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David C. Murray

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Everything posted by David C. Murray

  1. Paul's right. We just went through this but it may be difficult to find. And he's right again. Having a prescription filled for you in the U.S and then having it sent here entails a world of bureaucracy. Instead, you should be able to get a local Costa Rican physician to help you through an expedited process that only s/he can initiate. Just recently, a friend has gotten our local primary care physician to order a medication for her osteoporosis. It's not available here. It will take about two weeks to arrive. So if you have a primary care doc, ask if s/he can help. Our doctor is here in
  2. Jill, I'm not at all familiar with the area you're asking about, but I do have some thoughts about purchasing any real estate here in Costa Rica. First, come and see it with your own eyes. It's not just the property you're thinking of buying but also the adjacent ones that will impact upon your enjoyment. Then, if the area is acceptable to you, have your own attorney, not the seller's or the real estate agents', do a thorough job of researching the title to the property. Every parcel in Costa Rica is supposed to be registered in the National Registry. If it's not, back away quickly. Ther
  3. The single most interesting thing about newman's recent postings, aside from the fact that he has re-ignited the issue of having some substantiation for them, is the fact (and this is an indisputable fact) that the "total all out nuclear attack" he advocates being launched against China would likewise result in a total all out nuclear attack on the United States and the rest of the world. Should the U.S. launch newman's total all out nuclear attack on China, they would undoubtedly retaliate in kind and with equal devastation. That's the premise behind "mutual assured destruction" (you can
  4. What do you believe the USA is going to "hit" China with, newman? And why?
  5. I think Dennis makes some good points immediately above. Whether you're looking to rent, buy or build, it's important to realize that Costa Rica's land use restrictions are very lax. There's little to keep someone from building a hog farm or drop forge on the lot next to and upwind from your own. A useful caution would be to never buy or rent anything you haven't seen in person and that you haven't visited during the day and at night. Roosters may not crow much during the day, but we lived briefly in a place where they crowed all night -- ALL NIGHT LONG! Real estate listings may show th
  6. Exactly right again, Steve. One account of someone paying squatters to occupy a property hardly qualifies as proof of widespread abuses. Note, too, that nowhere in the article does the author assert that squatting, paid or not, is common. He refers only to one or two instances. We have still to learn of the source of Derrick's assertion and so must take it for a figment of his colorful imagination (and maybe bias). Derrick, that's all you've got? " . . Get over yourself . . . "? Still nothing to back up your assertion of "fact"? We can only conclude that you were, in fact,
  7. You're one hundred percent right, Steve. The problem with asserting unsubstantiated "facts" is that someone else, someone who may not yet have joined this Forum but will later, may take that unsubstantiable assertion as a true fact. If they then act on that fact, which isn't really a fact at all, they may be led to a less than optimal outcome. Imagine that someone reading this Forum wished to have a jaguar kitten to raise as a housepet. Somebody else (somebody who is talking through his hat) might write that it's safe and legal. If no one takes that second person to task, then the inqu
  8. It isn't a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, Derrick. You asserted a "fact" (see above) that a large portion of squatters are the "paid type". I'm just asking how you know that fact. If it's true, how do you know? Or is this purely conjecture on your part?
  9. Yes, except that I'm not the one who made the otherwise unsubstantiated statement of "fact". That was you. I merely asked you how you know what you say you know and what the source of your information is. It's not likely that you've personally interviewed every squatter in Costa Rica, so there must be some other source of this certain knowledge of yours. I'm simply asking what that source is. And whether this is firsthand knowledge of yours or something definitive you've read, I asked you to break down the squatters by type -- "paid types" and other types. Do you actually know of a single
  10. Derrick, please elaborate on the quote above. How do you know that a large portion of the "squatters" here are the "paid type"? Are there records you've consulted? Which records? And who pays them? And how much are they paid? And for what purpose? Of all the squatters in Costa Rica, what are the percentages of "paid type" squatters and whatever the other type or types are? Please break down the numbers for us. You are asserting a known fact, right?
  11. I think it's pretty universal that every barrio has an "inspection" committee or some such. If you can contact that person or group in your barrio, you can lodge a complaint with them and they, in turn, can lodge a complaint with the Ministry of the Environment regarding the trees that were cut down. Costa Rica takes a very, very dim view of felling trees. One of the locals did so on some friends' property and the inspection committee found out. They and MINAE made our friends replace all the trees and buy the local MINAE office a computer as a good will gesture. This saved everyone a court da
  12. Paul's right about acting promptly. In addition, it should be noted that any "improvements"(very broadly defined) that squatters make to the property may become liabilities for the property owner. That is, s/he may have to pay the squatters for whatever they've built, cleaned up, installed, etc. This is a frustrating situation for all concerned. It appears that the spirit of the law says that unused property should be available to those who need it. Think about a poor, hungry family who finds a piece of vacant land where they could live and grow crops. If the owner isn't using the prope
  13. You might try going directly to the local police chief to see if s/he can do anything.
  14. We looked for smoker-appropriate wood a number of years ago but came up empty-handed. At a combination appliance and grill store in Escazu, we were told that Costa Rica requires that any wood product that's imported into the country be legally certified not to have originated in a virgin forest anywhere in the world. At the time, he was having problems importing kitchen and laundry appliances because the pallets they were shipped on weren't so certified. We resolved the matter by doing the gringo thing -- brought it in in our luggage when we returned from a trip to the States. No problem
  15. 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 Col
  16. 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 prefe
  17. 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 in
  18. 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.
  19. 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
  20. . . . 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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 c
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