Ivo's Blog

Selling your house in Costa Rica showing collectibles or war trophies

Selling your house in Costa Rica or collectibles and war trophiesLast week, I received a surprising call from a seller who I had not seen or heard from in over 20 years. The seller wanted me to give them an idea of what their house in Escazu can sell for.

The house is quite beautiful, well-built, well designed and very well maintained. There was one little problem: there are collectibles all over the house. There are collectibles in the hallway, in the living room, the kitchen, and all the bedrooms and there are even collectibles all over the master bathroom. You can hardly walk anywhere without crashing into a collectible.

This reminded me of a house for sale that my partner in the spice business we owned was planning to buy. I was not even a real estate agent then, so it’s been a few years now. It was owned by a gay couple and there were phalluses all over the living room, of all sizes, some even taller than I am.

I thought it was crazy the realtor didn’t tell the sellers to put them away because some buyers (actually most buyers) might be quite shocked when they walk into this surreal landscape, and not buy the house.

The unkempt house for sale in Costa Rica

The unkempt house for sale in Costa RicaDick and Jane del Valle – Springfield called me to come over and check out their house for sale. They needed help in getting the house priced right because they have to move to another country next month.

Unfortunately Dick and Jane’s house is 32 years old; it’s very unkempt and needs a lot of work. It’s a super fixer-upper, it’s not a home, but it’s a project. Few buyers are looking for projects, even if you would offer it way under market price. Dick and Jane expect their house to sell quickly and at a great price.

Some sellers are sometimes just amazing. They hire a real estate agent to sell their house in Costa Rica but do nothing to keep it presentable at all times. Unkempt homes decrease in value, but why even listen to your real estate agent’s advice?

I have made a compilation of some motivated sellers responses (which they say they are) given to our agents. Some are hilarious and others you’d sit in a corner and cry about, I'm sure you'll enjoy them.

I want to be a good neighbor in Atenas – Costa Rica

I want to be a good neighbor in Atenas - Costa RicaThe months of December, January and February are famous for the strong winds in Costa Rica. They mean the change of the rainy season to the dry season. These 62 mph (100kph) winds can become pretty dangerous and start wildfires or brushfires in under populated areas such as certain communities in Atenas.

In the 2006 – 2008 Costa Rica real estate boom, hundreds of agricultural communities were created for several reasons. The red tape to get permits to develop a property takes years, so some developers figured out that sub dividing home lots in areas zoned for agriculture was a great idea, especially because those areas offered some incredible views.
Agricultural lots

The law allows for a farm to be subdivided into 1 3/4 acre agricultural lots or “parcelas agrícolas”. Most developers called them a gated community but most don’t have more than a gate in the front, which controls access due to the topography of the community and they are all over the country, especially in Atenas and coastal areas, taking advantage of the mountain ranges for the views. 

Be aware of Costa Rican real estate developer marketing tricks

Dream with your eyes open when you buy Costa Rican pre-constructionSome Costa Rican real estate developers sell pre-construction dreams! We’d like you to dream with your eyes open.

In the past, I have written quite a few articles about buying real estate in a residential development, like 9 steps to stop a developer from deceiving you and a real estate development quiz. Some Costa Rican real estate developers that sell pre-construction homes are full of marketing tricks.

Today, I’d like to touch base with you on what seems to be going on with residential developer “Casas Vita” and marketing tricks that are quickly becoming a model of selling real estate in Costa Rica to unsuspecting buyers by a few unscrupulous Costa Rican real estate developers.

A new money-making machine, very little investment needed! We all know the famous boiler room sales made during the boom by Paragon Properties and Hermosa Highlands all directed at the gringo market and now they’re doing it to the Ticos.

6 Facts about houses in Costa Rica that can lead to buying the wrong one

6 Facts about houses in Costa Rica that can lead to buying the wrong oneHouses in Costa Rica have changed quite a bit in many ways over the last 25 years, due to changes in the way of living, the climate and construction materials.  

When shopping for a house you have of course your expectations. A lack of knowledge can ruin those expectations if you don’t find out about certain issues the house might have and you didn’t notice in time, so you bought the wrong house.

Before you start looking at houses for sale in Costa Rica, it is easy to find out what details you should look for to understand how old a house for sale is and what you will need to fix to get it to the construction standards you are looking for before you make any mistakes and you will have to remodel to fill your original expectations.

The style of houses in Costa Rica has changed tremendously. All houses before 1999 were custom built as there were no large developers, and condominiums didn’t even exist until then, which was when the condominium law was created.

Corporation Tax Costa Rica 2016 - wondering what will happen with it?

