Ivo's Blog

12 Bugging reasons for not moving to Costa Rica


12 Bugging reasons for not moving to Costa RicaThanks again to Marian, our agent in Atenas, and her almost famous tenant who has done us a favor by writing in a 7 page letter to his landlord why he should have never rented this Atenas home. His first complaints were about mangoes, then about the noise and now about the bugs. I have explained in another blog 2 years ago that if you are scared for bugs, Costa Rica is not for you as well as one that told us all about Mickey Mouse in Costa Rica.

Unfortunately Marian’s tenant did not read my recommendations. For that reason, today I am recommending not to move to Costa Rica if you cannot live in peace with the insects, unless you follow the instructions at the end of this article.

The house this client had rented was totally renovated by the owner recently, to be used as a vacation rental in Atenas. I am not inventing anything in this blog, I have taken over the text literally and changed the names only. These are literally the complaints from a real tenant to his landlord.

How to reduce mistakes when buying mountain property in Costa Rica


How to reduce mistakes when buying mountain property in Costa RicaBuying mountain property in Costa Rica is not difficult at all, as long as you do your homework.

Many buyers do not realize that Costa Rica is famous for its micro climates and that every mountain in Costa Rica is different. You will find a huge influence to climate preferences, what crops you can grow because the soil is different or what kind of legal limitations the property might have or the bad neighborhoods you might have to drive through to get to the property, so you want to reduce the mistakes to the minimum.

We sell a lot of mountain property in the Central Valley locations of Atenas as well as in Grecia, the reason for this article.

To be able to reduce those mistakes, I have put together 5 tips:

10 Life changing facts when you marry a Costa Rican


10 Life changing facts when you marry a Costa RicanOf course you want to find out about the 10 life changing facts or think twice before you marry a Costa Rican. I’ll tell you why.

Most men who move to Costa Rica, except for the blind one's, agree that Costa Rican women are beautiful which in some cases can turn into a problem. For some reason women who move to Costa Rica are less capable to run away with a handsome Costa Rican stud, but they do, believe me. Sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll is for another blog though and today’s is not about running away with one, it’s about 10 life changing facts when you marry a Costa Rican.

Let’s start by saying that I’m perfectly happy with my 24-year marriage with Dany, who I would not change for another one for anything in the world and I’ll have a hard time finding a more beautiful one who will put up with me. Dany also reads my blogs….

I know I’m not supposed to generalize and of course there are a lot of great Tico husbands and Tica wives around, but I need to point this out so you can all behave accordingly once you plan a romantic relationship with a Costa Rican male or female.

Should I stay or should I leave Costa Rica for a lower cost of living?


Should I stay or should I leave Costa Rica for a lower cost of living?Many of you know that the cost of living in Costa Rica has gone up a lot in the past few years. One of the reasons is that The Costarican government decided to stop with the mini-devaluations in 2006 and move over to a system of exchange rate bands that has kept the Colon on the same value since then.

Exporters are suffering with the bad exchange rate but more and more companies for the US and other parts of the world are still getting installed in Costa Rica, even though the social security system in Costa Rica is expensive and adds onto the labor cost and operating cost of a business.

Procomer, the Costarican entity for commerce promotion, publishes that Costa Rica has 4.6 million people, with 4,600 products exported to 150 countries. In 2014, we exported $11,304 billion in goods, $6,341 billion in services by 2441 exporting companies. It is also true that quite a few Costarican industries have moved to Nicaragua because labor is cheaper there.

Is it true that everything is Costa Rica is more expensive than elsewhere? Why are foreign industries moving to Costa Rica and local Industries moving elsewhere? Is life for a retiree or expat better elsewhere? Should you stay or leave Costa Rica and go back where you came from?

Discover how to cook the different Tico vegetables with imagination


How to cook Tico vegetables with imaginationThanks to Ardon, a client for so many years and someone with a passion for reading my weekly blogs, I now felt an obligation to write about cooking the different Tico Vegetables. The problem is that I don’t know anything about cooking; I’m too busy writing blogs. My wife Dany does all the cooking and I do the eating.

The second problem is that I like Dutch food too much and Dany does all she can to cook all those weird Dutch recipes. Because of that, we don’t really eat a lot of Tico food in our household.  On the other hand, Dany’s cooking shows that if you can cook Dutch food with Tico ingredients, you can cook anything with them, with a little imagination.

