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LORAINE

LAKE ARENAL CITIES AND WEATHER

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I am new to the forum, so not quite sure how it operates. I have been visiting CR for some years and have traveled up and down the Pacific coast as well as Central Valley and to the Arenal area. While I love all of it for 'visiting', we particularly like the Nuevo Arenal area for retiring. It's clean, has stores, banks, etc., as well as some Americans. It is 15 years to retirement, but thought I'd buy a small piece of land in the area (prices are only going up). Questions...I get conflicting advice on areas. Since we'd be there half a year during the US winter, I'd want the driest and least windy area. I want great views of water and volcano, etc. I really like the Nuevo Arenal, Aguacate area and have been told it gets much less wind. Realtors have suggested Tilaran, Tronadora, San Luis. I can't seem to find much info on weather there. Can anyone suggest a particular area on the NW or SW side of the lake that would be a good place to look? We contemplated buying an old, cheap place and fixing it up (seems like far less red tape), but the houses are quite tiny and want to have some land, too. We know people in the area, so they could keep an eye on the place. Any suggestions on which areas of that side of the lake to look? And any idea on price per sq meter for land over on that side? I've seen it any where from $17 to $50 per sq mt. We're going in early November for 2 weeks and will be meeting with a few different realtors. Any suggestions you can provide would be wonderful! Thanks.

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Hi Lorraine,

 

Welcome to the Forums. You will find many helpful people here, so feel free to ask questions.

 

Do not buy anything no matter how alluring it seems until you have spent some time -3 to 6 months, or longer- in Costa Rica in areas that interest you to see if they are really suitable and are what you want. As Lunja said just above: RENT, to which I'll add RENT, RENT!

 

Keep foremost in mind that visiting/vacationing in Costa Rica is not at all like living in Costa Rica. A short visit will not give you a proper sense for what living in CR is about.

 

Do not encumber your money in a house or property because that is just taking a big chance that afterwards you might find out that the area is not for you for any number of reasons that were not apparent at the 'front-end' of the deal. But by then your money is tied up in the property you bought and you'll have to wait to get it back out of the purchase by selling it and in CR it can take a good while to sell.

 

You really need to spend a whole year's cycle (maybe broken into several visits) to see how the weather really works and how the seasons progress.

 

By all means do come and check out different areas, but for heaven's sake do not buy anything on the spur of the moment or just because you just 'fell in love with it', or because it's a wonderful opportunity or bargain.

 

In Costa Rica there is always another 'bargain' just around the corner!

 

I don't mean to try to scare you away from Costa Rica with my post. I only want to put you on high-alert about buying real estate in CER right off the bat. I am certain that some other Forums members will back me up on this and maybe will provide other situations to avoid as a newbee to CR.

 

Fingers X-ed for you...

 

HTH

 

Paul M.

==

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15 years out is a long time. Everything about the land or home or community could change in 15 years. We have seen drastic changes across the board for just about everything. Life is what happens while you are making other plans! RENT!!!!

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I agree that you really need to know an area before you invest there. Sure, look around during your visit to get a rough idea of prices, but don't buy until you've spent more time in the area. Of course, you could talk to people who already live there to learn about the weather and local conditions.

 

I think real estate prices in CR are still going lower in most areas, and I don't think there's an urgent need to buy now instead of a year or two from now. I suggest you don't invest in a somewhat risky area, more than you can afford to lose. After you buy you'll have many (10+) years to decide if you want to keep it, live there someday, or sell it. And if you decide to sell it you might not be in a hurry, so if it takes a few years to sell it that could be okay.

 

My Tica fiancee did all those things with a property she bought 11 years ago, in an area similar to Arenal. She's been a US citizen since then, and always lived here, but she visits with her family who live in CR and they go and visit the property, enjoy it, occasionally harvest some fruit and plants, make sure the caretaker is keeping up with things, and they don't worry about it. She bought it for $11k, and she has been offered more than $80k recently. She originally thought she might someday build a house there, but has since decided on other choices. No big deal, she'll sell it when the time is right for her.

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Ciclista, I found your suggestions similar to my goal. While the others say "just rent", that is fine, but it really doesn't address the investment side of it. My idea was that of Ciclista...not spend a fortune on a piece of land, and certainly not buy a house right now, but more to find a good deal and sit on it. It is true that in 15 years my plans may change. But wouldn't it be nice to have a piece of property that will most likely appreciate in value during that time? I have 10-15 years to contemplate what I want to do with the land and, if my plans change, I can sell it. Again, after 10 years, I can't imagine a piece of property with a beautiful lake view just outside of town can go down in value. Right now, I'm looking at it as an investment. It can always be sold. It's like would you buy Apple stock at $300+ per share now or would you have rather bought it at $40 per share a number of years ago. That being said, which areas do you find to be the least windy and rainy on the NW and SW side of the lake that aren't too far out of a town? I was also told to keep an eye on the trees and see if they are standing straight or leaning and deformed--supposed to be a good way to tell how windy a particular area is. Thank you for your opinions.

