in the green season. Simply put, there are now too many hotels and restaurants for tourism to support. Just my 2 colones.
  14. Buying advice

    If you speak the language and have months and months to spend driving around, talking to people and if you can find a "scout" to help you out, you may find a really good deal. Or not. If you don't have all that time to spend, you can do well by finding some of the better real estate agents (who charge a fair commission not an exorbitant one) and dealing with them. As to electricity and water, it's pretty easy to see if you have it or not. Look for the electrical meter and the water valve. The owner can show you where it is. If it isn't there, then where is the next closest one? It can cost thousands of dollars to bring it in from a kilometer or so, so factor that into your "Good deal". Have the title checked out thoroughly by a trusted expert attorney. Do NOT trust the quick internet check that some attorneys and realtors do. The "quick internet check" does not always find the liens and problems that the land has along with it, which can only be found by going to the back room of the land office in San Jose' and digging around. A good attorney will do this work before avising his client the property is safe to buy. Pinning down a price is not that easy, scout or no scout. Many Ticos will raise the price from what they originally quoted after thinking about it awhile and hearing their neighbors' stories about the high price some gringo paid for HIS land down the road (never mind that the other land has much better views, better access, better features...) If the land has the utilities, good access, and is being offered at a fair market value based on YOUR DILIGENT RESEARCH into prices in the area, and your attorney says the title is good, then buy it.
  15. land development

    I don't know how much cleaning there is to do, but 24back hoe days sounds like a lot. If there are a lot of trees etc to remove, then maybe so. Use your judgment on this.
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