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SunnySoleil

What to believe about buying real estate in Costa Rica?

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Your point is well taken about mearely being in the planning stage; how could I recommend her? First, she comes highly recommended by friends who have had her handle several real estate transactions and all went well. Second, she has prepared some legal documents for me thus far in addition to the closing on my resent property purchase. This may be to her credit or not but she was partially educated in the U S, speaks excellent English and comes from a family with a legal background.

Now, this is coming from a person who has had his fill with attourneys and the legal system in the U. S.

Again, your point is well taken and I should have made a better explanation.

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Aftercoming down many times and looking around. Finally, I booked a trip, rented a car and drove from one end of the country to the other, north, east, south and west.

 

I had been in contact with realtors in all areas of the country, and narrowed my list.

 

I found a house on a piece of property that suited my needs. I will be moving to it permanently this month, so I cannot tell you at this point if I made a GREAT decision. What I can tell you is this...

 

The attorney that I worked with, Roger Petersen, is located in San Jose. My property is located close to Arenal. Roger kept me informed of all the transactions via emai. He is totally reliable and honest. Is highly knowledgable in Costa Rican and US Law. Speaking with him, its impossible to know that English is his second language. I would highly recommend him to anyone.

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Nice and congrats tatty21. I weighed in on this some time back and it is nice again to see someone who had a great experience! You seemed to have done some reaearch, made a good decision and are happy with the serivices. For some of us, including me, I am not sure I made a GREAT decision either. But selling was not in the cards, buying something special was.....and we succeeded in that venture. Enjoy paradise!

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Just wondering if anyone has advice about how best to move money to Costa Rica for a down payment and house purchase. I am Canadian and will have to take a bath on the current exchange rate to buy U.S. dollars if I go through my bank. I understand there are companies that transfer money on better terms (like World First). Anyone found a way that works best? Anyone had any horror stories and has tips on what to avoid?

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My advice would be, don't do it!!! Rent first. Check out if your chosen area is really right for you and really has what you require, and even if Costa Rica is right for you. As fellow Canadians, when we moved here over 13 years ago, we 'lost' nearly 50% of our funds. You haven't mentioned if you have visited Costa Rica before. Realize that if you are applying as a Pensionado, the Canadian government may 'with hold' up to 25% of your pension...

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Holabird. The realtor you are dealing with should be introducing you to an escrow company where you would be able to wire funds to. Make sure the escrow company is experienced and well established before transferring.

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Aftercoming down many times and looking around. Finally, I booked a trip, rented a car and drove from one end of the country to the other, north, east, south and west.

 

I had been in contact with realtors in all areas of the country, and narrowed my list.

 

I found a house on a piece of property that suited my needs. I will be moving to it permanently this month, so I cannot tell you at this point if I made a GREAT decision. What I can tell you is this...

 

The attorney that I worked with, Roger Petersen, is located in San Jose. My property is located close to Arenal. Roger kept me informed of all the transactions via emai. He is totally reliable and honest. Is highly knowledgable in Costa Rican and US Law. Speaking with him, its impossible to know that English is his second language. I would highly recommend him to anyone.

Agree 100%, Roger Petersen is excellent !

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go to amcostarica.com - download every article written by Garland Baker and read all of them - trust no one here, not even me - do not make any commitments or negotiate any business transaction until you have lived here a mínimum of three years - it is your choice deciding whether you want to lose a lifetime of every thing you have worked for - do not take my word for it - investigate and make your own decisión!!!!!!!!!!!

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Holabird & Jessielongworth (& anyone else mulling the prospect of buying property),

 

It is important to hold in mind that the real estate sales in Costa Rica are still currently completely unregulated.

 

Thus there are no realtors in CR, only 'real estate sellers'. And sadly anyone in CR, recently arrived expats included, can style themselves as real estate marketers, whether they have had any or NO previous experience selling property. And likewise, there is no countrywide Multiple Listing service in CR.

 

In CR if you are dead-set on buying a property you should make it an essential point to deal with the property owner directly, without any intermediary. That said, if your spanish is not yet up to snuff you might want to take along a trusted tico friend or acquaintance who can interact with the property owner on your behalf.

 

I won't go into the pitfalls of engaging any so-called 'realtor' to assist you with buying a property in CR. There are too many, the most likely of which is that you likely will wind up paying an unnecessarily inflated price for the property. This alone is a prime reason for dealing with the property owner directly.

 

So CRF's advice to rent first to establish whether CR and the area you are interested in are going to be right for you is paramount. Sorry to ring that old cowbell once again but it is important.

 

OK Holabird, I hope this is useful for you in some way or other.

 

Regards,

 

Paul M.

==

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Paul. I have already bought property, so your message should not be addressed to me, but the content is somewhat true. There needs to be caution when dealing with real estate. You cannot assume anything.

 

One should rent for at least a year to make sure they like the area and the country and the lifestyle. I do not agree with the sentiment that all realtors are evil. There are some in this country who really do their best to remain ethical and honest in the the real estate industry. There even is an accredited course with a realtor association that agents can and should take.

 

And Paul it's Jesse, not Jessie. That's the same as calling you Pauline. Just a small pet peeve of mine.

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We met with 9 "realtors" when we were looking. 7 were "horrible" and two were great. We also looked at many many properties through companies and did not get good feelings. We purchased property in 2010 and the one good realtor that we did not purchase from, we still visit him every trip. The other has since moved his family to the States and we still corrospond. He told us from our first contact to "talk directly to the seller". When we wanted to go back and re-visit the property we were looking at he said talk directly to the seller, (you don't need me any longer), the owner is honest and he will give me "the cut" if you buy. Zero pressure but very unusual from what we saw.