Corporation Tax Costa Rica 2016 - wondering what will happen with it?Is your property in Costa Rica owned in a corporation? You might have heard some stories about the Corporation Tax in Costa Rica but you don’t really know what is going on? Do you want to know what will happen to the corporation tax in Costa Rica for 2016?

Some owners of property in Costa Rica don’t even know that a corporation tax (impuesto sobre sociedades mercantiles) was created in December 2011 through tax law No 9024. I have written some articles about this tax earlier.

The existing corporation tax law No 9024 was declared unconstitutional in the Costa Rican Constitutional Court in 2015, annulling the collection of this tax for 2016.

The corporation tax funds usually go to the Public Security Ministry, the reason we already knew the government was not going to let it go so easily.

What makes Escazu so Unique in Costa Rica?

What makes Escazu unique?Don’t try driving around in Escazu during Christmas time just for the fun of it; you’re going to go crazy. I know all the shortcuts, but they’re all gone, shortcuts don’t exist anymore. Traffic is hell, don’t try to go to Multiplaza Escazu to do your Christmas shopping, unless it’s October.

So why the HECK do I live in Escazu?

I’m sorry, but the best answer I can come up with is location, location, location and the lifestyle Escazu has to offer. I'm saying I'm sorry because many expats that move to Costa Rica don't know what Escazu has to offer, hence this blog. I know Costa Rica from border to border and there is no city in Costa Rica that has so much to offer as Escazu has.

Have a good look at the first photo in this blog and some others throughout this article, I took all those photos right here in Escazu. That’s what is so great about living in Escazu, you can have the best of both worlds here, the main reason I have owned Escazu real estate myself for years. Check out the photo below, I just took that from my office. That is the view I enjoy every day from my desk (when I’m not looking at my computer screen) and I live in the middle of those traffic jams on Christmas day.

2 Ways to not get hit by the train in Costa Rica

2 Ways to not get hit by a train in Costa RicaThe train was such a wonderful way of transport for a country like Costa Rica. Costa Rica does not have any heavy industries at all, but for a few agro-industries, so everything is important, which makes the two ports in Costa Rica very important.

Driving in Costa Rica is easy to learn without getting scared and by reading my blogs about what can happen at the traffic light, no passing zones, the road obstacles, the different sidewalks, what to do when you have an accident and how we drive over the dead, you will be aware of the dangers.

Coffee and bananas were the main export products and almost everything that is shipped in and out of Costa Rica went through to the ports of Limon (Atlantic) and the port of Caldera (Pacific). Before containers became fashionable, everything was transported by train, a situation that has now changed tremendously.

Before that happened, there was still space in the streets on San Jose, Cartago, Alajuela and Heredia. Now you can get hit by a train, if you are not aware there is one.

How important is family in Costa Rica and how to deal with them

How important is family in Costa Rica and how to deal with themIn Costa Rica, family sticks together, even if they can’t stand each other. Costa Ricans do anything and everything with the family as much as they can. They are very traditional in their family lifestyle and are able to have multi generation households to live in peace forever.

If you’re going to be living in Costa Rica, this subject is important to you because it might be necessary to adjust your life style a bit, especially during important holidays.

It is very common for Costa Ricans to get together every weekend, some bring the beers, others the meat for the barbecue, a third one the salad and a fourth one the desert. They take turns in cooking or cook all together. Big happenings are soccer games, baby showers, birthdays, Election Day, Christmas, New Year’s eve, Easter week, and almost every day they find a reason to celebrate or have a good time. Their happenings are very similar to tailgate parties in the US.

Should owners disclose their Costa Rica house for sale has been smoked in?

Should we disclose that owners smoke in their home for sale?When our agents list a house in Costa Rica for sale or for rent, we usually list all the amenities on the listing, but we don’t disclose if the owner has a cat or a dog or if the house for sale has been smoked in.

I can now see my readers who are still smokers all think “can’t you just keep your mouth shut; now I’ll never get rid of my house”. I’d still like to put this matter into discussion, which is what that comment box at the bottom of this blog is, which most of you still haven’t figured out.

Fewer people smoke than ever before and in Costa Rica you’re not allowed to smoke in public places anymore which makes it even harder for a smoker to enjoy a simple cigarette, a cigar, a pipe or some pot, even in your own house.

I used to be a heavy smoker most of my life myself and quitting was the hardest thing I’ve done in life. Only a non-smoker knows how bad cigarette smell can get, especially when it’s stale. For years I have suffered at parties because I’d have to spend time on the balcony like the guy in this video below had planned: