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SunnySoleil

What to believe about buying real estate in Costa Rica?

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Wow...how interesting. Not a single person recommended buying real estate in Costa Rica. Anyone out there recommend buying real estate here, other than disreputable realtors? ;)

Edited by SunnySoleil

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We bought our beach house & I definitely don't regret it. I have no intention of selling at this point, but our needs have changed over the years so I'm renting a house in an area that works better for us right now & keeping the beach house for weekend getaways/vacation (it is only an hour & a half drive between the two homes). We built before the prices got crazy so I would make a profit if we decide to sell based on home sales in my neighborhood. In the meantime, I could offer it as a vacation rental to offset the ongoing operating expenses (but probably won't because it is *home* for us). We do let my in-laws & other family members/friends use it when they come to visit & it is nice to be able to offer that to them. I just think we'd rethink having so much money invested in a home if we did sell based on being able to rent a comparable home for a decent price & maybe look at putting the money into more profitable investments.

 

Jessica

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There are thousands of properties on the market, and many offer good deals. I think what we are saying is advising you to do, is to take your time and not rush into a decision that you may find it hard to get out of.

With us 'older, retired folk' our needs differ from someone with a young family. So what if the school is only operating on half days which is quite usual here, or the drugs are being pushed by school children in the local high school, it doesn't directly affect us. But for you, these actions will affect your children, so making sure the conditions are what you want and they need, is of the prime importance.

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Good point, Tom. For us, we're renting a house in Escazú that is also for sale. Asking price is $229,000, rental price is $900 a month. I could rent it for over 20 years & still not pay the asking price for it. :)

Another way to do the math is that you could put $229,000 into a CD in colones and the interest would pay your rent and several other bills and you still have your money.

 

T

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That's exactly our thinking if we were to sell the beach house - I have a neighbor doing the CDs in colones & the interest is nothing to scoff at.

 

Sunny - I think the decision to buy is an emotional, personal preference. It never, ever dawned on me to rent when we started this process by buying our lot 9 years ago. Now, I try to remove the emotion & look at the financial advantages & I see where renting is more advantageous in our situation. I could buy a home in Escazú in addition to my home at the beach but I'm not about to tie up that kind of cash. The market in your area may dictate how that works out for you. Overall, I think that there are pockets of a tight rental/sale market in certain price ranges, with mostly an abundance of homes for rent/sale otherwise.

 

Jessica

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"Buy vs Rent?" should probably be "Buy, Build, or Rent?". We live in the best house we've ever had (or rented) anywhere. Period. Single level, tile throughout, custom everything, Internet wired everywhere, handicap accessible, beautiful view, ... and yes, we built it 3 yr ago.

 

Renting here in C.R. we were always faced with traditional problems. Plumbing without traps in drains. Minimal (and ungrounded) electrical circuits. No sound-deadening roof insulation. No drier vent in laundry room (or no laundry room). Small room sizes. Cramped kitchens. Minimal set-back and zero lot line construction. Well-established colonies of spiders, ants, and other critters with easy access thanks to large gaps in the construction and no screens. Even houses built in the last few years exhibit similar problems if the builder wasn't conscientious and truly attuned to "gringo-style" construction regardless how attentive the owner.

 

So "Buy vs Rent" has to be tempered with whether you can find a house to buy in an area you desire and without those or other ongoing problems. The pickings are pretty slim. Otherwise just rent and suffer the shortcomings.

 

Once you've built a house that is as near perfect for you as you can get it though, you'd need a good reason to sell. If so, it may take awhile but you're still more likely to sell than all those other houses sporting "Se Vende" signs...

 

Still, buy or build is a big commitment. Which is why renting is a good idea until you're familiar enough with the area (and C.R.) to know it is for you.

Colin

Edited by CMinCR

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Well I'll be honest, it's not 100% joy and bliss when it comes to buying real estate, here in Costa Rica or anywhere else to be honest.

But all in all you just need some really good places to start looking, stick with trusted big places, don't go looking for small unknown sellers.

 

My advice would be to use this as a starting point: http://www.costaricarealestate.com/ because it has a lot of information and maybe you'd wanna buy from them too, it's a trusted site that's been there for a long while, with people that actually know what they are talking about. Also it's not run from Ticos, so you won't get a "gringo price" at all. (not disrespecting, I'm a Tico but I knoww things like that happen).

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We bought a farm with a one year old house - didnt spend 6-12months looking around - came, bought, moved in . . . and havent regretted it - but we knew what we wanted and never figured CR to be paradise - each place has its own pro's and con's. But one definite advantage of renting for a year would be the locals would get to know you, and start giving you the 'goods' on what is a good price or not, what is for sale and not listed anywhere, who is a shoddy builder and who can be trusted, etc etc etc

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Good Morning,

Costarica Finca was talking about a personal phone line that could be difficult to get from the ICE.

Here is what happen with me.

/ years ago I got a property in San Ramon de Alajuela, on the main Road with all the phone lines passing in front of it.

The ICE did not want to give a line saying that none where available for personal, I spend many time inside the gerant office disputing the problem, probably for 6 months, about twice a week.It was not possible until one day somebody there in the discussion said the magic word. If only you where a business it say.

As I have the property in a SA, I said but I do I have an SA. with a business name.

They said OK no problem then we are going to give you 10 lines, you need to install a commercial box for 10 lines do the tubing to our specification with a independent ground I did it my self cost me $150.00, called them for inspection, they accepted, and ask me how many lines I wanted, I said lets start with one and see how that goes, and they did.

For a few years they where calling me every 6 month saying you still have 9 lines open, and my response was business is bad will see later. Then they stop calling. I am still on one line and only pay for one.

And never given a cents for mordita.

Mipa

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Yea...hindsight! We also had to agree to add multiple lines, but it still cost us, way too much!

The main cost was the distance from the outskirts of town, approx 2Klm,

Edited by costaricafinca

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The developers of our beach neighborhood didn't do the phone lines the way our local ICE office wanted them & the developers refused to reconfigure, so we are actually never going to be allowed to have a land line unless the neighbors decide to pool money to reconfigure the phone lines (not gonna happen!). You don't know how happy I was when 3G allowed us to have a workable phone in the house - otherwise we had to rely on Skype to make outgoing calls but no one could call us back!

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I found this article to be interesting and helpful: http://amcostaricaarchives.com/2013/02/lawyer-gives-some-solid-tips-on-protecting-real-estate-here/

 

Also, an article on the increasing cost of living in CR: http://insidecostarica.com/2013/03/05/cost-of-living-in-costa-rica-increases-at-fastest-rate-in-eight-years/

Edited by SunnySoleil

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I love this forum and agree with most posts here. This one seems negative in nature to me. We took nearly 5 years before setteling in on the southern zone. We had video survey, title insurance, fantactic attorney now friend and a professaional real estate person that we will see often. They are all still here, the property has gone up in value, the neighbors are all still here and the experince has been wonderul.

 

I also see many se vende signs around and I guess it depends on the old saying......location, location, location. While I do not disagree with anyone on this post SunnySoleil, I am giving a different experience! If the southern zone ever makes it to your list, I am happy to introduce these people and services privately. Enjoy the journey.....we sure have!

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