Ivo's Blog

7 Costa Rica Real Estate Contract Killers You Should Know About

You think that as soon as the real estate contract is signed, you can take the day off and celebrate?

I’m sorry but unless you have the perfect real estate contract and everything else falls in place, you will not be able to celebrate until after closing.

I know quite a few real estate agents who, as soon as the real estate contract is signed start booking their family vacation or even purchase a new car. I have seen sellers go crazy spending their savings in their celebration that their house was sold. Well, don’t do that YET. 

A signed offer is not a legal commitment. Our agents use a written offer so there won’t be any disagreements later on. 

7 Costa Rica Real Estate Contract Killers You Should Know About

The buyer’s attorney uses that written offer to write up the formal real estate contract, which we call option to purchase – sale agreement. Others in Costa Rica call it a buy – sell agreement, a property purchase agreement or sometimes a promise to purchase. 

When buyer and seller sign this real estate contract, 10% of the purchase price or any other agreed on amount goes into escrow. Usually, this earnest money is non-refundable. Ticos negotiate differently and usually the seller receives the earnest money since they don’t use escrow. 

How to save money on liquor in Costa Rica

How to save money on liquor in Costa Rica ⌂ photo by Signbiblio

If you don’t drink any liquor before you move to Costa Rica, there are several reasons you could start doing so pretty soon. 

It can be pretty warm some days and for many there is nothing nicer than a piña colada when you’re sitting next to your pool. 

Others, like me, prefer a rum ‘n coke when I have great company.

Depending on your ability to adjust to your new life in Costa Rica, or on your personality type, you might be needing a stiff drink, because you can’t put up with it anymore. 

Of course there are other reasons to start drinking if you’re not already an alcoholic when you move here, but then I suggest a visit to a bilingual shrink. 

Alcohol, or liquor, can be quite expensive in Costa Rica, depending a lot on what you drink and how much. 

The death of a landmark in Costa Rica

The death of a landmark in Costa RicaFew things are as hard as directions or finding an address in Costa Rica if you have recently arrived, even if you are fluent in Spanish.  

Our addresses are weird and even if you use Waze on your phone, you might need to know about a landmark in the area you are visiting, so you won’t get lost.

Costa Rica is full of landmarks, even though they change once in a while. I have been living in Escazu, for most of my 36 years in Costa Rica, we just lost one of the most important landmarks: the Mango Tree. Escazu News picked up on the happening and allowed me to the photos.

Most of you probably say “what, a mango tree is a landmark?”

There are places in Costa Rica that has thousands of mango trees. I actually did a blog a while ago about mangoes and a tenant who complained that the mangoes where keeping her awake.  

Adjust to food in Costa Rica

How to adjust to food in Costa Rica

The plan to move to Costa Rica is a winner for many. Most who start looking and homes for sale or for rent in Costa Rica will not get any further than dreaming of such a big step. Moving to another country is a much bigger step than most think it is, especially when it's about trying to adjust to the food in Costa Rica. 

Although there is so much information available online, I find that only a few future expats take the time and make the effort to learn as much as they can about their future home country, the reason for the existence of Ivo’s blog. 

In the past, in December 2014 to be exact, I wrote a blog about the traditions from your home country that you will miss when you move to Costa Rica. Food in Costa Rica is not only different than what you are used to, it is also cooked different and they use different spices than you do. But don't worry, it's not so bad that it should stop you from moving to Costa Rica and I'm sure this article will help you adjust to the food in Costa Rica well.


10 steps on how to buy a building lot in Costa Rica

How to buy building lot in Costa Rica in 10 stepsNot necessarily do you need to have an eccentric taste to prefer buying a building lot for your future custom house in Costa Rica. Even the budget for your future house should not matter.

There are quite some reasons you might want to purchase a home lot in Costa Rica. Some buyers have their ideas well organized and know what they want (or they think they do), others don't have a clue until they walk into the right house.

A few of the reasons to buy a building lot in Costa Rica usually are:

•    You are not ready to move to Costa Rica yet, but you're looking to get a foot in the door for a future move or retirement.

•    You have some money set aside and want to invest this money. Instead of investing it your local real estate market, the stock market or just handing it over to your banker, you're looking for something more promising and exotic. 

