Properties in Costa Rica Blog

Monthly Archives: March 2019

Choosing your Real Estate Agency in Costa Rica

Choosing your Real Estate Agency in Costa Rica

March 27, 2019

Properties in Costa Rica

Choosing a realtor or a real estate agency to sell or buy properties is difficult anywhere. Here’s a guide with some tips on how to choose your real estate agency in Costa Rica.

Finding a Realtor to Buy Real Estate:

  • Practice makes perfect. An experienced realtor will always be able to answer your questions and guide you in the right direction regarding location, budget, type of property, and more.
  • Knowledge of the Area. If you are looking to relocate, but still don’t know in which area, the agent will give you concise information about different locations that match your needs.
  • Lifestyle and Recommendations. A local real estate agent will be familiar with the lifestyle of its specific location, therefore being able to recommend and pinpoint the best places for you.
  • Realtors will have the best knowledge of schools, transportation, locations and more.

What you’ll need to do:

  • Explain in details what you are looking for and the lifestyle you want to accomplish. Realtors will be pleased to find the best option when they have enough details to match it with the property.
  • Make a budget from the beginning. Tell the agent how open you are about your financial status, and whether or not you need financing, i.e. if you would like to use an escrow or if you are flexible with your budget.
  • Select your area according to recommendations.
  • Prioritize your needs and preferences.

When looking for a realtor to sell your house:

  • Find someone with professionalism and commitment, giving you constant feedback on your property and the efforts done to market it.
  • Ask for their experience in the market. How many houses have they sold? What types of properties do they specialize in? Talk about different locations, experiences, and situations that they’ve had when selling houses. Get to know how they work and the effort they put to each of their listings.
  • Engage with an agency/realtor that has an effective working platform with enough exposure to reach the international market.
  • Deal with an experienced realtor who has good communication skills, contacts, and connections with other agencies. Additionally, brokers tend to work alongside lawyers, so if you have any legal questions, they can clear it out. Financing is another area where realtors must have knowledge of, so ask all the questions you need.
  • Check if an agent or agency offers most of these services (a good real estate agency, most likely will):
    • High-level photography
    • Videos – the modern way to market properties!
    • An extensive database for Mass Mailings
    • Active social media marketing
    • Several webpages to share your property and tailor a larger market.

Although these tips might be helpful, above all, home buyers rely on Internet searches as their primary Real Estate Tool, thus Online Reputation, Ranking, content is a must when looking for a Company to sell your property.

Buying a home in Costa Rica – Average costs

Buying a home in Costa Rica – Average costs

March 23, 2019

Properties in Costa Rica

Buying a home is a major decision that requires careful consideration. When investing in a property you are looking for security, settling down, retiring or seeking an extra income source.

Costa Rica is one of the most stable countries in Central America and this makes it attractive for investors looking to buy a home nevertheless, there are several considerations to keep in mind.

Location location location… This is a key aspect when choosing your home and defining a budget. A property located in a rural area won’t be as expensive as one located in Escazu or Santa Ana. Closeness to commercial centers, entertainment, access to the high way, schools, hospitals, and others are also benefits for more desirable properties. A two-bedroom home in Grecia, Alajuela in a gated community including a clubhouse, vast gardens, bbq area, tennis courts, gym, and others can start at US$120,000 with monthly HOA fees of US$55 to US$200 depending on what the maintenance includes whereas a condo with the same characteristics in Escazu can be at least US$100,000 more due to its centralized location, closeness to supermarkets, schools, shopping malls and more.

Gated communities and condominiums are really popular among expats and locals For example, in the Guanacaste Region, especially the greater Tamarindo area ( Pinilla, Conchal, Tamarindo, Langosta, Las Catalinas, etc.) and Jaco you will find beautiful beachfront condos with ocean-views, modern amenities like pools, gymnasium, playgrounds and more. Condo prices run from $130,000 up, and HOA fees vary considerably, they can be from $100 up to $600 per month. Keep in mind that a big part of Costa Rican economy depends on the tourism industry consisting of a 6.3% of the GDP so these types of homes or condos can also be an exciting investment if you are looking for an extra income.

