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David C. Murray

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About David C. Murray

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    David C. Murray Gonter
  • Birthday 12/20/1945

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  1. My understanding is that the Collegio of Architects sets the rates (expressed in percentages) for the various services an architect can offer. That is, s/he can charge a specified percent for initial rough plans, a specified percent for finished blueprints, a specified percent for getting permits, a specified percent for recruiting a builder and soliciting bids, a specified percent for . . . <all the other steps in the process through to completion>. With that, the client can choose just which services s/he wants from the architect and can know what those services will cost. The Collegio of Architects uses a "reference cost" per square meter of the building project to compute the architect's fee(s) for each service to be provided. That reference cost has no basis in fact; it's just a number they dream up and it's much less than the actual cost of building. Its only relevance is for computing the architect's fee(s). For example . . . Let's say you're building a 100 square meter house (that's about 1,077 square feet). And let's say that the Collegio's reference cost is $500 per square meter. To the Collegio, the project should cost $50,000 (again, only a reference cost for the purpose of computing the architect's fees).The Collegio might specify one percent for initial rough plans - $500. Finished blueprints - 2% or $1,000. Getting permits - 0.5% or $250. Soliciting bids and selecting a builder - 1% or $500. Supervision of the actual construction with weekly inspection visits - 4% or $2,000. (Understand, please, that the numbers in this paragraph are strictly for illustration and are not meant to be actual, real world figures.) You could ask your architect what the basis is for the services s/he's proposing to provide and how those costs are computed. Perhaps s/he can give you a contact at the Collegio of Architects who could verify these costs.
  2. You're absolutely right, seaturtlewoman, about the accessibility of local bank branches, but there is another way to look at the matter. For example, Banco Nacional in Grecia is renowned for its long lines and thus long waits at both the teller windows and at the service desks. Their branch in Sarchi, about ten minutes or so away, is almost never busy. And and the Sarchi branch has a parking lot which the Grecia branch does not. So the question may really boil down to where one prefers to spend one's time. Standing in line in the nearest branch may have it's allure, but for us, we'd prefer to get our business done and move on to more enjoyable pastimes. Given the choice, I'd rather go have blood drawn than stand in line at the bank.
  3. Kim, in order to open a bank account, regardless of your tourist or residency status, you will have to document your identity either with your passport or your cedula (if you're a resident) and you will have to document the source of your income. The bank might accept your Social Security letter, but we have always provided them two years of our U.S. federal income tax returns. They'll also want to know your residence address here in Costa Rica, your local phone number (your cell number will suffice) and your email address. Banks may differ in terms of their policies for deposits both initially and after your account has been open for a while. If that's an issue for you, you might want to shop around. We have found Banco Davivienda the easiest to work with and their policies and practices have been the easiest to comply with. Your mileage may vary.
  4. If you don't install whatever solar equipment you plan on for later, at least put in the "infrastructure" as you're building. Running the plumbing for solar water heating or the electric cabling for photovoltaic is much easier and cheaper as the house is being built or remodeled. BTW, I'm a big fan of building from scratch rather than trying to accommodate others' ideas and mistakes. I can wax on and on about that, if you wish.
  5. sweikert925, I'm with you on the issue of the environment, but I can also tell you from a number of years of actual experience that both solar water heating and photovoltaic electricity generation come with very high initial investment costs and very long payback times. And they do require some maintenance. When we built our house, which you have visited, we installed two solar water heating panels and an 80-gallon storage tank with electrical coils for backup when there isn't enough solar exposure. That cost was about $2,300 in 2006. Ten or eleven years later, the whole shootin' match had to be replaced. Then, about eight years or so ago, we installed six and then six more photovoltaic panels in a "grid-tied", "net metering" system. When we make more power than we're using, our meter runs backward and, in effect, we get a credit. When we use more electricity than we're making, the meter runs forward and we create a bill. To be sure, our electricity bills are less than they would be without either of these two systems, but they're still hardly zero. (Our home is all-electric -- range, dryer, backup water heating, etc, and we're not bashful about using them all.) To plan to heat anything larger than a small hot tub by direct solar water heating or photovoltaic electricity generation would require a breathtaking initial investment. (As an aside, George Lundquist, who runs the tours and is a retired engineer, has calculated that it would be less expensive to install all photovoltaic panels and heat water with electric on-demand water heaters. That would be a simpler build-out, too. Wish we'da thought of that . . .)