And Jesse I empathize ....... I am Terry ....... not Terri :rolleyes:

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And Paul it's Jesse, not Jessie. That's the same as calling you Pauline. Just a small pet peeve of mine.

 

My apologies, Jesse. I keep seeing the 'l' in your member display name as an 'i' and pow! And this is the 2nd time I have done that. [sigh]

 

I'll try not to do it again, but if I do, feel free to let me have it with the old wet noodle of Ann Landers fame, OK?

 

Paul M.

==

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We, too, had bad dealings with ''agents'. One that offered property we liked, had a company that was supposedly FSBO. This was before many Ticos had access to the internet, and when we showed interest, he refused to provide the contact info. He had 'filled in the blanks' with his own information.

We did buy the property but there was 'untruthful statements' from beginning to end .

 

He spoke English and was a Canadian... so of course he was to be trusted :ph34r:

Edited by costaricafinca

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I've lived in Costa Rica for 16 years and am a 60- yr old, single man who has lived in and worked in many other countries. I speak Spanish. I know the Roger Peterson's of the world and a couple of good real estate agents.

 

Over twenty years, I owned two multi-acre estate homes in Ft Myers, before buying and owning for nine years a 6,000m walled estate of 800m with a pool/beautiful gardens, indoor basketball court. I had coffee for neighbors on the slopes of Volcan Poas. It was a distressed property when I purchased it.

 

When it was time to sell in 2007, several well-known agents listed it at $1.2million. I thought the prices was ridiculously high. After no lookers and three years, I dropped the price to a 'shocking' low $800K. After a couple of years and no lookers, I dropped it to $600K ("are you crazy?") . When family circumstances demanded a sale- and the home was unrentable with it's $150/mo electric bill, pool and daily yard maintenance requiring paying help from afar (don't go there, it doesn't work no matter how 'honest', 'professional' your help starts out)- I sold it for $400K and had a line of buyers .... Ticos. Only one could come up with the money, even though it appraised out at only a little more than my 'ridiculous" price ("Es un regalo" I was told). No Tico buyers could get financed. My buyer has a major frijoles business, importing them from China, and drives a 2011 Land Rover while paying $5,000 for his marchamo.

 

There are no Gringo buyers since 2011 for anything above $150K. Not many people here are forking out $150K cash, either. Or even $100K cash. There are no mortgages for foreigners. Tico professionals these days prefer the security, amenities and no maintenance of condo projects. Free standing homes are unattractive to them. I understand as of this month, there are no buyers at the beach or CValley, ni Ticos y ni extraneros. Nada.

 

If you think about it, the CR govt has done a fine job of eliminating foreign immigration. The lowly 'perpetual tourist' doesn't even qualify for a driver's license or to open a bank account. Everyone is paying $50 - 300/mo for the caja, something most would be loathe to use for anything more major than cough medicine. The rentista 'guarantee bank deposit' of $60,000 is about $59,999 more than most middle class Americans have in a savings account. Only the rich 1% can afford to buy here without risking their nest egg.

 

But it's true, I am looking now to buy something, I have the 'itch', but it's unreal how most websites show prices unchanged (and the same properties unsold) for years and years. Generally, Ticos are not dealing off of their price, either, even if a bank apparaises it at 25% of their ask price. Websites leave on their 'sold' properties, even if they were in the 1990's just to give an air of urgency and success. Now I look for distressed Gringos who will deal. But having even located a few beautiful free-standing homes, all over the central valley. Building lots at $15-20 sq m in areas where some ask $100. But even so, I am still keeping my $ in colone CDs and the US stock market which I trade holding shares of high divi and interest payers. The Canadian market has so many paying 5-12% less 15% witholding recovered when I file my taxes.

 

I am renting for the last 1 1/2 years for the first time since I was in college. I am getting far more 'bang for my buck' living in Santa Ana paying $750/mo for a 1750 sq ft 2/2 with new appliances and character like a sunken tub next to a glassed in atrium which rent includes highspeed internet, cable, phone line and pool in a small compound. I have gardens and I plant. Plants are cheap.

 

After 'owning' three homes and planting those full of fruit trees and flowers I've come to realize I never really 'owned' anything. Don't pay the ever-increasing property taxes, let your insurance lapse and get hit by a hurricane.... Instead what I've actually done is improve the planet a little by planting gardens, palms and landscaping. Good enough.

 

Now, if you run a 5 yr calculation on the 'cost of ownership' of most homes here (or in the US), you will find that for the total funds needed to purchase, decorate, maintain, pay the insurance and taxes, maybe HOA dues for a house, this sum of money can be invested at 3-10% and take the interest and just rent somewhere. After the term of 5 or 10 years, either lose a little or lose nothing at all while keeping control of your cash.

 

Then there is the 10% all-in cost to sell here to consider. Then there's the risk of the woman you're dating trying to move in, then calling the police on an alleged domestic dispute which puts you in the street and her in the sala. Then there's the risk of dying and causing some unwilling family member to come here on a tourist visa and deal with the property. Then there's the chicken farm that moves in next door, or the neighbors who steal something everytime you go to town or blast the stereo every Saturday until 4am. Then there's the likelihood that the property will not appreciate in the next five or ten years.

 

If you are clever enough to find a place that makes your heart sing while assuming these risks in a fading world economy, please do. I hope someday it pays off, some people are good at this. But for the average person moving here or Ecuador or Thailand, the freedom of movement found in renting while maintaining liquidity makes owning a home now the equivalent of buying a yacht. Did I mention I was a Florida yacht broker? I never owned one. - Marsrox

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