Costa Rica Real Estate Blog

More tips on how to turn your home into a successful Costa Rica vacation rental

Even more Vacation Rental Tips and Ideas

by guest blogger John Doe

More tips on how to turn your home into a successful Costa Rica vacation rentalLast week, I published the first 3 tips to how to turn your Costa Rica house into a vacation rental. My wife and I have purchased a house in Costa Rica before we are ready to retire and we are trying to cover the cost of the maintenance of the property by renting the property as a vacation rental while we are absent owners. 

The following tips might be useful to you as they help us a lot to get ahead in the game of Costa Rica vacation rentals and generate some nice rental income.

4    Don’t try to do it all at once

Be flexible and willing to think outside the box. I remember when we started to rent, how big a task it seemed. What would we do if...? There are so many things that “could” go wrong...and we were thousands of miles away. In the beginning, we had only our housekeeper, who was recommended by our developer, who also still lived in the development. We relied completely on our developer and his very helpful wife to act as a go-between in dealing with our property.

Costa Rica retirement tours

Take a retirement tour BEFORE you decide to retire in Costa Rica

by Ivo Henfling

Costa Rica retirement ToursIf you really think you have the tolerance to move to another country and  even enjoy the ups and downs you will encounter, you’ve just passed STEP ONE of our Costa Rica Retirement Exam. 

Once you have signed up for George Lundquist’s Costa Rica retirement tours, you’ve also passed step two and you’re ready for adventure. George calls his Costa Rica retirement tours “Retire in Costa Rica on Social Security” but it doesn’t matter to him if you bring a lot more money that just your social security, don’t worry. 

What is that adventure all about? Not running scared I hope? Find out now what we have for you on this incredible trip. It’s going to be the best trip you’ve ever made in your life, your due diligence trip for retirement. 


Water issues obstruct building permits in agricultural subdivisions in Costa Rica

No Building Permits at Municipalities without Water Certification

by Ivo Henfling

No Building Permits at Municipalities without Water Certification

Do you have a building lot in an agricultural subdivision in Costa Rica? Or maybe you are planning to buy one? If so, you better read this blog, so you can save yourself a lot of headaches later on. 

The fact is that starting September 1st, 2014 if you own a property in Costa Rica and you want to be able to get building permits from the municipality where the property is located, the owner has to get a certification from the water company (carta de agua) that certifies there is water available for that property. If the property already has a house, you don’t have to worry, but as soon as you want to build additional footage to your house, you will need a building permit. 

Most municipalities even go a step further and they oblige you to get that same letter when you request an “uso de suelo”, which is a document that shows what you are able to build on that particular property and it will tell you if the property is residential, commercial or industrial as well as the density (how much construction is allowed).

Turn your Costa Rica house into a vacation rental successfully

Vacation Rental Tips and Ideas

by guest blogger John Doe

Costa Rica vacation rental tips and ideasIn this blog, and another one next week, I will provide some tips which may assist you to increase your success rate if your intent is to purchase a property to rent out part or all of the time. This is based on my own specific experience, from purchasing a house and small acreage in Costa Rica, which we visit for a couple of weeks once or twice a year, and otherwise make available to rent.

Therefore, it is not meant to be all-inclusive vacation rental. Some of these tips may overlap, but for completeness, I will include them all (in no particular order of importance). Today, I'll will publish the first three that I came up with and will do the rest next week.

1.    Make contacts with Ticos 

Don’t restrict yourself to the expat community. On our last visit, my wife and I arrived at our house to find that the water was not working. I had no idea what the problem was. As we pondered the situation, the guard from the guard-house arrived on his 4-wheeler, since he had been told we came through the gate, and wanted to come and greet us. (Keep in mind this was on a Saturday, as I relate the rest of the story).

Can a Costa Rica real estate agent be successful showing tattoos or a different haircut?

A Tattooed Realtor in Costa Rica?

by Ivo Henfling

Do you like my hairdo? I try not to discriminate, quite the opposite. My parents have educated me very liberally, like good and open-minded Dutch. In other blogs, I have been quite outspoken about gay issues and racism.

I don’t really care if people cover themselves with tattoos, piercings or get a nice punk haircut. Why would I, right? It’s their body and their decision. Not that I like it, it’s not my style of how I would like to look myself. Just looking at my picture here tells me I should keep my grey hair and not tattoo our logo in my neck either.

I know a few Costa Rica real estate agents who have a tattoo and it doesn’t bother me at all they do, it is the way they want to present themselves to their clients and that’s fine. I just don’t want my own agents to look extreme.

Would I hire someone who is covered in tattoos? Would I hire someone who has piercings all over his or her face? Would I hire someone with a hairdo like I have in the first photo of this blog? HECK NO!  It’s too controversial for the real estate business, to my opinion. Unless your niche is to sell real estate to the artist world.