  6. . . . but pools can have heaters. Both the foregoing quotes are totally accurate, but neither addresses the matter of operating costs. Pool heaters may be powered by either bottled gas or electricity and a filtration system and vacuum would be powered electrically. Regardless which you choose, the operating costs will be very high. Water absorbs a great deal of heat energy and, unless the sides and bottom of the pool are well insulated (not very likely, actually) and unless the surface is covered by an insulated cover, much of that heat will be lost and will have to be replenished. That much heat energy garnered from either electricity or gas will be very expensive. In areas where ICE provides electricity, the first 200kwh per month are fairly cheap, but beyond that, the price approximately doubles. And 200kwh won't heat the water in much of a pool. Gas is cheaper but hardly cheap in the quantities which would be needed, and the cost is based on the world market which can vary.
  7. I don't think there are any hard and fast rules about the transaction fees, taxes, etc. A practical approach would be to get your attorney, not theirs, to give you a firm estimate of what all the costs will be to sell/buy the property in question. Then you can negotiate an arrangement with the other party.
  8. Sweat it not. If you use one of the recommended importers, they will take care of all the details and deliver the car to you ready and legal to drive. That's their business.
  9. Flood cars, cars that have been totaled, and other nightmares are a real risk. And they're readily available here. CarFax can answer some of those questions and I wouldn't buy a used car of North American origin here in Costa Rica without checking it (CarFax, that is, as well as the car). For that you'll need the car's Vehicle Identification Number. CarFax can also tell you if the odometer has been turned back which is a common practice here. That VIN should match on all the body parts like fenders, doors, etc, too. If they do not, it's likely the car was in an accident and seriously damaged. It is for this reason that, if time were not an issue, I'd shop the much larger market in the U.S. for a used car, check it via CarFax, and import it through one of the local importers (Mike Rappaport or Charlie Zeller) who know all the local ropes. The cost to import a vehicle is the same regardless who imports it. The only difference is that if you buy a used car here, you'll be paying the importer's overhead costs and profit. He's doing this to feed his kids. As for obtaining parts, it's increasingly a nightmare. Again, the key is the Vehicle Identification Number. With many brands assembled in a number of countries, it's important to know if your (say) Toyota was assembled in the U.S. or in Japan or maybe elsewhere. Its assembly point will dictate exactly which part(s) you may need. While power train components may be universal for a given make, model and year, things like suspension and brake parts, alternators and air conditioning system components, etc may be locally sourced in the country where the vehicle was assembled and may very well not be interchangeable across all versions of the same vehicle. This is a common problem even in the U.S. where we bought a 1992 Toyota Camry that had been assembled in Japan. It needed different McPherson struts than those installed on U.S.-assembled cars.
  10. Well, there are those who bring new vehicles directly from Japan and Korea. Each vehicle brand (Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, and more) has a sole importer of their cars to Costa Rica. That's true for European brands, too. Mercedes, Maserati, Porsche, Ferrari, etc are all available here. (Can you imagine the annual marchamo on a quarter million dollar Ferrari?) And you can buy brands here (Renault, Peugeot, Mahindra, Great Wall and Tiger Trucks) that are not available in the U.S. (Whether any of those is a good idea is another matter.) The same import duties apply whether the vehicles come from Asia, Europe or North America. I've been told by a couple of reliable sources that cars imported to Costa Rica from Asia weigh 200 to 300 pounds less than their brandmate U.S. models. Since they look the same inside and out, one wonders what's missing. Friends bought a new Kia sedan here in Costa Rica in 2012. It looked exactly like the U.S. version, but while the U.S. model had six or seven air bags, the Costa Rican one had two. For me, that's a strong argument in favor of bringing a vehicle from the States.
  11. If you really want something that will meet all those criteria, consider buying a vehicle in the U.S. and having it shipped here. Unlike vehicles here, U.S. vehicles have safety and recall records, they meet U.S. safety and emission standards, and the mileage will be accurate. None of those apply to a vehicle bought here which may be a flood car, something that has been totaled in the U.S., or which has had the odometer turned back many thousands of miles. The cost to import a car to Costa Rica is the same whether a used car dealer or you import it.
  12. Even a "tangential reference" (in the eyes of some (one, actually)) can get you booted.
  13. But there is a way for the Administrator or Moderator to cancel your membership in the forum, right?
  14. Since real estate agents work locally, not nationally, it would be helpful to know where your farm is located.
  15. 2.9 Liter Turbo Diesel CRDI with 2-wheel drive, 4-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive low range automatic transmission Five passenger seating Exterior: Silver over Grey (excellent); Interior: Light Grey Leather (very good) Air conditioning AM/FM Bluetooth stereo radio with CD player MultiLock transmission lock Fog lights 148,000 kilometers (92,000 miles) Regularly maintained in accordance with the owner’s manual (service history available) Good Pirelli Scorpion ATR tires, good brakes, good suspension, good belts and hoses, etc Riteve until June 2018; marchamo paid until January 2018 A few replacement parts are included (filters, alternator, etc) English-language owner’s manual Legally mandated emergency kit Compare at CRAutos.com — http://crautos.com/rautosusados/cardetail.cfm?c=2502047&Hyundai.TERRACAN%20CRDI.2006 Price: c5,500,000 ($9,800) or reasonable offer Email: daveandmarcia@gmail.com Phone: 8896-2337
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