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I have begun to look for a house to purchase and would welcome any leads.

My area of interest is within 50 km of San Ramon. I would like a house of at least 2 br/2 ba with US style kitchen and secure parking. Also wanted is at least a half acre of land. Preferences include being reachable with minimal travel on dirt roads (<1 km), a pool, laundry room, pantry and being out of earshot of any neighbors unless they are either a) birds or b) monkeys. 

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A pool?  You'd probably be better off to ax that from the list, get the house you want in the area you want and put in your own pool.  Houses with pools are not that common.  Also -- with only 1/2 an acre, I doubt you will be out of earshot of neighbors.  I once lived 3 km from the highway through town but could sometimes hear the tractor trailers as they slowed down for the speed bumps. 

For neighbors, one of the best ways is just to ask the other neighbors what it's like.  They can tell you if people stay out late and come home in a loud car at 1 am or if there are teenagers playing loud music or if the have big BBQs with lots of people and cars.  For better isolation from neighbor problems, I think you'd be looking at a larger property - more like 2 or 3 hectares.  (And start thinking in terms of hectares because that's how land is described here.)  If you find a place you like, visit it during various times of the day.  Walk around the neighborhood and you can learn a lot.  Be sure to visit after dark. 

Hey, good luck!  Hope you find the place you want.  The area around San Ramon is gorgeous.

 

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On 7/4/2019 at 9:24 PM, SEATURTLEWOMAN said:

You didn't mention roosters.  How do you feel about them?  :)

Not fond of them at all. As they are technically birds, my previous statement needs to be amended:

...and being out of earshot of any neighbors unless they are either a) birds* or b) monkeys. 

*except roosters

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'My' monkeys often howled all night...

Having a pool in your aforementioned area, you may find it too cold to use at this higher elevation, plus may experience dirty water in the rainy season.

Edited by costaricafinca

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11 minutes ago, costaricafinca said:

'My' monkeys...Having a pool....

Noted, and thanks for your thoughts. Can't do much about noisy monkeys I suppose, but pools can have heaters. 

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16 hours ago, sweikert925 said:
11 hours ago, Criollo said:

. . . and a filter and vacuum should be standard equipment. 

. . . 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. 

 

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It is my intention to make use of solar power either for heating water alone or potentially the whole house. Yes, I know it is less of a matter of economics to do so since the break even would be quite a long time. But ecology and sustainability are things I have strong opinions about. I've already gotten an estimate from one of the solar installation contractors here and will eventually get others. 

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I understand having the independence of your own solar installation.  But in Costa Rica, that has little to do with "ecology and sustainability" since electricity is generated by "renewables." 

Depending on the area where you live, a solar installation may not be that effective.  I used to live in a rainforest area where a solar installation would not be the thing.   I now live in Guanacaste where using solar is more realistic. 

I'd get your property first and then figure out what would be the best way to generate your own electricity.  Who knows, it might be wind or hydro or a combination of all three!  Location would also be important in deciding whether you need a pool heater or not.  And.... of course..... just how warm you want that water to be!  Probably cheaper than a pool heater would be a cover that you could put on at night in order to retain some of the day's heat overnight. 

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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 . . .)

 

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3 hours ago, David C. Murray said:

... 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. 

 

That is the way I am leaning, but since I don't have a house yet and haven't even sold my US home, I can't really budget for the solar until I have all the figures to do so. But even if solar is an add-on down the road it is pretty definite that I will do that. 

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12 hours ago, sweikert925 said:

. . . even if solar is an add-on down the road it is pretty definite that I will do that. 

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.

 

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If you are still looking for a house in San Ramon. we have one for sale...3 bed 3 bath plus office.  Secure garage.  1 1/2 acres.  Totally private and secure.  Has solar heated pool with solar powered pump.  Also has solar hot water in the house.  Totally modern kitchen, all appliances stainless steel.  Fully furnished.  A truck is available for purchase as well.  House is about 5km from central San Ramon with an all weather road which will be finished paving to the gate over the next few weeks.  If interested in more information, private message me.

Edited by griffco
spelling mistake

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