Free Que Pasa Website Serving Grecia and Sarchi Communities

Grecia, Alajuela, August 28, 2014

"Que Pasa" Marks the End of Its First Eight-Months with Additions and Improvements

Grecia Que Pasa ?With eight months under its belt, Que Pasa, the free-membership community information website serving the English-speaking residents of greater Grecia and Sarchi, announced two major changes for its subscribers.

First, Que Pasa has added a private-access, subscribers-only Answer Page on Facebook. “We felt that as a no-cost community information website serving English-speaking residents of greater Grecia and Sarchi, many of our subscribers could benefit from the local knowledge of other subscribers who have lived in the area a little longer,” said Debi Gedling, Que Pasa editor and co-founder.

“We hoped that newer members of our Que Pasa web community would not have to re-invent the wheel anytime they encountered an obstacle that more-seasoned subscribers may have previously overcome.” Subscribers will now be able to post questions on the members-only Que Pasa Answer Page on Facebook. Other members can offer answers and solutions to the question and the “asker” will be notified by email when an answer to their question is posted.   

Is it true that Costa Ricans never say no?

by Ivo Henfling

A good reason to move to Costa Rica?

A reason to move to Costa Rica?There are many reasons for moving to Costa Rica but the most attractive one is that Costa Ricans are nice people, which is why they have a hard time saying NO. If you compare the Ticos, which is how they call themselves proudly, with the neighbors, the Panamanians and the Nicaraguans (Nicas), they come way ahead in friendliness.

Ticos have a different attitude, to my opinion, due to the fact that they never had to really suffer through dictatorship and civil wars. During the only Costa Rican civil war, the revolution of 1948, took the fighting parties only 44 days to figure things out between them. Costa Rica has always had a huge middle class and social unrest has been practically unknown to them.

Following the civil war, the army was abolished and the money usually budgeted for an army, was used to build schools, which is what made the Tico the most educated population in Central America. This is what sets them apart from the rest of their continent and why Costa Rica is the happiest country in the world.

Expats and InterNations in Costa Rica

by Gregor Willis

Expats and InterNations in Costa RicaNobody Stands Alone is one of InterNations’ slogans and the expat community in Costa Rica is no exception. Costa Rica has well-established expat communities in many of its towns and cities; as an InterNations’ member, you are able to connect with fellow expats and share the wonderful experiences that come with living in a foreign part of the world.

What’s an expat?

The dictionary may define an expatriate as simply “a person who lives outside their native country” but we at InterNations see expats as so much more! An expat is someone brave and adventurous, someone who has dared to leave the safe and easy confines of their natural environment and, instead of just venturing out into the world, has made the planet his or her home!

Will new visa fines stop perpetual tourism in Costa Rica?

by Ivo Henfling

Should you worry about having to pay $100 visa fine per month or not?

Should you worry about having to pay $100 visa fine per month or not?In 2011, a new article of the immigration law was approved and came in effect on August 1st, 2014. This article fines tourists $100 per month after their tourist visa expires. Those who cannot pay or are unwilling to do so, will not be allowed back into the country for three times the length they overstayed on their tourist visa.

Thousands of foreigners from the US, Canada, Europe and elsewhere live in Costa Rica as a perpetual tourist. I imagine the government doesn’t know either how many people live like that in Costa Rica. Many are snowbirds and rent short term and others just live here long term and leave the country every three months to renew their tourist visa.

Quite a few perpetual tourists even own property in Costa Rica or have a business here but have never bothered getting their legal residency or did not apply for some reason. Many do not know they can apply for legal residency if their property is appraised in the municipality for at least $200,000 and  do not have to worry about leaving the country every 90 days.

Renting our home as a Costa Rica vacation rental

by guest blogger John Doe

How to advertise your Costa Rica vacation rental property better?

How can you best advertise your Costa Rica vacation rental property?It has been some time since I reported on my experience with buying property in Costa Rica and living there, and I thought it would be useful to give an update.

My wife and I are not yet at the point of retiring fully, but are rapidly approaching that time. Our purchase of property in Costa Rica was a preliminary step in that direction. Since we do not use our property ourselves all that much, our plan was to rent it as a vacation rental, to recover some (or if possible, all) of the costs and our home is located in an area that GoDutch Realty or their affiliates don’t service.

Things started out quite slowly, and it took some time to get registered on rental sites (HomeAway and Tripadvisor, currently). I considered using local real estate agents for sourcing potential tenants, but after checking with them, there did not seem to be much interest. I was not surprised, since our experience when we purchased our property was also that they were not helpful (story for another time).