At the moment, it’s a buyer’s market in Costa Rica; it is a great time to take advantage of the opportunities in real estate. Although many properties have not dropped in price, most sellers are quite willing to negotiate. Some even offer short term financing as an incentive to buyers.
If you have been toying with the idea of investing in property or buying a home in Costa Rica, check out these listings that have been greatly reduced in price. If the dream of living the good life in Costa Rica has ever flitted through your head, maybe one of these “deals” will make your dream a reality. (P.S. If you are from the US, health care in Costa Rica is excellent AND very affordable.)
While driving on the road from Santa Barbara to San Joaquín yesterday afternoon, traffic suddenly ground to a crawl – there were horses everywhere and they were oblivious to the cars sharing the road with them. Occasionally, they would go to the side of the road so cars could pass by in one direction. As my car was creeping along, a horse passed on the right hand side – rather startling! Costa Rican horses are smaller than those commonly seen in the US and they prance and throw their legs out as they high step. Watching them from the rear was interesting and comical – their legs don’t go straight up and down and look like they are flailing … from the rear perspective. It seems that the horses go through a lot of unnecessary motions to get where they are going, but that’s the style here. One of the horses – probably a donkey – in the “parade” was about waist high and being ridden by a woman whose feet nearly touched the ground. It had no problem keeping up with the others, but it didn’t prance like them. Passing by the main church in San Joaquín I saw a large number (hundreds) of horses, riders and spectators. I don’t know what the event was and I was tempted to park and take some photos, but it was HOT and I wanted to get home. Now, I wish I’d have stopped, of course. These “surprises” are what makes Costa Rica fun and interesting. (If you’re a horse person and looking for a ranch of your own, check out this property in San Rafael, Heredia.)
People often ask “Where’s the best place to live in Costa Rica?” That depends on what you like. Do you like hot, humid weather? Cool, rainy weather? Warm, dry weather? Do you enjoy the occasional pelo de gato (light rain – almost like mist – accompanied by sunshine and bits of rainbows)? Are breezes more to your liking? Costa Rica has all of these weather conditions and more, thanks to its microclimates! Your surroundings can change dramatically within minutes depending on the elevation, mountain proximity, vegetation, coastal breeze patterns, season (dry or wet), etc. You can go from sitting outside enjoying cool breezes in the Central Valley to running for shade at a hot, humid beach within a couple hours. You can be dressed comfortably in a sweatshirt watching heavy rainfall in the mountains above Heredia at the same time that someone in Heredia may be experiencing light rain and someone else in Alajuela can be walking around in bright sunshine in shorts and shirtsleeves peering up at the rainbows over the mountains. And these areas are mere kilometers apart! When I lived in Minnesota, we used to say that if you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes and it will change. There, temperatures could swing 40-60° in one day. You could go into a shopping center in the morning with the sun shining brightly overhead only to emerge 4-5 hours later and be greeted by 6 inches of snow on the ground and be blinded by blustery winds that brought tears to your eyes and made your nose run. I’ll take Costa Rica’s swings over Minnesota’s any day. For me, the best place to live is in a lower region of the Central Valley; I love it. You’ll have to decide the best place for you – have fun exploring all the options. (If you like cool, mountain living with a view, check out this home.)
