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What to believe about buying real estate in Costa Rica?

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Friends sold their two-manzana "coffee farm" with two modest houses last February for $285,000 cash. It's located outside Grecia in the Central Valley. The property was listed for almost a month.

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A friend just sold his home here (he's your friend, too, Jessica), and the house had been for sale for several years. The house is spectacular, shows well, and has a gorgeous view, but as marsrox -- love that moniker! -- said, not much is selling and hasn't been for quite some time.

 

If you want to buy, you have to look at it as something you'd be willing to just walk away from in an emergency, otherwise,you could find yourself in serious trouble. We bought a house, which I love (and love being here every single day), but we thought long and hard before deciding to buy.

 

regards,

Gayle

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New residents tend to think if they purchase a home on a coffee farm, they will make money.... :blink: When we advertised ours for sale, we received thousands of emails from interested parties, mostly with no money...and many of them asking really stupid questions. In the end it took 3 years to sell. The purchasers bought multiple parcels of adjacent land and then built a fancy home. Then, last year they had enough of CR and 'country living' and returned to the USA and left the home and property, empty for sale for $799,000. Due to location and that they let the coffee go untended and the other land 'go wild' apart from their lovely garden, there is now just a mess, so I expect it will be near impossible to sell, especially at the asking price. They asked us, if we wanted to return and live there and we could 'bring it back, but we passed.....

While we loved living on ours, it never made us any money, but cost us plenty to keep it running in the way it needed to be, to keep up the production.

 

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I think people always will have the dream of owning and operating a coffee farm, growing mangoes, living in a shack by the beach, etc, without one scintilla of reality. As a dream, it's fine and will help some people with their stressful daily lives or having to shovel snow day after day.

 

But the reality is FAR different from the dream. Just like the family farms in the US are going away, the small coffee farmers are also going away. I know several farmers who have pulled up all their coffee trees and now raise beef cows or a mixture of beef cows and cows for milk.

 

Of course, it's not a simple thing to grow and pick and sell coffee and the prices to the farmer are ridiculous and most make either nothing or just enough to keep going one more year. In remote rural areas, the small farmer is victim to the wholesale buyer who comes around and TELLS him what the price will be and it's not a price that is advantageous to the farmer. And don't even get me started on so-called "free trade coffee." To add to the situation, there are serious problems this year with a fungus that is expected to reduce coffee production.

 

Reading your post, CRF, I reminded myself that people with "money to burn" are not necessarily smart.

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Eleanor, on July 16th, you wrote,


"I think people always will have the dream of owning and operating a coffee farm, growing mangoes, living in a shack by the beach, etc, without one scintilla of reality. As a dream, it's fine and will help some people with their stressful daily lives or having to shovel snow day after day.

 

But the reality is FAR different from the dream. Just like the family farms in the US are going away, the small coffee farmers are also going away. I know several farmers who have pulled up all their coffee trees and now raise beef cows or a mixture of beef cows and cows for milk.

 

Of course, it's not a simple thing to grow and pick and sell coffee and the prices to the farmer are ridiculous and most make either nothing or just enough to keep going one more year. In remote rural areas, the small farmer is victim to the wholesale buyer who comes around and TELLS him what the price will be and it's not a price that is advantageous to the farmer. And don't even get me started on so-called "free trade coffee." To add to the situation, there are serious problems this year with a fungus that is expected to reduce coffee production."

 

 

And you were absolutely correct. We have about four acres of coffee which we bought with the land because we liked the location. The coffee had be neglected for a couple of years. The first picking, in December of 2005, netted us $5.25US (Yup, five U.S. dollars and twenty-five cents). We farm the coffee on shares with a neighbor who has become a close friend. Juan Carlos does all the thinking, all the decision making, and all the labor.

 

Since then, we've invested in the coffee because it's beautiful, because it holds the soil on our steep slopes, and because cultivating it provides our neighbors some needed income from maintenance and their share (50%) of the picking proceeds. Since we're not dependent on the coffee for meaningful income, we intentionally do not keep accounts. When it's time to fertilize, we pay half; when it's time to cut the weeds, we pay half. And when we sell the picked coffee we take half of what's left after Juan Carlos pays the pickers.

 

If we had to live on the proceeds, we'd have starved long ago.

 

(And, by the way, there isn't a gringo alive who could and would work as hard cultivating and harvesting coffee as our Costa Rican neighbors do.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by David C. Murray

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Hello Jerry,

 

There are apparently several of these sorts of communities in Costa Rica started by expats and others. One type is called an 'intentional community'.

 

You might find some information about them by doing a search through AM Costa Rica, an online daily newspaper, or by a search through The Tico Times.

 

These retirement communities have also been mentioned on some of the other Costa Rica discussion groups, so that is a place to check, as well.

 

And it wouldn't hurt to contact the ARCR's offices in San José to see if they have any information in particular to this.

 

I have also had conversations with a few people who've mentioned that they were involved with or in the process of helping to set up one of these intentional Communities. Unfortunately I never heard any further from them about what progress was being made, although there apparently is some. You might want to pose your question on a another group called CostRicaLiving where I remember this having been mentioned within the last several months.

 

Hope some of this helps...

 

Regards,

 

Paul M.

==

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Thanks for the information Paul, I will do just that, I had thought that there might be communities that one buys into for a certain sum of money [200,000 or 300,000] and they pay a mntly. fee for all the services like back in the states. I will check those web sites out and see what I can come up with.

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There was talk...but I don't think anything came fom these discussions. Living in CR, people tend to expect/want to pay  lower fees and so the idea gets squashed. One was planned to be built next to the new hospital CIMA near Liberia.

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Thanks for the information Paul, I will do just that, I had thought that there might be communities that one buys into for a certain sum of money [200,000 or 300,000] and they pay a mntly. fee for all the services like back in the states. I will check those web sites out and see what I can come up with.

 

 

If you have that kind of money to spend plus pay a monthly fee, buy a CD in a government bank (BN or BCR). You can get one for many different periods of time, but they can also pay you monthly. So for example, $300,000 invested in a colon CD would pay at least $1,500 per month. That will rent a very nice place plus. If you need some assistance with daily living, you will be able to pay for quite a bit of that too.

 

When the CD matures, you still have your money and not a lot of regrets like many stories you could find here.

 

T

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Why do you think that buying a CD at Coopenae has "virtually no additional risk?" What is it about Coopenae that assures you that your money will be as safe as with a national bank?

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