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Real Estate Newsletter #6

They Come and They Go...

They come and they go, the searchers and seekers for property in Costa Rica, passing through on their inspection of the country, always on their way to somewhere else, to the beaches, the highlands near the volcanoes, a quick glimpse at some of the national parks, and then they return, educated, with decisions intact.    Usually a day or two in and around San Jose, in and out of our office and that of the lawyer's and then back to the States, to Canada, to Europe.   Wham bam, thank you ma'am.   But when they are here, sitting around the office of Hot Tropics Real Estate, they have opinions and advice, telling me what Costa Ricans should do, telling me as though I can do something about the existing conditions.   And their feelings, their impulses, about this country are usually well-meaning, eager and heartfelt.   It's as though they feel they are powerless in the face of overwhelming political and social problems in their home countries; and so they feel impotent and ineffective in changing anything there.   Back home, it is just impossible, they say.   Yet here things still seems hopeful. All one has to do is handle some perceived problems and Costa Rica will be perfect.   Should be easy, right?   It's a little place. We just have to fix a few things here.  

The number one complaint of the visitor, always, always, is the condition of the roads, and of how difficult it all is, driving from one point to the other, those nasty potholes; the almost total absence of proper roads.

The lady real estate salesperson from Los Angeles and her middle-aged Latino client are sitting on the terrace coffee shop, offering their opinions, their considerations about whether things are going to get better or worse here, arguing about the destiny of Costa Rica, after Fidel Castro dies.  

"Well, of course, all the trendy people, all those on the cutting edge, will absolutely flock to Cuba when the old man goes.   It's like everyone has been waiting for a hot new place to go to; looking for the next place to have a vacation home.   You know, no one, absolutely no one is going to be able to compete with Cuba.   Those people understand service and they understand North Americans.   And the moment they start to do it, the moment that Cuba opens its doors, look out! That's it! Bye Bye Costa Rica property sales!   Why in the world would anyone in their right mind come here and destroy themselves on these roads when they could go to Cuba and get magnificent beaches and excellent roads ...for god's sake!   Fidel dies, and within a month, real estate dies in Costa Rica...You are going to die here....! You just watch!"

I can't help it, I get defensive.   "You seem to forget that there are a thousand white-sand island paradises in the Caribbean and the South Pacific, not even talking about Mexico and Hawaii.   And they are all competing for the same dreamers. The same cold climate escapees, the same blanched white office workers who think they just need a taste of the tropics to become reinvigorated so they can be returned bronzed and ready for the marketplace. All they need is a nice income-producing vacation home to escape to here and all will be perfect! All of those brochures are identical: talcum powder white sand, turquoise transparent water, laughing bikinis and cute little drinks with miniature pink umbrellas and floating pieces of dyed pineapple.   Uh uh. Costa Rica will never have any of those things, never will have Cancun's beaches, Tahiti's food, or even Arruba's hotels.   Never never never!   But those places will never never have Costa Rica's national parks; will never have this place's flora and fauna; and those places will never have Costa Ricans.   Costa Ricans , remember?   That's the real difference between here and Cuba. Tell me how many countries you know of where the local people actually like gringos.   Costa Rica is probably the only place left in the world where the local people make gringos feel as though they are appreciated for something other than their dollars."

"Oh, sure!" says the real estate agent from L.A. "I'm surrrre the average gringo looking for property in Costa Rica would much prefer sitting on the beaches here than they would be sunning themselves on the beaches of perfect, immaculate Havana Bay, and being waited on by attentive, deferential Cubans. I am surrrrrrrre!"

I laugh with them, chuckle at the volume of their opinions, their bantering dramatic arguments.   I know that no one person has the answers, that none of us knows, finally, what is right and wrong for Costa Rica.  

Listening to them, laughing at our good-natured argument, I remember the preacher in Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath who has abandoned his faith and who finds himself in an argument about the goodness and badness of people:   "The hell with it!   There ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue.   There's just stuff people do.   It's all part of the same thing.   And some of the things folks do is nice, and some ain't nice, but that's as far as any man got a right to say!"

Maybe that's it. We who live and work here, and who love Costa Rica, and the searchers for that "just right property" love to talk about it:   the questionable nature of all these foreigners arriving here, on a collision course with the singular vibrant beauty of Costa Rica.   But its really just stuff people do.

Harvey Haber


Home Building Site
Grecia
North Central Valley

Grecia is considered by many to be the ideal Central Valley location. Wonderfully rural, the best weather, gloriously green, and close to both the capital city and the international airport, as well as the Pacific coast beaches.

Referred to as the cleanest town in Latin America. Great shopping. All the amenities. Grecia is to San Jose as Connecticut is to New York City…

This property is 1588 sq meters, or slightly under a half acre. Water, telephone, cable TV and high speed cable internet access.

Recently planted grass, and lemon, mango, grapefruit, and avocado trees.

Asking price: $69,000
50% down, owner carries balance for 7 years.


Three-BedroomHouse
Escazu
Central Valley

This nice 2-storey house is located in the Guacheplin section of Escazu, making it convenient to all of the amenities of this famed international area.

2,750 sq ft. In a private residential community with 24-hour security.

Multi-level social area. Living-dining room, servant’s quarters, laundry room, storage area. On the second floor is the family area with 3 bedrooms. The master bathroom has a Jacuzzi. Separate office or entertainment room. Two-car garage. Gardens. And all very nicely done.

All of this for only $190,000.


Three-Bedroom Condo
Pozos de Santa Ana
Central Valley

Exceptionally tranquil area. Swimming pool, Jacuzzi, lovely view of the verdant mountains nearby. Fruit trees, an herb garden. Very near the best shopping and all of the amenities – the best international schools, the largest mall in Central America.

Over 2200 sq feet of very high quality construction.

Only $140,000


Bed & Breakfast
Carrillo Beach
Guanacaste
North Pacific

Located just 300 yards from magnificent Carrillo beach, with over 3250 sq feet, this Mediterranean style B and B was built in 2000 with North American standards, and is currently managed by the original owners. Beautifully
done, and maintained, the hotel has 7 individual rooms with private baths to accommodate 2,3,4 or 5 occupants each.

This property comes with a very attractive owners apartment with two bedrooms and two balconies – one overlooking the courtyard and the other looking towards the mountains. Additionally the owner's apartment includes a small office, fully equipped kitchen, and living area.

The owners are willing to provide on-sight training. This is a turn-key business with all marketing in place, a profitable restaurant (seating for 36), four employees, owner’s quarters and room for expansion (up to seven more units on second floor, plans to build expansion units already approved
at a cost of US$ 50K).

All of this, and fully operational, for $690,000


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