The political stability in this democratic country with no army, an amazing health care system and excellent education with 97% literacy is proof that is one of the best places to live and invest in Central America.

Explore Costa Rica with a Real Estate Eye

Explore Costa Rica with a Real Estate Eye

March 20, 2019

Properties in Costa Rica

If you have ever been to Costa Rica the first thing you notice yourself doing is asking yourself if you could live here? As time moves on you find yourself feeling more and more comfortable with the questions and before you know it you have your Real Estate goggles on and everything seems like the perfect match for you and your next investment.

As you put the breaks on take it from someone that has been looking at land for 20 years in Costa Rica and has a few things that need to be taken into consideration. The first is everyone wants raw land. My first look with a real estate eye in Costa Rica is to not take a turn-key deal for granted. There is a lot to look at and although starting from scratch sounds fun in many cases someone has already done it for you and maybe even better.

A second piece of advise is to look everywhere. You will quickly notice that most of Costa Rica has pretty cool places and owning real estate in probably 70% of Costa Rica would be a desire by most. Take a good look at everything because you never know where your new adventure might take you.

Finally, when entering the real estate market in Costa Rica take it slow. You are already 20 years late on the discovery of this place so there really is no rush. Let the initial excitement of owning in a foreign country take its toll then make a proper decision based on numbers and if you think your investment can generate 5%-10% a year after upkeep.

Good luck. I have no regrets of buying in Costa Rica, although I wish I knew what I did now when I first started.

Tom Ranieri

Costa Rica Green Plan was presented at Stanford University

Costa Rica Green Plan was presented at Stanford University

March 18, 2019

Properties in Costa Rica

Stanford University has plenty of impact and influence in the way our country constantly works to preserve the ecosystem. President Alvarado chose to present to their community the new decarbonization plan. The goal is to become a green economy with the promotion of clean energies to combat climate change.

Known as one of the most prestigious colleges in the USA there are two main investigations being held in this college, Stanford Natural Capital Project and Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment were they choose Costa Rica as their study field due to the abundant natural resources and number of diverse ecosystems.

The Natural Capital Project works on researching links between biodiversity and earth observations with health and well-being. The Woods Institute works directly with banks and financial systems to optimize resources intended for the protection of the ecosystem.

Their reaction towards the plan has been very positive technical as well as inspiring. There are certainly several major changes to implement in the governments’ structure and management. Reforms include public and private means of transport, forms of energy, construction, industry and waste management. President Alvarado also states that it’s our responsibility to start working on the planet, the damage is evident and we have had extreme climate changes and natural disasters that need our attention. Alvarado was eager to present the new plan to the students who are constantly investigating and helping improve the country. His main statement during the conference was to spread de word about this plan, we must be an example for others to follow and start implementing major changes hoping to reduce deforestation worldwide. President Carlos Alvarado looks forward to other countries joining him in this new journey and this presentation is one big step.

The goal is set for 2050, 31 years from now and they tend to work with 8 strategies to achieve this inclusive economic growth and sustainable development. As for now, this initiative counts with support from the Inter-American Development Bank (BID), Al Gore, former vice president of the United States and Michelle Bachelet former president of Chile.

Costa Rica is known to be a country that carries 4% of the world’s biodiversity, this is for the sustained conservation practices through the years and hope that more countries follow the same path.

We are still missing research in Costa Rica on some but real important facts like the social, economic, health and environmental impact of livestock as an integrated way to accomplish solutions to reduce the effects of this industry in our lives and others.

We need to keep seeking and aiming for a better world and set an example for more countries to follow the same path. Each of us has an impact on the environment and the world so not only what we do, what our government does but what we eat will have a footprint and we need to seek better outcomes and best practices in order to contribute to next generations.

Jaco Beach

Jaco Beach

March 15, 2019

Properties in Costa Rica

Jaco Beach is located for its famous for its nightlife, party atmosphere and the beautiful beaches with some great surfing spots. Just one and a half hours away from San Jose, you will find this energetic city. Located in the county of Garabito in the Puntarenas province, the city has a population of approximately 10,000 residents. Jaco beach is 2.5 miles (4 km) long and offers some of the best surfing in Costa Rica.

