Jump to content

Our dream/intention to live in CR

Recommended Posts

Jesse, the unfortunate part is that the "clients" are expat candidates who find the "real estate professional" via Internet and then become "victims"... The reputation may be known far and wide here, but those poor souls have bright hopes, small pocketbooks, and too much trust in someone trying to sell them something...


Unfortunate but true, and one of the reasons to caution those people anxious to come here and buy something...


Caveat emptor

And if you continued to read my previous post I addressed that.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 134
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Paul M. Ref. Post #33




Ref. Post # 32

Sorry for the delay in response, we have been out of the country (4 days in San Juan Del Sur). I was referring to the COOPENAE of SAN RAMON (It is not a credit union). The information was from a combination of: www.retireforlessincostarica.com and www.boomersoffshore.com .


Pura Vida



Edited by ronofboston
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 9 months later...

My RE experience here is almost certainly unique, and probably opposite to almost everyone else posting here.


Without going into details, I accepted a property in CR as compensation for a business transaction, although I really, really had absolutely no interest in Costa Rica and my first trip here was to check things out and decide if I would agree to this deal.


My honest first reaction was, I can see why I never had the desire to visit CR before. I have lived in Bogota, Lima and Buenos Aires for years, and loved every minute of it.


What I saw of San Jose made me cringe. One of the least attractive cities I have ever visited. The beaches though, are pretty spectacular, but way too hot for me, and what the hell would you do all day there? Who can afford the air conditioning bill?


I've now been living on my property (which is a little bit of paradise in an otherwise sketchy country I'd say) for 8 months, and I am really enjoying it, much to my surprise.


I'm in a small town in the hills of Heredia, and the air is fresh, there is no traffic, I have fruit trees and a garden, and the local town has all I need, even a couple of cool bars, where I am now known and where I have met quite a few very friendly locals,


I spend my days fixing up my property, along with the help of my trusty gardener/handyman, who is one of the hardest workers I have ever come across (Nico). He is honest, reliable, and an absolute treasure trove of information (and local gossip, whether you want to know or not).


My property is actually a collection of 4 small houses on a big lot, so I live in one and rent the others out long term, although I am considering short term rental for my own house for when I go back home for 6 months).


The gardener acts as a security guard as well, although he's never (in 14 years on this property and 20 years in the immediate area) had a problem or even heard of one, except for the one person who came to an untimely end due to a lovers quarrel.


So I don't know where all these people who are terrified of crime and home invasions are living, but it sounds like they chose the wrong area.


The gardener's salary is around $100 a week (5 1/2 days), and he has living quarters on the property, which of course makes him a 24 hour security guard as well (along with the dogs). Split between 4 houses, it's nothing. I can leave the country for months and not even think about squatters or security.


I don't have bars on any window in any of the houses here. I often go out and leave my doors unlocked in case the gardener needs to grab a tool or a cup of coffee while he works around my 'casita'. I have the benefit of neighbours and the fact the lush greenery means you can't see any of the houses from the street. It's kind of like a mini-gated community. There is always someone around, including several small children.


I am 7 km from the town of Heredia, with its shopping malls and American chain restaurants (hey, it doesn't hurt to have a WalMart available for a one a month stock up on certain items), and maybe 20 minutes to SJ, if I absolutely must go to PF Chang's or something. I can get to Jaco in under 2 hours easily, if I don't go during peak times, which I am able to do.


I spent 6 weeks in San Rafael de Escazu, while my little house was being renoed, and although I appreciated the upscale restaurants, the Starbucks down the road, the big modern movie theatre, etc., I wondered why on earth anyone would move from NA or Europe to live in escazu? It's not much different than most places in NA, except that it's more expensive. You could get the same climate in the southern US at a fraction of the cost or hassles of living in a foreign country where English isn't all that prevalent.


If you're moving to CR, why on earth wouldn't you move to somewhere that has the advantages of fresh air, incredible landscaping/gardens/greenery/forests, organic food, friendly people and low costs (My café 'latte' at one of the local bakeries costs me $1) ?


My tenants are paying more in rent than what it would cost to buy the place, although that doesn't account for property taxes, about the only 'extra' expense. My taxes here are 1/4 of what they would be back home.


I am earning a decent return on my 'investment', and I get to spend my days improving my property, which is something I love to do anyway. I'm not sure what other retirees do in their rentals, read books? Lie in the sun? Not for me.


I hired an arborist who is cleaning up the overgrown forest surrounding my place (untouched for 50 years I'd say) and he is charging me the astronomical sum of 2500 colones per hour, but I also must supply his gas and bar oil for his ancient but beautifully working chainsaw.


So for $40 he trimmed branches that were 80 feet up, and felled a bunch of large cypress tress that had to fall between my house and the road, no small feat. I would have paid $1000, very conservatively, for the same work back home.


I gave him $10 extra for such a great job and he was thrilled. So he's coming back tomorrow to continue (it took us a week to clear the branches and brush he cleared the first day).


