Ivo's Blog

5 Magic tips for a normal life while selling your house

5 Tips to have a normal life while selling your housePlanning on selling your house or you already have it for sale? I bet you already know that selling a house in Costa Rica can take a while. Some don’t realize that the time that it takes, is really up to the seller. Pricing is usually the reason that a house sells quickly, or not!

As important as the price is the way the house shows. Most homes we show are just a mess, all the time. Buyers see the mess, not the details that could attract them enough to buy the house.

I assume you have already read some of my past articles. In those, I told you about the helpful home owner and my yellow card system. If you have any pets, I’d recommend you get up to date on that too.

If you are selling your house through an open listing, the agent will not come over to tidy up the house to show it. Even though most agents will call ahead to make a showing appointment, you might not have a lot of time to tidy up. I know, it’s a total hassle, but you want to sell, right? So you and your family will need to put in some effort too and cooperate in getting it sold.

And I assume you’d like your life to go on as normal as possible in the process. For that simple reason, I’d like to give you these 5 Tips for a normal life while selling your house:

What is parado de uñas in Costa Rica

What is parado de uñas in Costa RicaIf you really want to go native when living in Costa Rica, you should learn the typical Tico slang that is used by the locals. In other blogs, I have told you about ChunchesUpe and some others. Today’s turn is for "estar parado de uñas".

What is parado de uñas in Costa Rica? The expression “parado de uñas” literally translates into “standing on nails”, which is why I used the image of the nails as a first image in this article.

Parado de uñas really doesn’t translate well and I even had to call in the professional help of Christopher Howard, to help me with the English translation. Christopher is a BA in Latin Studies and speaks Spanish like a Pachuco. I will explain what “pachuco” is in another blog, or you can buy his Oficial Guide to Costa Rican Spanish here.  

Ticos and Ticas have a Latin mindset. Latin people have a different character, they are hot blooded. Because of that, they usually react differently than we do, most of the time quite unsuspected. Much different than Caucasians, Orientals or African Americans are. 

Do not overlook the final walk-through on closing day

Do not overlook the final walk-through on closing dayClosing on a property is usually a pretty nervous occasion. Sellers become desperate to receive their settlement check and buyers want to move in. In the middle is a diligent real estate agent who will lead the way if you are lucky. That’s why we insist on a final walk-through on closing day.

Most parties involved only look at the finish line and forget about all those details that should be taken care of.  It is for example customary to deliver the house on closing in broom clean condition, although that is rarely mentioned in an option to purchase – sale agreement. I have seen houses being a total mess where lamps were removed, boxes all over and garbage everywhere.

I never forget one of the first homes I sold in my real estate career.  A Cuban – American builder and his wife had built a home in Cariari. Open floor plans were very unusual at the time that they would fully furnish with North American imported furniture.  Oswaldo and Maria would live in the house until it sold, rent another one in the neighborhood and build the next one. Is sold the house to a retiree from Huntington Beach – California who was flying in for the closing. Oswaldo and Maria had already moved to their rental home a week before. 

Aguinaldo or Christmas bonus in Costa Rica is obligatory

Aguinaldo or Christmas bonus in Costa Rica is obligatoryIn most countries around the world, employees do not receive any Christmas bonus. Christmas bonus – Aguinaldo in Spanish – is obligatory in Costa Rica. `    

You might not run a business but if you’re an expat living in Costa Rica, you probably have an employee even though you don’t realize you do. The house keeper, cleaning lady, the gardener, or the handy man that comes in regularly for any amount of hours is an employee. The caretaker, who lives on your property, is definitely an employee.

Over the years, I have met expats who think they treat their employee real well. They give them coffee in the morning, lunch and a coke in the afternoon. AND they pay them well, they say. But they really don’t because they don’t pay their employee aguinaldo.

Most employees that work for a family like yours and mine only work for a few hours. Our maid, cleaning lady or housekeeper, whatever you want to call her, is a part-time employee. Her name is Argentina, like the country, but she is originally from Nicaragua. Argentina works in our household only Tuesdays, Wednesday and Fridays, from 8 am – 4 pm.  And Argentina is a legal resident of Costa Rica.

Why treating Ticos like shit is not right

Why treating Ticos like shit is not right Yeah, I know, I shouldn’t use bad language and I apologize for the French. But with a title like “why treating Ticos like shit”, I knew I would get your attention. And indeed treating Ticos like shit is not right.

