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PamK

Can you really still find rentals under $500/month?

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My husband and I plan to move and retire to Costa Rica next Feb-Mar 2015. He is taking early retirement at age 62 on Social Security. I will have to wait 4 more years before mine starts. I do tons of research but have heard that realistically, you should double the prices you read. Is this true or depends on lifestyle? We won't require much but don't want to struggle either. We want to live on $1200 a month if realistic. We will have a bit more but want to be able to come back to the states to visit family once or twice a year. We don't plan on having a car or bringing a lot of stuff. Just a couple of suitcases each. We live in Florida near the beach and would like to stay near the coast if we can afford it. I know this part sounds crazy but we aren't even going before taking the plunge, we have never been.

Pam

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Hi Pam and welcome to the Forums.

 

You will find a lot of useful information on here, but I'd suggest you try to confine your investigations in our archives mostly to the last two years as many things do -and have- changed in Costa Ria.

 

There are also many Forums Members who will be willing to share information and their experiences in Costa Rica with you.

 

Meanwhile I am forwarding to you this bit of info about the requirements which can be found linked at the:

 

ARCR (Association of Residents of Costa Rica)

 

Once you are on the page at the above link, click on the YELLOW Residency tab where you will find the requirements for several residency types and also a list of required documents.

 

From what you've said so far it sounds like you both could come in under PENSIONADO status. At this point your husband's pension would allow your husband to be the primary and you the secondary both together under his pension -if he is currently receiving it and:

 

- it is at least in the amount of US$1000 per month

- it is irrevocable, and

- it is for life

 

Pensionado status is the easiest way to gain residency. It can take up to around a year more or less to be approved.

 

More info about this is available along with the Residency info tab at the link above.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Regards,

 

Paul M.

Forums Moderator

==

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I personally do not think you will find suitable accommodations for $500 or less a month anywhere near a beach (at least not at my beach). When I say suitable, I mean suitable by my standards. You say you don't need much, but you really need to be specific about what you do need. It sounds like you will need a furnished home - including appliances. Also sounds like you'll have to stick to larger beach towns where you can get by with no car. Those two things could increase your rental prices substantially. Do you need AC? Any rental at the beach will make you pay your own electric, & I can promise you it isn't cheap. I pay more for electric for my beach house in Costa Rica than I do for my beach house in Florida. Do you need hot water? Do you need screens on your windows? Do you need bars on your windows (highly recommended)? Do you need easy access to a hospital? All of these things can influence where you can even begin to look for accommodations.

 

I could sit here & ask you questions like that all evening.

 

Jessica

Edited by ReevesTribe

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Yes, thanks. I know all of that information. I only need to know about cheap rent right now. I can't trust outdated information because prices go up.

Pam

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Jessica, you are right. By not much I mean one bedroom, one bath tico style or what ever. Screens yes, furnished yes. I've seen a couple of things in the Tico Times under $500 but they are in the central valley or north. I don't want any mountain cool climates. Also, we just would like to be close to the coast, within walking distance. We do realize we might have to live further inland. Just need to hear from someone who has firsthand knowledge somewhere.

Thanks for responding.

Pam

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That is where giving some specific info about what you do need really helps. We have lots of helpful/knowledgeable members of this forum, spread out all over Costa Rica, but we all live different lifestyles, prefer different climates, & we all probably have different ideas of what it means to not need much!

 

With the rental you posted about, the main thing to monitor will be the AC use/electric. It should be manageable if you're moving into a small studio versus a condo, town home, or independent house. I've never been to Playas del Coco but I know there are a few forum members who live there, so they can chime in if that is an area you're interested in. My home is 30 minutes south of Jaco in the Esterillos area (not walkable to anything besides the beach & a tiny pulperia).

 

Jessica

Edited by ReevesTribe

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Living on $1200 a month is possible, but it would be living very frugally. There are people living on that. Many people who are ignore the fact that they bought a house and car and don't count that in their budgets (I don't recommend you do that). $2000 is a better number for most people. We often spend around that when we aren't including any major purchases or trips. Our friends, Paul and Gloria Yeatman live on less than $2000 and have a blog that details all of their spending. http://retireforlessincostarica.com/

 

We lived for 1 1/2 years without a car and not in a city. You can do it, but I like having a car now.

 

Our rent is $400 month on a nice 3 br, 2 bath house with a great view. Before that we lived in a smaller house for $240 per month. We are in the mountains and are not beach people. We are the only gringos in this area.

 

Your rent will be affected by the type of community you live in. If you want to live in a gringo enclave in a resort area, you will never be able to do it for $1000.

 

If you want to be near the coast, you may find something if you live a bit away from the tourist areas. If you go 5 - 10 miles from one you are interested in, prices may drop a lot.

 

Electricity costs a lot! It is double what it is in the states. I am comfortable saying that your budget will not support an air conditioned home.

 

You may have to make some compromises on your wish list and may have to live frugally until you both have pensions.

 

Don't even consider it unless you have an emergency reserve of cash so if things don't work out you can bail. Then it's just a long vacation.

 

T

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Thanks Tom. That answers my question. That's all I wanted to know is if you can still find rentals under $500. We can adjust where we live to the price. Can't wait to be there!

Pam

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Many of the best rental properties are not listed and will be found by word of mouth. But you need to be living in your chosen area to find them. They will find you once you start looking and asking.

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We pay about $430 per month. We have real hot water in the shower and kitchen sink (by that, I mean not a suicide shower, but a little on-demand heater), but not in the bathroom sink or laundry room. We do not have air conditioning or a dryer. We live in a small 2bdm apartment, the only unit on the 2nd floor, high sloped beamed ceilings, nice breeze. The 2nd bedroom is probably the size of a large walk-in closet by US standards. We have a simple closet in each bedroom. One bathroom: tiny. Kitchen and living area is one combined room. No balcony. There is a tiny grassed area and a carport, but I don't feel like it's our "yard", since it seems to belong more to the folks who live downstairs. If we had a yard/porch/balcony, I'd be completely happy with this apartment. It feels bigger than it is to me, because of the high ceilings, and the fact that we get a lot of light, but it's really a small place. We live in a small town in the central valley. I'm sure this place would cost quite a bit more were it located near the beach. Good luck!

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I just read someone on here has a condo in Playas del Coca for $450/month wanting long term renter. That is promising.

Pam that is a 2011 post. I live in Playa del Coco for 3 & 1/2 years. I have a town house. 2 bed & 2 1/2 baths,2 storey. own laundry room in my home,includes cable & internet. Fully furnished inc. all appliances etc. nice furniture. Small pool. Total 4 homes on property. I pay $450 + $15 month water plus my electric. About 100 meters to beach. There are lots rentals $400-$500 month & usually include cable/internet. Some studio or 1 or 2 bed. best to arrange before high season Nov. - April. Best to arrive & stay in B/B or such then ask about & get a place. i stayed B/B 2 nights then found this place. Ads on internet,Craigs list etc. usually listing high prices. Best to check store boars,ask locals or drive around & see rent signs.

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I think it will be very difficult for you both to live within your proposed budget.

You are required to apply for Residency and of course that will then make it compulsory for you to be affiliated with CAJA, the socialized healthcare system here, which will cost at $100 per month by the time you have obtained residency.

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