Costa Rica Real Estate Blog

Ticos have flaws, had you noticed?

by ivo Henfling

Ticos have flaws, had you noticed?Costaricans, we call e'm Ticos, have a much different mindset than people from first world countries. I don’t mean that negatively, quite the contrary. After having lived in this beautiful country myself for 35 years, I can only agree with many things they do and the way they take decisions.

Costa Rica is one of the few countries in Latin American that hasn’t gone through a serious civil war. Costa Rica’s civil war lasted only 44 days and I’m under the impression they agreed on their differences in some cantina on the Cerro de la Muerte.

When you live in Costa Rica, it will take you a while to get used to the way things are done by some Ticos. Some still amaze me when I’m confronted with it, most I don’t. This mindset has, I’m sure, a lot to do with the fact that they have not gone through long civil wars, having to live with food shortages and having to try to survive through a lot of suffering.  Thankfully Costa Rica doesn’t have an army either, so many Ticos suffer (or probably not) from a lack of discipline.

Many of the daily decisions taken by Ticos will either be by shortcut or the easy way. If the decision is the wrong one, one day it will be corrected. And if not corrected, we’ll just live with it. 

Water, water everywhere in Costa Rica and not a drop to drink

by guest blogger Pablo R.

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink​When you live in the United States, like we do, you tend to take water for granted. In the 30 years we’ve been living in Washington DC we’ve had a water interruption only once. And the limits of our concern generally are the hope that the pipes won’t freeze at night when the temperature in Washington is well below zero.  It hasn’t ever happened … but sometimes we have to think about it.  And that’s it – otherwise the availability of water is just a background assumption to which we never give a thought.

Not so in Costa Rica. We’ve come to realize that water is vital to our lives and also somewhat problematic in Atenas! Our first problem, which we wrote about in an earlier blog, was a legal one. Our housing subdivision did not have an ASADA, which is a legal authorization to pump water from the community well. Happily that problem seems to have gone away, and our permits have been issued despite the problem. We are happy now to just go with the flow.

But that’s not the only water problem we’ve seen. We were aware, when we bought the house, of the long-standing dispute between Atenas and Grecia – which is where the city’s water comes from.  That, too, seems to have been solved. 

Why do most homes in Costa Rica do not have an open floor plan?

by Ivo Henfling

Why do most homes in Costa Rica do not have an open floor plan?Have you ever wondered why most homes in Costa Rica do not have an open floor plan but have the kitchen enclosed, unless they're built for expats?  I think it’s a matter of culture and Costa Rica is now going through the changes our grandparents went through 30 - 40 years ago. 

Families in Europe and in the US were much larger 40 years ago than they are now and the new generations in Costa Rica have fewer children now too. 

To have a live-in maid or housekeeper in Costa Rica has been quite affordable for many years. The girls and women coming from the rural areas to the city were cheap to hire as a maid for 6 days a week and give them the Sunday off. The high quality educational system in Costa Rica made it possible for those rural women to go to school and they became doctors, nurses and lawyers and were replaced by the refugees from El Salvador and Cuba in the 80’s and later by the Nicaraguans. 

In some families in Costa Rica, the housekeeper is part of the family, but in most the housekeeper is called a maid and has her own space in the house: the kitchen and her room. 

5 reasons to be disappointed about living in Costa Rica

by Ivo Henfling

5 reasons to be disappointed about living in Costa RicaAll that glitters is not gold and some who have moved here found out that is also true for Costa Rica, at least for a few. I personally think it’s terrible to have to live in a place that you hate, no matter where it is, but it happens. 

It’s even worse if you live in a place where you are surrounded by beauty and nice people and you just hate it because there is something not to your liking. Some do not understand that NO PLACE ON EARTH IS PERFECT.

How can anyone get to hate living in Costa Rica? It’s pretty simple; they are disappointed about living in Costa Rica because they didn’t find what they had expected. Being disappointed and not being able to accept that they are stuck in a place they don’t like or even hate, this might turn them into an angry person.

Can you imagine living with an angry person? When I meet people like that, I wish they would just catch a plane to the next place, but it’s not always possible.

There are a few reasons to be disappointed about living in Costa Rica. Let me help you understand those reasons before you make the same mistake so you can take the right decision before you purchase a house in Costa Rica. 

4 Top Design Elements of Portable Buildings

by Daniel Clark

The increasing demand for secure and, budget-friendly housing units has led many people turn towards modular buildings. It is totally a new concept in the construction industry. These structures are manufactured in a closed unit and delivered to customers in the form of a modular building. The best part of these buildings is that they can be carried from one to place another place easily and are especially beneficial for the storage needs. They are available for both commercial and domestic applications. 