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Ciclista, I found your suggestions similar to my goal. While the others say "just rent", that is fine, but it really doesn't address the investment side of it. My idea was that of Ciclista...not spend a fortune on a piece of land, and certainly not buy a house right now, but more to find a good deal and sit on it. It is true that in 15 years my plans may change. But wouldn't it be nice to have a piece of property that will most likely appreciate in value during that time? I have 10-15 years to contemplate what I want to do with the land and, if my plans change, I can sell it. Again, after 10 years, I can't imagine a piece of property with a beautiful lake view just outside of town can go down in value. Right now, I'm looking at it as an investment. It can always be sold. It's like would you buy Apple stock at $300+ per share now or would you have rather bought it at $40 per share a number of years ago. That being said, which areas do you find to be the least windy and rainy on the NW and SW side of the lake that aren't too far out of a town? I was also told to keep an eye on the trees and see if they are standing straight or leaning and deformed--supposed to be a good way to tell how windy a particular area is. Thank you for your opinions.

 

No one so far has mentioned the problem of squatters. In CR there are folks called precaristas who squat undeveloped properties and by CR law the longer they are on the property without being evicted by the property owner, the more difficult it becomes to evict them. Eventually, if not removed, they will gain title to the land.

 

I don't hear so much about this these days, but I'm sure it still happens.

 

So if you are planning to buy a property for use some years later, you absolutely MUST 'stay on top of things', literally and physically, making sure your property is not invaded by squatters.

 

HTH

 

Paul M.

==

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No one so far has mentioned the problem of squatters.

 

We pay a caretaker about $30 a month to keep the grasses mowed, the hibiscus fences trimmed, and things like that. He would tell us about any squatters, which is easier to keep track of for a property that isn't more than a few acres. Our lawyer tells us that maintaining the property in these ways helps to convince a judge that squatters can't obtain any rights to the land.

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Thank you, Paul. Yes, I would make sure to have someone keep an eye on it, plus visit it each time we went. Actually, the lot I found last year (through the inn keeper we stayed with) is being sold by one of her former employees, now a good friend. And he said he would be glad to keep an eye on it as his mother lives next door. I think I read that after a year of squatting, it is quite difficult to have someone removed. Lots of things to think about.

 

 

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Loraine,

 

I'm sorry that I cannot tell you about the winds around Arenal. However, although the advice to rent is excellent for many people, it would not have been right for me. I could tell by the plants growing on the property, flowering plants, bushes and trees, that the area that I was investing in would be right for me. I was aching to see a hibiscus hedge (not just one plant in a pot indoors) and bamboo grow where there is enough water to sustain them, the direction and strength of the winds will be shown in the growth pattern of the native trees. Moreover, the climate that is good for coffee plants is also perfect for human habitation.

Lake Arenal is if not completely man-made then certainly man-enhanced, is famous for windsurfing so it may have an effect on the micro climates around it.

I am glad that I invested 10 years ago and have been able to see cuttings and seedlings grow and flourish, which I could not have done by renting in various places.

Good Luck.

AnneLise

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Hi AnneLise,

 

I think exactly as you. It would be very easy to just rent a month here, a month there, until retirement...but it's not the same as owning a piece of land to do with what you want. I would like to purchase something while I can afford it. I have seen how much land has gone up in price since the 90's, much of it far more than I want to spend. A house at this time, isn't necessary. If I may ask, do you live there now, have a house on your land, or do you just visit the land when you are in CR? And does someone watch over your property? What town are you in? I plan on looking in many areas on this upcoming trip. I will take my time. I actually already found a parcel last year and will again look at it this year to see if it is big enough. And, yes, that is a great suggestion about the tree formation. The realtor told me the same thing that it's easy to tell how strong the winds are as well as the direction. Thank you for your reply.

 

 

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I found the ideal property in the canton of Puriscal. It is rural and not terribly touristy. The main town, Santiago, has all the infrastructure that I need. Several Grocery stores, several national bank branches, hardware stores and farmer's co-ops,restaurants, bars, schools and a university outreach campus. There are also doctors, dentists,lawyers, veterinarians, a small but modern hospital.

There are small farms or land available near many of the villages in the canton. As I said before the natural vegetation indicates a perfect climate for human habitation. No need for air conditioning, heat or (except for modesty) even clothes.

We now have a house on the property and the neighbour is the caretaker as we only live there as seasonal snow birds, because we no longer ski or skate and only watch ice hockey.

And, yes, do have a surveyer check out the measurements and a lawyer check the national registry for accuracy.

If you have the property for a few years before building, you can see the effects of the seasons on the property and the waterways that may traverse it.

A friend and neighbour-to-be has spent 3 years leveling interior roadways, driveway, planting hedges and watching how the land behaves before deciding the exact location for their house. A very wise plan in my opinion.

Good Luck,

AnneLise

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I found the ideal property in the canton of Puriscal.

 

Great advice, and it sounds like you've found a nice place in Puriscal. The no heat or AC aspect is nice,-we have that in Concepcion (near Tres Rios) and it means fresh air is always flowing through the house.

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