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DandelionDeseos

Safest way to place deposit from abroad (avoid rip-off)?

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Hello! I have found a room for rent in Costa Rica that asks for a deposit (understandable). I do not live in the country, but will be moving there in August and would like to go ahead and put down the deposit now. What is the safest way (i.e. to avoid getting ripped off) to send them the money, and make sure that it is noted somewhere that we payed them this money as a deposit on the room??

 

Thank you!

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Helllo Rebecca,

 

My advice is to never rent long-term a place in CR sight-unseen. You are just asking for trouble!

 

That place you are considering is not the only place that is available nor that will be available by the time you arrive. There are lots of good fish in the sea -ones that do not require an advance deposit yet which are safe, honest and reliable places to stay.

 

I would recommend that you find some place that does not charge an advance or better/best that you simply wait 'til you are there to find something permanent.

 

In the meanwhile, book someplace for a short inititial stay for a week or two or up to a month and look for suitable long-tern lodging after you get there.

 

You don't say what area in which you expect to be be staying, but to start with -and if it is not far from where you intend to relocate- I would recommend staying in Alajuela which is the town next to the airport. There are a number of B&Bs in Alajuela and many people have recommended one called Hotel Vida Tropical B&B. I can vouch for it myself, having stayed there happily for about twelve visits over the last nine years.

 

Once ensconced there you will be able to look around for more permanent lodging without having to rush things and perhaps quickly make an unnecessarily inferior decision.

 

If you are expecting to be staying a long way from the airport/Alajuela, it might be helpful for you to offer this group that information so someone can suggest a different, but reliable, temporary place for you to stay initially while you search for your permanent, longer-term lodging.

 

Over on another group where you have cross-posted this same request, you have received similar responses, plus some useful explanations for why it is inot the best idea to pay for something in advance the way you are considering. Rental places come and go, fairly quickly, which does seem daunting from afar. But once you are in CR you will find that you will be able to keep an eye on what becomes available locally and check it out and/or make a move on it before it gets snapped up.

 

Maybe Julie H. who posts on these Forums will be kind enough to weigh in on how they found a rental place in Alajuela (it so happens), but her's and her hubby's methods are something you could use to your advantage in your lodging quest.

 

Best of Luck!

 

Paul M.

==

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Red flags, red flags, if you are already squeamish about the honor of the landlord to recognize your deposit, then move on. Paul is right, you might get down here and find it ain't what it said in the pictures. It is a renters market here (at least in my area) and there is no need to rush into a committment before you get here. There are scads of B&B's, cabinas, hostels etc you could use for a day or two to get your bearings.

As an aside, Liberia airport is a piece of cake when you are bringing in a pet.

Friends just brought their boxer with them (she was in cargo hold) and did not need a broker.

 

You never metioned - have you been to Costa Rica before?

 

 

best of luck

cindy

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Forget it, you are wasting your time, Paul, CRF and Lunja - this person is going to do what she is going to do. I don't even know why she posted questions here since she already knows the answers.

 

Dandelion - if you insist on doing this (which apparently you do against all good advice) then you can do a bank to bank transfer and then you will have a record, not that it will do you any good.

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Hi Dandelion -

Especially if you are from the states, the instinct is to have something all set up, and ready to move into. I think we all want that "comfort" at first, and don't realize that a little discomfort at this point will pay off greatly in the long run. If you plan on taking your time when you get here, you will find what you want. Especially in August, you will not need more than a week - if you know the area you want to live in, and if you stay (as suggested above) in the area while looking. We have done this 4 times, in different areas, and only had a problem once (high season, not staying in the same town where we were looking to live, etc. - learned our lesson there).

You can read about our experiences by following this link (in reverse time-order):

http://julieandrickincostarica.blogspot.com/search/label/rental

good luck!

Julie

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Hi all, thank you Epicatt2, Luna, Costaricafinca, and JulieH for all your advice and the information!! I really appreciate it.

 

Eleanorcr, there's no need to attack me. What do you mean I know all the answers? Yes, we do plan on moving, no, we are not sure the best way to do it. Hence the questions. Thank you anyway.

 

Anyway, it is not that I am overly "squeamish" about the place. I don't care if someone seems like the nicest person in the world online, I will not trust them 100% unless I know them personally (or know them through a friend, that is also better). Therefore, I want to go about doing this the best way possible.

 

This place seems very nice online, there's pictures, the contact was very polite, and deposit is completely understandable as it would be in any place, whether in Costa Rica or not.

 

We agree that we would eventually like our own apartment, but, as was mentioned earlier, yes, we do want that comfort of being set up already. :) Especially having a cat who does not in the least bit like to travel (although I'm glad to read that it should be easy to get through the airport with her) we want to have headquarters when we get there, which will allow us to be able to focus on job-hunting for the first month.

After much looking, we both like the location and place that we have chosen. Not to mention that if we are unsuccessful in finding jobs, we won't be able to stay anyway, therefore we just need these temporary accommodations until we get settled in, then we can decide if we want to move or not. And Costaricafinca- having or not having a job will influence us a bit, but not too much. We're on a tight budget, and will be trying to stay in the cheap range, regardless of whether we find jobs or not (since as I've been warned if we find anything we can expect low pay).