Jaco is a beach recognized for beginners surfers, the waves are strong and consistent enough for intermediate surfers as well, but not so powerful for those who are just starting out.

On the main road, you will find Jaco Walk, a brand new shopping center with different gastronomic options such as sushi, burgers, Argentine barbecue or gelato that will make you feel like in downtown Miami. The main strip presents tons of souvenir shops and grocery stores. You will also find locals selling their handmade clothes on the beach and streets with beautiful typical designs inspired in nature.

If you prefer outdoor activities, there are several companies that will help you, balancing on a rope in the best Tarzan style in a zip-line through the forest, bungee jumping, paragliding on the shore, or renting an ATV to drive through rivers and trails full of mud are several of the options offered. Looking for a peaceful activity? Rent a boat a kayak or catamaran and navigate to nearby beaches. You will hopefully see some whales and dolphins!

Jaco Beach real estate is one of the most active real estate and rental markets in the country right now. Ever since highway 27 was completed in 2010, with increased accessibility to both San Jose and the International Airport, Jaco has received an influx of both local and international tourists and retirees. Jaco offers investors great value and there is a large range of property types to accommodate all budgets from $100,000 up. The rental market is thriving so owners who choose to rent their properties out are obtaining some of the best rental yields in the country. Because of this phenomenal growth, there is a wealth of opportunities for investors in both residential and commercial property.

Friendly people, the blue sea, amazing real estate market, and a large number of entertainment options offered makes it one of the best beach towns in the Pacific! 😃

What is the Cost of Living in Costa Rica?

What is the Cost of Living in Costa Rica?

March 14, 2019

Properties in Costa Rica

Cost-of-living is a useful measurement that allows you to compare expenses between locations and over time.

Expats looking to relocate in Costa Rica need to consider many factors that affect the amount of money they will spend, and it will mainly depend on the location and lifestyle they choose.

The average cost of living in the Central Valley can vary between $800 – $1,200 if you are living by yourself. Depending on the area you choose you will be spending more money on your day to day basis. For example, living in Escazu, Santa Ana or Guanacaste, which are modern urbanizations with tons of foreign won’t be the same as living in Cartago, which despite being an urbanized area it’s still more rural and thus cheaper.

Lifestyle will define the amount of money you spend. If you are looking for top-notch facilities, an American school for your kids with international certificates like IB, or if you are looking to spend your money on a brand new car you will certainly be spending more money no matter which location you are on.

In Costa Rica, tourism is one of the main incomes, including eco-tourism. The Presidency of the Nation, the Bank of Costa Rica (BCR) and the Institute of Costa Rican Tourism (ICT) announced in November 2018 that contribution of the tourism industry corresponds to 6.3% of GDP. There are tons of areas made for tourism mainly in which the cost of living will certainly be higher.

The HealthCare in Costa Rica has a government-sponsored system called La Caja, which works perfectly for Ticos and legal residents that aport a small fee depending on their income. There is also private health care, certainly more expensive than the public system, but much more accessible than in the US and some European countries. Costa Rica medical system is so good that medical tourism is part of a major movement in the country. Costa Rica is ranked high on worldwide rankings for health services in Latin America.

Large supermarket chains tend to have higher prices than expected. Most Americans, Canadians, and European trying to live in a low budget rather visit the farmers market held in most towns than going to the supermarket. In these street markets, you will be able to find fresh fruits and vegetables to almost half the price than in a grocery store. Seeds, fresh fish, eggs, milk, artisanal cheese, and goods.

Cost of renting mostly depends on your budget, a two or three bedroom apartment starts at 1000 to 3000 thousand monthly. Buying is always a safer option since you guaranteed only the payment of the utilities and those are not expensive at all.

Finding the best and most affordable place to live, really depends on what you’re looking for, and if what you are looking are a good quality of life and excellent climate, Costa Rica will do for you!