These buildings are environment-friendly and do not pose any negative impact on the location. The only thing you require is enough space at the destination and these buildings provide several benefits to people who want shelter on immediate basis. The amenities required for these structures come pre-assembled so there is no need for digging or excavation work. These portable buildings are relocated with the use of a forklift jack and a pallet. They prove cost-effective and offer significant advantages, when compared to traditional construction practices. 

What can happen at the traffic light in Costa Rica?

by Ivo Henfling

What can happen at the traffic light in Costa Rica?Driving in Costa Rica is different. Stopping at a traffic light in Costa Rica can bring a lot of surprises. A traffic light in Costa Rica creates a surprising business center. A traffic light is a great place to try to sell you something or beg for money because there is nowhere to go but wait for the light to go green. 

And once it does turn green, there might be someone blocking the intersection. It takes me up to 15 minutes to get past the traffic light down on my street.  I’m convinced the Costarican government doesn’t allow much time for the green light on purpose so you can be visited by all those people trying to make a living or raise funds for some charity. 

Most traffic light workers are nice when rejected and you might even get a blessing or two. Here and there, you might hit on a nasty one, though that hardly ever happens. 

Costa Rica Moving Tips and Guidelines

by guest blogger Charlotte Madisson

Costa Rica Moving Tips and GuidelinesThere are many reasons for expats to move to Costa Rica, from its unique and beautiful natural appeal, to the rich and diverse cultural heritage and business opportunities. One thing remains constant however and that is that you will need to be properly prepared if you want to make your transition easier:

•    Six months prior to your move

There are quite a few things you would do well to deal with, such as getting more information on Costa Rica in general, such as the basics in terms of culture and more. Look for expatriate blogs that cover the country and the expectations you may have for it. Since you will be shipping all your belongings to the country, you will need to contact several moving companies if you want to have a chance to handle things on time and with ease. If you need to move your vehicle, you will also need to contact companies for quotes as well so you will know what import duties you need to cover.


Neighbors to avoid when you buy a Costa Rica property

by Ivo Henfling

Neighbors to avoid before you buy a Costa Rica property

There are always reasons you should NOT purchase a Costa Rica property. Cultural differences can be obstructive, especially if you are not aware of them and your neighbors could be one of them.

Some of those issues, your real estate agent might or might not be aware of. Your agent doesn’t live there and won’t know a lot about the property itself and the neighborhood. 

Since there are no disclosure laws in Costa Rica, there is not much you can do once you have bought the property, so it is up to you to do your homework and we'll help you do it through these blogs.

You don't want to end up like this FSBO on the left. Depending a lot on how you live your own life, and after moving to Costa Rica, you might or not adapt to your new surroundings. But there is one issue that you might never get used to: the neighbors. Find out here which ones to avoid.

A house of cards in Costa Rica real estate?

by Ivo Henfling

A house of cards in Costa Rica real estate?On December 30, I received a call from someone referred to me by a fellow countryman of his. This buyer is interested in a FireSale property in Escazu I have listed and wants to see it on December 31st, New Year’s Eve. 

I was really on vacation as I always close the office on December 18th but I was at home anyway, so I said “what the heck, it’s not a bad idea to make a sale on New Year’s Eve”.  The buyer said he lives in Escazu himself, so it would be an in and out showing anyway.  Yeah right.

Open to offers

The seller listed it originally at $375,000 and had just come down to $349,000, quite a bit under regular market price. The reason he came down so much was because he foreclosed on the former owner and wants to dump it quickly. The seller knows this is an older home that needs some work, mainly in the kitchen and the bathrooms, so he is open to an offer and is even open to some owner financing. 

We are talking here about a 4,600 sq feet home on a ¼ acre of land in Escazu with views of San Jose. Just the land is valued at the municipality at $250K.

The Costa Rica Vehicle Inspection or RITEVE

by Ivo Henfling

The Costa Rica Vehicle Inspection or RITEVEThose who own a vehicle in Costa Rica should know about RITEVE or the Vehicle Inspection in Costa Rica. Why?

If you don’t carry a valid RITEVE sticker on the right side of your windshield, you are bound to receive a ticket and a traffic inspector can confiscate your license plates.

The Riteve sticker, the Marchamo sticker and the 3rd license plate are the three stickers you should worry about having it always up to date in Costa Rica if you don’t want to run into trouble with the law.


Costarican traffic law obliges every vehicle owner in Costa Rica to have the vehicle inspected once a year by Riteve, to ensure that the vehicle complies with the safety standards and traffic regulations of Costa Rica and those established by the manufacturer to be able to circulate.