•    You want to custom build your custom home to very detailed specifications to suit your own needs.

Before you start looking to buy a building lot in Costa Rica, first find out where exactly you would like to live. That of course, depends on your specific needs and lifestyle, such as beach, mountains, rural area, city, golf courses, hospitals and other amenities that are important to you.

Is moving to Costa Rica with a dietary problem or a disability smart?

Is moving to Costa Rica with a dietary problem or a disability smart?Do you have any health problems? Are you afraid to move to Costa Rica because you have a dietary disease or because you are disabled? Let’s try to cover this important question for many who are not sure they can make this important step because of their disability or dietary problem.

Costa Rica can be a perfectly delightful retirement destination for everyone but it depends a lot on the location you choose moving to.

Especially If you have a disability or a need for special requirements, it is important you find out if your destination can accommodate your needs or not before you take the wrong decision of moving to Costa Rica.

In other words, you need to find out if Costa Rica fits or doesn’t fit your picture.

Will property in Costa Rica sell faster on an exclusive listing agreement?

Will property in Costa Rica sell faster on an exclusive listing agreement?

Unless you love to suffer, do not sign an exclusive listing agreement for your property in Costa Rica with any real estate agency, no matter how sexy, famous, smooth, handsome or successful the agent who promises to sell your property next week is.

Why would you put all your eggs in one basket and sign up with only one agency? Will your property sell faster if you sign an exclusive listing agreement with one agency or not and what are your options?

As you probably already know, anybody can be a real estate agent in Costa Rica, some are trained and others are not. Real estate in Costa Rica is not regulated and there is no formally functioning Multiple Real Estate Service (MLS) that covers all the property listings in Costa Rica by real estate professionals, as is customary in other countries like the USA.

Which powers of attorney does your property manager in Costa Rica need?

Which powers of attorney does your property manager in Costa Rica need?Everybody involved in the real estate closing is exhilarated, the buyer most of all. Of course she is, Susan just closed on the purchase of a beautiful vacation home in Costa Rica. 

For years, Susan has been day dreaming, looking online at vacation homes near all the beaches in Costa Rica. She has been looking at pictures of homes and condos all over the North, South and Central Pacific and at the Caribbean side of Costa Rica too, reading descriptions and asking the listing agents questions by email and phone.

Susan did her due diligence and decided it was a better idea to make an investment in a vacation rental in Atenas; she wanted to make sure she would buy her vacation home in the right location at the right price. 

Susan found out it made much more sense to rent her home to snow birds and retirees who take much better care of your property than surfers who live on peanut butter sandwiches do.

7 Luxury homes in the Central Valley worth checking out

Luxury homes in the Central Valley worth checking out

Have you ever wondered how the luxury home market in the Costa Rican Central Valley functions without having an MLS where every agent in Costa Rica advertises their listings?

Before you start making appointments with realtors to see luxury homes in the Central Valley, maybe it is time for you to find out a bit more, so you can save yourself a lot of time and effort.

Online you might find the most mouthwatering pictures of beautiful luxury homes in the Central Valley, panoramic views or images of the golf course. You’ll find photos of imposing hallways, palatial kitchens and plush living rooms.  

All the photos you will find are going to be trying to show all the plusses of the home but how do you know the value is really there?

Unless you are a specialist in property values in Costa Rica, you won’t know how much you should pay for that home, no matter how much you love it.

9 Jaw dropping ways to make things work in Costa Rica

9 Jaw dropping ways to make things work in Costa RicaIf you were born and raised in a developed country, you are so used to go to the store and just buy a replacement for whatever is broken or defective. 

Ticos (someone born and raised in Costa Rica), no matter if they have money or not, are not used to just go to the store to buy new because they might not find it or can’t afford it.

They try to find a way to make things work, one way or the other. Those who also living in Costa Rica, although they’re not born and raised here, quickly learn how to make things work in Costa Rica, out of sheer survival.

The fact that the Costa Rican government taxes everything that is imported makes it not only more expensive, it is also very well possible you won’t find a replacement available. You have a real good chance that you can’t get any spare parts either because the model is not current or the importer went under.