Costa Rica Blog

Advice from an expert in retirement property in Costa Rica

Posted by Steve Linder on Tue, Feb, 28, 2012

I thought after writing this response to someone who has emailed me from our website that many of our readers and owners might enjoy reading this:

Here is an email I received today and my comments below.

I just bought a 50 ft x 200 ft building lot in a fully gated and functioning community for $15,000 (with water and hydro already at the lot). How can you possibly justify the prices you are charging for lots? I'd hate to see the home prices.. LOL

Here are my comments:

I am glad you are happy with your purchase.  With a quick search of the net I can see that you are a Canadian born in the 1940’s who has been to Costa Rica four times.  I also see you have been quite vocal about your opinion on a number of blogs, youtube and facebook based on your user name and email you sent me.

Without additional information about what you bought versus what we sell, it is hard to make a comparison.  Are you aware of the difference between property zoned “Finca zoning”  versus “En Condominio” zoning in Costa Rica.  Or water endorsed by AYA, the public utility for water?  Was the flow rate, water quality and capacity of the system certified sufficient to support the number of potential homes in the subdivision?  abandoned highrise Costa Rica

 Here is a failed high rise in Jaco Beach...

Are there deed restrictions, covenants or building restrictions?  Have you seen what happens ten years after you bought your property in a “private” gated community that you and the XX number of owners are now responsible for maintaining.  Did you realize that the minute a gate is put around a development, it is no longer a municipal road, subject to any municipal standards or maintained by the municipality?  Are you paying the closing costs?  Is it being sold to you in an SA (sociedad anonima).  Did you need to hire an attorney at closing?  Is it lien free and recorded in the public registry?  

Failed Condo Hotel Costa RicaDo you know what parcela minima means?  Have you ever left your property unattended in a small community?   Does your community offer property management, rental management, file your taxes on your behalf each year, file your annual corporate report, keep your lot clear and buildable on your behalf, have attorneys to help you with residency, help you open a bank account?  Do you have building services offered through the developer or do you have to find  your own builder, get permits, engineering, sub contractors on your own.  


Failed Sonesta Condo Hotel Project Jaco Beach

Do you have a time limit, can you build your own home if you want?   Is your developer/builder debt free?  Have you heard of Paragon Properties Costa Rica, Paradigma Properties, Dominical Hills, Hacienda Matapalo or any of the many other failed developments?  Perhaps you should check out this posting on the Tico Times blog and read the reader comments as well. 

snake oilI am surprised that with your experience in your 4 trips from Canada you did not mention where you had purchased.  You no doubt compared all the rest of the costs in the equation, the HOA fees, any restrictions, who makes up your community, etc.  I suppose you think any 18 x 15 hotel room is comparable simply based on area and the fact that there is a faucet and a bed?  How many people are contributing to run your gate in your gated community (at what cost per owner) and what sort of community support do you have.  What is the carrying cost of your bargain property.  Would your wife want to live there when the entire community is potentially composed of no one else?  Is there a community at all?  Land is cheap in Haiti, does that make it a bargain too?  Do you realize we are the largest residential development in the entire country of Costa Rica, I suppose therefore everyone in our development knows less than you do ….   Did you know that Banco Popular has a complete website devoted to bank owned listings in Costa Rica, many in developments with hydro, electric, etc and many of those lots are both larger than you mention and less expensive as well.  I would be happy to hear your comments.

Tags: Real Estate Fraud, Failed development Costa Rica, retirement property Costa Rica, Hacienda Matapalo, Paragon properties Costa Rica, Paradigma Costa Rica