Why not? Well, everything you do when you live in Costa Rica, should be like any good and decent guest behaves.

I often see Ticos who treat the Nicas the same way. For those who don’t know what Nicas are, they are the people who come from the country next door, Nicaragua. They come here to work hard and earn a living, trying to get a better life.  So we should treat them well too, don’t you think so?

On the other hand, we are different than they are, aren’t we? We know everything so much better. We are better educated, smarter and have a lot more money. They, the Ticos, are uneducated, stupid and poor.

What is Upe in Costa Rica?

What is Upe in Costa Rica?Everyone in Costa Rica knows what upe is. Or uuuuupeeeeeee, when you yell it. If you don’t say upe loud enough, nobody will hear you and they won’t come to the door. Do you want to know what Upe in Costa Rica is?

Alf Giebler, in his book “A lo Tico”, says that is means “is someone there?” when you are at the door of a house or a business. Constantino Lazcariz, in his book “El Costarricense” says that is means "Ave María purísima, aquí le traigo de parte de nuestra señora la Virgen de Guadalupe". Since it’s so long, over time the sentence was shortened to upe. 

Upe is definitely much easier for those of us who don’t speak much or any Spanish. 

So why do you need to know about upe? Because whenever you are going to visit someone, you’re going to need to yell uuuupeeeee so the people you visit will know you’re standing at the door.

Why don't people just have a doorbell instead of all that yelling?

Costa Rica ~ Pura Vida

“Costa Rica ~ Pura Vida!”

I always enjoy it when the expats who moved to Costa Rica have a good time, especially when they tell others about it. There is already enough negativity in this world. Costa Rica ~ Pura Vida!

Those, who are able to adjust to their new home country and learn the language, have a better chance to have such a good time. Ned Nossaman, is one of those who did and who does. Because Ned adjusted to Costa Rica and never expected Costa Rica to adjust to him. 

Of course there are things that are not perfect and you can learn how to accept them and live with them. Ned describes, in his poem, what his feelings for Costa Rica are. 

Thank you Ned, for taking the time to write this beautiful poem and sharing your thoughts with us. Thank you for your beautiful gift.

Señorita Bonita – trendy and charming Atenas boutique

Señorita Bonita – trendy and charming Atenas boutiqueAre you a high-end shopper who worships BCBG, Chico’s or MK or looking for a great deal on sunglasses? For sure there’s something for you at Señorita Bonita, the new charming Atenas boutique.

Watch it now, ladies in Atenas! Fed up of driving all the way to Escazu or Alajuela to buy trendy women’s apparel? Now you can do your shopping in Atenas and buy a handbag, accessories, lingerie, perfume and dressy casual women’s clothing in an Atenas boutique. Ladies who live in Escazu or anywhere else in Costa Rica, are of course also very welcome to check them out.

Why am I writing about it? Because Jenny O’Neil and husband Joe Allen moved to Atenas this year and Jenny can’t sit still. Jenny was done refinishing the home in Atenas that they bought from GoDutch Realty agents Marian Veltman and Rudy Matthews. So she had to move on to the next project Señorita Bonita, a trendy and charming Atenas boutique.

20 Genius household hacks that work in Costa Rica

20 Genius household hacks that work in Costa RicaMy blogs are meant to make things easier for you when you live in Costa Rica. That’s why this time I have tried to find 5,555 genius household hacks that should work in Costa Rica.

I decided to start with only 20 of them and leave a few for some other day.

I have told you in other blogs about how famous MacGyver is in Costa Rica. Often, you need to try to make things work. 

In this article you will find 20 MacGyver’s or household hacks that work.

I have added some funny and ingenious ones and even a video so it's a bit more entertaining and you can share them with your friends and family on Facebook. Enjoy yourself using them, here we go.

12 facts that everyone living in Costa Rica takes for granted

12 facts that everyone living in Costa Rica takes for grantedWhen you first arrive in a new country, there are concepts, habits and unique facts that everyone notices. They might be the reason you move to Costa Rica or not, but you assume you’ll do all you can to enjoy them. After a while of living in Costa Rica, you get into the rhythm of living your life, doing what you do and you forget. You forget about those unique facts because up start taking them for granted. 

You don’t really notice that you take them for granted until you get visitors or when you travel. I invite you to join me on a fact finding tour. Please do not take those facts for granted, once you are living in Costa Rica. 

These facts will give you the opportunity to live the pura vida.