So yes, you can move to Escazu and pay $8 for a milkshake or $15 for a hamburger, and probably pay $50 for a repairman to visit, and you might wonder why you heard that retiring abroad was cheap, or you can move to a beautiful, tropical paradise 20 minutes away (in the right direction) and live like a king and pay what the locals pay, which is probably about 10% of what ex pats in escazu pay.


Just my experience.


I was going to put my place up for sale as soon as I got it fixed up, but now I am thinking this is my home for at least 6 months of the year, maybe more, for at least the next 10 years.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, and one last thing, as an ex-financial services employee with 25 years international experience in currency and debt markets, i would, in the absolute strongest possible way, urge anyone to avoid at all costs putting any money in any financial institution here, especially to earn a return in colones.


I absolutely guarantee you that the colon will devalue significantly at some point in the (near? probably not, likely within 3 years) future, more than wiping out any interest that you might get, and that says nothing about the security (or lack thereof) of your principal. Think Argentina, although CR is not nearly so hopeless as that basket case, yet. But the government here is heading down the same road.


If you think that earning 6% or 9% is a low risk proposition, well, I have a nice bridge for sale in Guanacaste that you also might be interested in.


People recommending such an incredibly risky 'investment' of other people's life savings, without even a casual nod to the devaluation risks involved, should be ashamed, jmho.


Not that you should jump into buying RE either. I am all for renting, especially in a foreign country. I just personally like to spend my time adding value to a property, and I have some skill and experience with that. And, I have found an almost perfect property for my interests. But even so, at some point I will want to sell, and I fully realize that will be a multi year process.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems that you have 'hit the jackpot'!


You don't mention if you pay your employee's CAJA and INS (required even if he is an documented or undocumented Nicaraguan), and if this is the case, be careful, because if you sell the property and hence 'lay him off' you will be expected to pay his termination package, which is based on his weekly work, plus his accommodation provided and his 'providing security'...plus the back CAJA premiums.


Link to post
Share on other sites

No one can really predict the future. And that includes you, jincr. Obviously, for the Banco de Costa Rica or the Banco Nacional to fail, it would mean a failure of the whole government of Costa Rica so we would all be sitting at the mouths of caves with rifles or else standing in line for the "last flight out."


Of course, anyone with half a brain keeps up a bit with what's going on and can do something with their money if things start looking really bleak.


And good luck with your property. It's funny that you imply that the banks (and the country) are going to fail, but yet you are buying property? Hmmmm

Edited by eleanorcr
Link to post
Share on other sites

Although this forum is weighted to people who rent, it also has more posts about the costs of everything and how they compare to other parts of the world, which are simply opinions. I am guessing many people simply are not in a position to buy, which is fine. Stating that "no has ever been unhappy about renting vs some people are unhappy about buying" is an opinion and comparing apples and oranges.


We bought, we are delighted we bought, we would do it again and if you you can get your head around the 'differences' (not good or bad, just different) of owning in a different country than your own, it is simply a wonderful experience.


Take your time, be prudent and complete in the process and you may find buying (location, location, location) might just be better than renting! Enjoy the journey!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Take your time, be prudent and complete in the process and you may find buying (location, location, location) might just be better than renting! Enjoy the journey!


As to renting vs owning in CR I'm in agreement with you. I can easily see the value of buying a place once one knows s/he is going to stay in CR or when the person finally knows where s/he wants to be located in CR. Owning after the initial expense of purchase, periodic repairs, and CR taxes can often be less expensive than renting which can be a major factor when one is retired and on a fixed income.


But not everyone can be certain -even after an extended period of time- that s/he will be staying 'forever' in CR or know where exactly in CR they really want to be. Alas, I fall into this latter group for whatever personal reasons.


Fortunately the Forums offers its members 'something for everyone' and there has been much good and useful advice offered to many on here over the years. I hope that will continue.




Paul M.


Link to post
Share on other sites

sorry that you didn't seem to understand my posts Eleanor, I clearly stated I did not buy here but received a property as part of a settlement.

I also did not say the big risk is failure of financial institutions (although that is certainly possible) but the much more obvious one of devaluation.


I don't mind criticism at all, but helps if you at least get your facts right, otherwise you're just totally misrepresenting what I wrote.

And if you think you're going to be quick enough (or even allowed) to pull your money out of a bank here before a devaluation happens, well, you deserve what's going to happen to you I'm afraid.


When governments devalue they usually do it after denying it will happen over and over. Then they surprise everyone by doing it on a weekend, so you can't do anything about it.


if you were even remotely aware of the Argentinian devaluation, which was textbook, you might not be so smug. The government even took people's USD deposits and converted them to pesos at the pre devaluation rate and then devalued! Incredible but it happened, and not that long ago. In fact, my neighbour down the street here was wiped out in that little debacle, and we are talking about a large amount of wealth, that was cut by 80% overnight.

I don't expect anything quite so dramatic here, but to not even warn people about the possibility is irresponsible to say the least.


If it was such a good deal, don't you think people from all over the world would be changing their euros and yen and dollars into colones and earning themselves 9%? You might want to ask yourself why the smart money is not doing that.


Final point, it makes perfect sense to own real assets if you expect devaluation, which is the same thing as inflation. So please spare me from further economic lessons, you're a danger to people's financial well being.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.