When you move to Costa Rica, you don't have to forget what burgers and pizza taste like but you should give the local Tico food a shot too. Most vegetables are grown on the slopes of the volcanoes on the north and north east side of the Central Valley. For that reason, Tico vegetables grow not only faster than they do elsewhere; they are usually a lot tastier than elsewhere.

Sexy thoughts about buying a house in Costa Rica with or without a pool


Pros and cons of buying a house in Costa Rica with or without a poolDon’t we all love a house with a swimming pool? I always recommend our agents to use a swimming pool photo as the first listing photo, especially if there is a great view in the back ground because it appeals to the imagination and they look sexy, depending on who is in it.

I remember those years of having to live in a harsh winter and looking at an inviting photo of a house with a swimming pool and wishing I’d be able to live in a place like that. It doesn’t matter if you like to swim or not, it’s just a great appetizer and the reason I used the words “sexy thoughts” in the title of this article.

Now you’ve taken the decision of moving ahead in buying a house in Costa Rica for sale and away from those harsh winters but you’re not sure if you should buy a house with or without a swimming pool?

12 Noisy reasons to terminate an Atenas lease agreement (or anywhere else)


12 Noisy reasons to terminate an Atenas lease agreement (or anywhere else)At GoDutch Realty we don’t do many lease agreements. The main reason for this is that many tenants feel that the agents are responsible for every detail until the tenants pass out or pass away.

There is not much money to be made in rentals; especially the low budget rentals and an agent can only hope the tenant will be sufficiently satisfied about living in Costa Rica so they will purchase a property from them at one point.

In Atenas, one of the most beautiful communities west of San Jose, there are a lot of beautiful homes that are rented, mostly short term to snow birds from up north trying to get away from the cold, so our company does get involved in quite a few rentals in that particular location. A lot of snow birds move to Atenas for just 6 months and love it so much, they end up buying a property in Atenas to retiring there.

The pros and the cons of buying a condominium in Costa Rica


The pros and the cons of buying a condominium in Costa RicaIf you buy a condominium in Costa Rica for sale, will you be able to adapt to a different lifestyle than what you have been used to your whole life?

If you have lived your whole life in a single family home, is it going to be easy for you to live in a condominium or a townhouse in a gated community?

The older home owner generations have never lived in a condominium and have never had to follow rules that might or might not make them happy, but it is necessary to constitute bylaws so neighbors are able to live in harmony.

Many have raised a family in that single family or custom built home, that had all the specifics to match their lifestyle but once they retire, they look into other options. Younger generations are looking for a different lifestyle and better security, amenities and less maintenance are a few reasons to have a hard look into buying a condo.

7 reasons to live in El Cajon de Grecia


6 Reasons to live in El Cajon de GreciaCajón what? El Cajón de Grecia!

Few imagine that is the name of one of the nicest communities to live in the Central Valley.

I know El Cajón de Grecia reasonably well myself because I’ve joined Brooke Bishop, our Grecia agent many times on showings. I’ve also had a few housewarming parties there because most clients who look at buying a property in Grecia  and specifically in Cajón de Gecia will take the instant decision about not having to look any further. They definitely want to live in Cajón de Grecia.

Cajón de Grecia is located on the north-side of the city of Grecia on the slopes of the Poas (see map below).

Since Brooke knows Cajón or El Cajón as they call it, much better than I do, I asked her to come up with 7 good reasons to live in El Cajón de Grecia.

Several reasons to build a house in Costa Rica without construction permits


Several reasons to build a house in Costa Rica without construction permitsIt’s amazing how many people get away with building a house in Costa Rica without getting a construction permit. I’ve been in the Costa Rica real estate business way for over 25 years and I have seen lots of constructions shut down by the local engineering department for lack of a construction permit but many more getting away without it. 

I have done some remodeling myself without even applying for a permit, not because I don’t want to pay for it. The red tape to do a remodel job or the construction of a house in Costa Rica is a burden and a difficult task in most municipalities. The main reason to my opinion that people just don’t want to bother even applying for a construction permit.  

The other reason is that everyone knows that most municipalities have a shortage of manpower and the chance to get caught building without a permit is small.