 

Thank you again so much everyone for your help, I will look it all over in detail tonight!

Edited by DandelionDeseos

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Don't give anyone money in advance down here for a deposit unless it's a big hotel chain like the Marriott. If you have to do it, make the deposit using a credit card (not a debit card). Then you can always go through the lengthy process of disputing the charges. It shouldn't cost you more than 5% of the deposit amount to do it this way.

 

Don't sweat all the negativity from certain members on this message board. You'll find work and a way to make it in CR if you want it bad enough. Just expect the road to be a rocky one with many life lessons and pitfalls along the way. It's all just part of the ride that makes life unique here.

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When we first moved here a year ago, we sent our deposit using moneygram. We did meet the owner during one of our trips and felt comfortable doing so. We didn't have any issues at all.

Regarding the remarks about renting a place you haven't seen in person, i will say this, based on my experience in looking for a new home (our lease is up and we'd like a bigger place)...pics can be very deceiving, especially if you can't see the surrounding area. There have been some houses that look great...and they do, but the area they are in look like something out of an Antonio Banderas movie...you expect to see a shoot out in the streets.

I don't know what you're situation is so you may not have a choice. I'm just adding my 2 cents based on current and past experience.

 

HTH and Good Luck.

Edited by ebjr

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Hello! I have found a room for rent in Costa Rica that asks for a deposit (understandable). I do not live in the country, but will be moving there in August and would like to go ahead and put down the deposit now. What is the safest way (i.e. to avoid getting ripped off) to send them the money, and make sure that it is noted somewhere that we payed them this money as a deposit on the room??

 

Thank you!

 

I dunno. I think at the end of the day you have to trust your best instincts. A cool thing about CR is that, to a far greater extent than the cultural right in the US believes, character really counts here. Yeah, you can probably trust a Marriott, but after this it all amounts to getting vibes from a person and going with your sense of them. Then too, if you notice (I have) people will be real quick to give you a receipt. It may not be worth anything even if you go to court, but watch the receipt. Those who strive to be honest will almost always even volunteer one. It's a tough issue. I did a small deposit long distance and there was no problem, though I was prepared to tell the driver to take me to a hotel if there was. You have to trust at some level, while not being a sucker. There is no one answer.

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I dunno. I think at the end of the day you have to trust your best instincts. A cool thing about CR is that, to a far greater extent than the cultural right in the US believes, character really counts here. Yeah, you can probably trust a Marriott, but after this it all amounts to getting vibes from a person and going with your sense of them. Then too, if you notice (I have) people will be real quick to give you a receipt. It may not be worth anything even if you go to court, but watch the receipt. Those who strive to be honest will almost always even volunteer one. It's a tough issue. I did a small deposit long distance and there was no problem, though I was prepared to tell the driver to take me to a hotel if there was. You have to trust at some level, while not being a sucker. There is no one answer.

 

I had a good experience in trusting Marriott and National car rental.

 

In a recent trip to CR, I rented a car and had it delivered to my hotel.

 

The day before my morning flight out, National was to meet me at the Residence Inn at 5pm to return the car. The National employee was running late, so I had the Marriott desk clerk call them for me. National car rental advised they would be able to pick it up until the next day (I had an early morning flight and took a taxi to the airport before the National office was open for the day). So National advised I leave the rental car keys with the Marriott desk clerk for them to pick up after my departure. My US trained instincts were to find another solution but I couldnt think of one without changing my flight, so went with the flow.

 

The bill from National reflected my return of the car the day before my flight and the vehicle in the conidtion I received it. My US training was not to trust, but both the National car person and the clerk at the Marriott seemed trustworthy and were in this case.

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I am not as concerned about the deposit for a place sight unseen, as I am about the job search. Are you coming down on work visas? Do you have skills that the local population can not do? The laws are clear about no employment unless you are a permanent resident, or there is a need for your particular job skill, or you open a business, do not work in it, but hire locals to do the work. I think if you haven't researched these kinds of issues about living in Costa Rica as an expat., then a home or apt. is the least of your concerns. Just want to give you a heads up and not be a wet blanket. Costa Rica is a neat place to live as a retired person. It isn't for everyone, but has worked for my husband and me, in dec. 2003 we came down, with 5 suitcases and no idea where or what we were going to rent. We had our paperwork submitted for residency, we'd done 2 years of research and lengthy vacations, and bought a newspaper to start our rental search. Stayed in a condo for 2 months in Escazu, then found a lovely 2 bedroom home in Atenas we rented for 2 years. Searched for our own property to buy and build on and found something perfect for us, have a wonderful block home, view of ocean and are awaiting our permanent residency status change approval, from pensionado. So there is an order to making this happen, with due diligence, eyes wide open and reality mixed with emotional intuition as your guide. Our heart was in every single quest along the way and things did fall into place. Not without some hassles, delays and glitches in dealing with a different cultures' methods, but we feel blessed and always have, throughout this almost 7 years. Buen Suerte!

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Hi. You can set up an escrow account at one of the Title companies if you really want to reserve the unit. Then once you get there and review the property the funds can be release on inspection and that can all be put in the escrow agreement. It will cost alittle but is a way that you can 100% protect yourself. But I would personally rent a place at a aparthotel for a week and then look for a place that will fit your needs. Good luck.

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