In brief: Section 408 of the Internal Revenue Code allows for an IRA, Roth IRA or SEP-IRA to purchase real estate with tax deferred dollars. To take advantage of this provision, you must work with an independent IRA custodian. Since you will not have title to the property – the custodian will – it is important to work with an experienced, reputable, trustworthy brokerage company/custodian. If your IRA doesn’t have sufficient funds available, it may purchase an interest in a property along with other investors. Any income from your property must be directed to your IRA administrator – you may not directly benefit. Thus, income, such as rent payments on the property, will be tax free and if your property accumulates cash, it may be used to invest in other properties. Any expenses, such as association dues, repairs or utilities, must be paid by the custodian. There are important restrictions. Personal use of your property is prohibited (e.g. as a residence, vacation property or office). You are not to benefit from the real estate other than via increased IRA value. You may not have your IRA buy property that you or your immediate family currently own or previously owned. (This does not hold true for siblings, however.) At 59½, you may remove the property from your IRA and have the title placed in your name and put to personal use. If it has been in an IRA, there may be tax consequences on the appreciated value of the property. If it has been in a Roth IRA, there will be no tax consequences. If purchasing real estate with your IRA is an attractive option, contact a reliable brokerage firm for specific information and administration. If you decide you want to pursue this option, contact Costa Rica Tropical Paradise Properties. We will work with you to find a property in Costa Rica that is a good investment.
Okay, it’s time to get back in the routine of writing about life and times in Costa Rica. A recent trip to the US and long-awaited visits with family and friends took precedent over writing. Flights to Minnesota, Montana, Minnesota, Michigan and Minnesota before returning to Costa Rica, took up several hours, as well! Once returning to Costa Rica, work demands came first. Now there are no more excuses! Soooooo, back to the keyboard. For those who are curious about Costa Rica, please stand by. There are more experiences and adventures to report that come with the territory when you live in and sell real estate in Costa Rica.
Mornings are filled with glorious sunshine and renewed hope for a beautiful day. Around 10:00 AM, the mountains in the distance look clouded over. By noon, the sky has turned gray and by 3:00 PM, the thunder is rumbling and crashing, the lightning is flashing in staccato bolts and the rain is pounding on the metal roof like a thousand snare drums. Raging rivers of water rush down the street and up the sidewalk. Debris floats and bobs in the turbulent water. All phone calls and television shows must be postponed until the rains stop and the deafening roar diminishes. Clothes hung on the line become saturated … again. Powerful winds force water under doors and roof tiles, creating slippery puddles on ceramic floors and dangerous footing for unsuspecting feet. Pets hide under beds. Enough! Couldn’t we have a gentle rain, for a change? (Here’s an escape from the rain.)
A few weeks ago the entire country experienced several scheduled “rolling” black-outs. The first time it happened it was unannounced and the entire country went black at the same time for several hours. No one knew what was going on and no one was prepared. After a few days, schedules were posted in newspapers announcing when and where black-outs would occur in the upcoming days. Sometimes “lights out” went according to the notices and sometimes they didn’t. (I started making coffee and putting it in a thermos, just in case.) There were a number of theories floating around as to the reason for the black-outs – forces that were pro TLC (free trade agreement with the US that is under heated discussion), anti TLC, anti government, or disgruntled ICE employees (the phone and power company). Even Mother Nature (the lack of rain) was accused of being the culprit. To date, no one is certain of what caused the black-outs. Although these black-outs were an inconvenience, they also provided an opportunity for me to interact with my neighbors. I was gone during the day and when I came home in the afternoon, the electricity was off so the electric garage door couldn’t open. I parked the car across the street and left it, figuring I’d move it later. When the electricity came back on, it was pouring rain. By the time the rain stopped, I’d forgotten about my car. Soon the electricity went off again. I kept waiting for it to resume, but it didn’t. I finally gave up at 10:30 and went to bed (there isn’t a lot to do sitting in a dark house with a candle). A few moments later I heard someone shouting, “Upe” at my front gate. I got up and saw my neighbor with two of her children standing there with candles. She said she was worried about my car and that her husband and son knew how to open the garage door manually so I could put my car away. I scurried around looking for the key to the safety padlock on the opener. As my neighbor’s oldest son stood on a stool and unlocked the padlock, the entire family was gathered around with candles. It looked like a vigil! Before long, the door was open, the car was in the garage, and I was back in bed thinking how nice my neighbors were. A few days later I made chocolate chip cookies and took a plateful over to them. Very few people make cookies in Costa Rica so I hope they liked them. (Here’s a great kitchen in which to make cookies!)