Health Care in Costa Rica

Health Care in Costa Rica

March 12, 2019

Properties in Costa Rica

The health care system in Costa Rica is affordable and high quality when comparing it to the one in the USA and some European countries. According to Business Insider Costa Rica is ranked as #13 in a worldwide health system ranking, “Costa Rica has the best health services in Latin America, and its healthy life expectancy is 71.2 years”. There are two modalities of health care in Costa Rica: private and public.

The public health system of our country is called Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) popularly known as the Caja. The government-sponsored Caja has the goal of providing low-cost healthcare to the Costa Ricans and legal citizens. Expats living in the country as retirees can be eligible to join this system for a small monthly fee based on their income. With this insurance, you will be able to get free treatments, check-ups, and major surgeries with top qualified doctors. The Caja offers excellent quality since it’s constantly upgrading technologies and their personnel, thus still for a lower cost than in the USA. This system was introduced in 1941, and it has been through several reforms that make it more efficient. La Caja counts with more than 30 hospitals and 1000 Ebais which are clinics made up of at least one doctor, a nurse, and a first aid assistant.

Private healthcare in Costa Rica is also known as one of the cheapest and top quality in Latin America. Nevertheless, this system will surely be more expensive than Caja. There are three famous hospitals that have been expanding throughout the country with high quality, first class, and modern services/equipment: CIMA Hospital, Clinica Biblica and Hospital La Catolica. The CIMA Hospital has its main venue in Escazu, close to an area populated with foreign and they recently opened its second venue in Liberia Guanacaste, located in the north Pacific, Liberia is a rapidly growing region close to some of the most famous beach towns where many expats choose to relocate.

The Clinica Biblica also inaugurated their new headquarters located in Santa Ana, closer to Escazu offering more services for expat communities in the west area of San Jose. The private sector has also opened a door to medical tourism, with its top-notch quality service and lower costs than in other countries, Costa Rica has become a paradise for those needing medical assistance. Doctors in the private sector charge between $60 – $70 for a visit.

Many foreigns chose to mix both types of healthcare systems. If the Caja is saturated, or you are looking for a second opinion, you can opt for a private visit and then share the documents with the Caja doctor. Thus, many of the doctors and dentists that operate with government system also have their own offices to operate in the private sector as well.

Electric Transportation, the New Transportation

Electric Transportation, the New Transportation

March 5, 2019

Properties in Costa Rica

The new green economic plan announced in February 2019 by our Costa Rican President, has led to major changes in the public and private transportation sector. The plan intends to motivate people to use public transportation by making it more efficient, and promote the use of electric cars that generate 0 emissions.

On Thursday the changes in the transportation sector began with the presentation of new turquoise license plates for electric cars. Not only will they have a striking plaque, but they will have several benefits such as free permission to enter the city of San Jose during restriction days. It is important to mention the vehicular restriction of the Great Metropolitan Area (GAM). During weekdays, affects two numbers each day (plates ending numbers 0-9)

However, electric cars have always been able to travel freely even with restrictions. By having a distinguishable plaque, the police will be able to identify which electric cars are allowed to transit freely through the streets during the hours of restriction and won’t stop them.

Depending on the regulations of the different municipalities, electric cars will not have to pay parking hours on public roads using the parking meter. They will also have preferential parking spaces in both the public and private sectors. As a key to the new decarbonization plan presented by the President of the Republic, they promise to install charging stations throughout the country. There is actually an estimate of 56 semi-fast recharge stations to supply energy. For example, Multiplaza of Escazú already has its special parking space painted in blue for electric cars and a charging station.

According to the law of incentives and promotion for electric transport, persons or companies that import electric cars will have an exoneration from the customs tax, selective consumption tax, and general sales tax. Depending on the import value of each car, 50%, 75% or even 100% of each tax can be exempted. In addition, as another stimulus for owning one of these electric vehicles, they will not pay property tax for 5 years from the day of its nationalization.

As stated in The Plan, it is believed that the implementation of clean energy should also be reached through education. The goal is to include information about zero emissions technology to professional education programs as well as instructing the people responsible for vehicular transportation fleets both in the public and private sector. In addition, to be able to travel freely without restrictions, have benefits in tax payments, and savings in gasoline, people can also avoid sonic contamination when driving cars that emit almost no noise

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