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Retire Early in Costa Rica


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Your dream of early retirement may seem like a far-fetched idea. With the prices of healthcare, medicine, fuel, food, and retirement area properties rising at historical rates in the United States and elsewhere, it can be frightful even thinking of retirement. You may be even more anxious if you are one of the millions of ‘middle-class baby boomers’ just starting to seriously consider your retirement options. If you look at the typical options like Florida or Arizona, where the cost of living has been climbing, you would have to work MORE years to afford it. Early retirement then becomes unthinkable. We have done some thinking about your dilemma and designed a program that allows you to RETIRE EARLY in paradise.


A NEW rent-to-own real estate program, combined with knowledge of transitioning to Costa Rica, and the substantially lower cost of living here are the keys to this innovative program. If you cannot afford to buy a house right away because you are 1-2 years away from receiving your pension or Social Security, or you are waiting for your house to sell in your base country, this lease-purchase program offers you a solution to retire early. With a lease-purchase you will build equity in a rental home of your choice, and you will lock in today’s real estate prices without making a large financial commitment upfront.


At the rate the value of Costa Rican real estate is growing the future appreciation may be quite significant. Whether you decide to purchase the home or sell your option, the value of your equity will be realized. In Scott Oliver’s informative book, How to Buy Real Estate in Costa Rica without Losing Your Camisa, he offers the smart advice to rent before you buy. A rent-to-own is an excellent opportunity to get to know Costa Rica and your desired area while receiving financial gain from your rental home. You can rent-to-build or rent-to-look at other properties and either way you will build equity.


You no longer need a large chunk of money to retire early. The program requires a deposit of at least 3% of the purchase price that will be applied to the price when you buy the home. However, each property is different and they may require a larger deposit. This deposit guarantees your exclusive right to purchase the property during the term and secures the current market price of the home. The deposit is non-refundable if you decide to walk away from the property or if you default on your lease.


Sample Rent-to-Own Property

Option Purchase Price- $200,000

Monthly Rent - $1,000

Monthly Equity Credit - $500

Deposit Required - $10,000 (5%)

Term - 1 year


When your one-year term is up, assuming the real estate value has gone up 10%, the deal will be as follows: You will have a house worth $220,000 where only you owe $184,000 ($200,000 OPP - $10,000 deposit - $6000 equity credits). That is $36,000 ($220,000 - $184,000) in real equity.


Managing your transition to Costa Rica is nearly as important as finding the right home in order to retire early. Issues ranging from residency, banking, healthcare, bureaucracy, travel, and real estate need to be handled properly and efficiently. Navigating through these issues requires local knowledge and experience dealing with the labyrinth of red tape in Costa Rica.


The final key to realizing an early retirement to Costa Rica is the low cost of living. The costs of average monthly bills are; electric $40, phone $25, cable TV $35, garbage removal $5, and the internet bill is $15. One of those bills in a typical North American suburb may equal those expenses combined. Healthcare and food costs are where the most dramatic savings occur. In her book, Living Abroad in Costa Rica, Erin Van Rheenen estimates that one can live for about 50% less than in North America. And depending on the type of car and property you desire, you may experience even more savings.


This program is an excellent opportunity to explore a tropical retirement area and realize the financial benefits of this hot market. The most difficult aspect of this program is finding or negotiating this type of real estate deal. Although it is a relatively simple transaction for you (the retiree), it is essential to have a qualified team to facilitate your deal. Finding a knowledgeable local agent and a trustworthy lawyer with experience in real estate and transitioning to Costa Rica is vital. Your dreams of early retirement to tropical luxury can be achieved. Now – is the time to lock in today’s real estate prices to achieve the benefits of this rising market.


Jeff Hickcox

Costa Rica Land & Property



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