Before Buying Your New Home In Costa Rica Here Are Some Things You Should Consider Along The Way
By Brad Butlerby Brad Butler
1.) Location?location?location?when choosing an area one must consider their needs and do a little homework to make certain that the chosen area will fulfill their wants and needs. Ask your Emerald Forest agent their suggestions as most of us have seen the good, the bad and the ugly of our country and can help you immensely in guiding you to the perfect area. Once there, you will know if it feels right for you and if you made a connection.
2.) Remoteness breeds confusion and unhappiness. Humans are social creatures and need stimulation from like minded humans. To dream seclusion is one thing but to actually live it is quiet another. I can speak from experience as I came to Costa Rica and immediately was overtaken with Costa Rican fever! I purchased in an area that had Scarlet Macaws flying free past my home each day. However, it was two hours drive to the nearest hole in the wall, called a food store. Nothing in that so called store resembled anything I had ever seen much less eaten! Soon I was alone and did not speak a great deal of Spanish. I started to have conversations with myself and at that moment I knew I had chosen unwisely. I now reside in Heredia Hills around many North Americans and Europeans. I attend cookouts, art classes, pottery classes and more. I am two hours from Jaco beach and no more than 30 minutes to the new International Mall offering great shopping and fine restaurants. All of these were things I left behind and thought I would never ever want to deal with again, but the reality was, I needed stimulation. I also have a farm in Ciudad Quesada, in the San Carlos region, and it is just 7 minutes from my gate to my downtown office, yet I feel as if I am in the country. Ciudad Quesada is the largest city in the region and has everything you could want of need.
3.) Weather and Costa Rica?s micro climates. Be sure to ask your (potential neighbors to be), just how the weather is in that region year round. When I compulsively bought my first home it was lush and green. Then the dry season came and the ground dried up and there were huge cracks in the yard that led to China. There was such a water shortage in this area that I could not water, and my beautiful yard went to pot. December is a beautiful month but remember the trade winds cross shortly after and there are gusts of winds that cross the country. It is important to note that mountain tops get the gust more than the lower areas! Ask questions that is what we are all for and we are glad to answer them. All of the Emerald Forest Agents are seasoned and have lived here long enough to accurately guide you to the pleasant spots here in Costa Rica.
4.) Medical in Costa Rica is some of the finest. I have had two heart attacks here in Costa Rica and have had first class care all the way. If you have specific medical needs then you need to be sure you are near a facility that makes you comfortable; and that is no more than 30 minutes from your new home. Most medical professionals speak English so communication is not often a problem. Most all have studied in the United States, or Europe so they speak good English, French, German and many other languages.
5.) Shopping and dining are things to consider. As Malls have taken hold here in Costa Rica you will not have trouble finding good International Shopping and fine cuisine. Ask your agent where the closest shopping is to that area you have taken a like to. Many books talk about the terrible food in Costa Rica, I could not disagree more. Many come here and eat a plate of rice and beans and go back to complain about the food. That is unfair and shows how little time that they spent here before writing such ridiculous articles and making such untrue statments. I have my favorite Italian restaurants, grand bistros, great Mexican, and out of this world Peruvian. Now over 7 years here I have yet to have a bad meal and I have been told that I am a bit picky when it comes to food!
6.) Bank services vary differently so be sure to choose one that meets your banking needs. Out of our 22 agents throughout the country, one of the will have the bank for you to go visit and test the water. National banks will offer most all the services that you are accustomed to. Many retirees have their checks direct deposited into their U.S. accounts and just draw out what they need from the ATM here in Costa Rica.
7.) Airports are often a consideration, as I have friends and family coming in to see me regularly. Alajuela/San Jose International, (SJO) serves the central valley and surrounding areas. Liberia International serves the Guanacaste and the Pacific beach area. San Carlos also has a new airport in the making, so you have jet service to three of the most beautiful and popular regions in the entire country of Costa Rica.
8.) Internet service is growing at a rapid rate. Many of us here in the central valley have high speed, or RDSI which is a connection of 128.0 KBPS. This service has now spread too many regions within a two hour drive from the central valley. Be sure to ask your agent what type of service you will have in your area. If you work on line then dial up will possibly not work for you.
9.) Utilities are the first thing that you ask about when purchasing raw land. Ask your agent to take you to the nearest municipality and see first hand if you have water and electric to your property and just how hard it is to access it. Never assume anything when it comes to utilities. Telephone service can often take up to one year to be installed in remote areas. There are some new fast developing areas that are experiencing the very same thing. If you need a phone make sure the phone stays with your new purchase.
10.) Roads are improving daily. In my 7 years in Costa Rica, I have seen disastrous so called roads turn into new paved highways. If you are looking in an area with bad roads it is wise to meet with the local people and hear what they have to say. Often a year means two and often three. Make sure that you can live with the current roads first. If you can then possibly a year or two will not make much of a difference to you.
11.) If you wish to purchase property and intend to build, talk to Emerald Forest Properties first. Owners Brad Butler and Roy Quiros know first hand what goes into building. They built two homes in 2006 and have the secrets under their belts for a smooth construction. For a list of things to do and things not to do please contact us. Emerald Forest Properties will gladly guide you in the right direction. A reliable builder is a must! Make sure it is possible to obtain a building permit for you?re your new project, never assume anything. It is wise to have your agent work for you and take you to the necessary institutions to find out for sure. Know the zoning laws and building codes before embarking on your new adventure in building.
12.) Infrastructure is oftentimes not up to standards. Costa Rica is growing leaps and bounds and there are often problems that result from poor planning. The first thing I bought when I came to Costa Rica was a generator. Now I rarely witness a power outage however, I have friends in other areas that do. Know these areas, ask questions. Water can be a problem at the beaches so ask what kind of water system is in place and is it effective in serving your new community.
13.) Schools if you have children are a concern. Emerald Forest Properties has a list of private and International schools to serve you. Many do not offer a curriculum that is transferable to a credited college so it is important to know the ones that do. Our trained professionals here at Emerald Forest Properties have the knowledge to serve you in all these areas and are to direct you to your new paradise.
14.) If you have hobbies make sure that the supplies are here in Costa Rica before coming down. If you are a potter you may wish to ship your potter?s wheel. If you are a wood carver you may wish to buy good carving tools and have an extra set on hand. Most things are available but it never hurts to check into it before coming down to set up housekeeping.
15.) Good deals are not good deals if the living conditions are hellish. Know your areas of interest and have your agent do the foot work for you. Head off a lot of headache and heartache from the start use your Emerald Forest Properties agent to scout out your areas of interest and give you a detailed report. Your home is possibly one of the largest investments you will ever make in your life. We cannot stress enough how important it is to use Real Estate Professionals to guide, guard and direct you in you new purchase.
16.) Finding a job in Costa Rica may often be a challenge. This is a new country with many needs so if you have the resources to open a new needed service then you will not fail. Do not come to Costa Rica thinking there is an abundance of jobs, there is not. Be creative and set up shop appropriately and you will love your new journey.
17.) Crime here is no different than any other place in the world. We have much less violent crimes than that of any Central American country. People ask me all the time about crime. I tell them that I do not go to New York to Broadway to a musical and then walk the streets of Harlem after the show. San Jose has its share of drug areas just as any city. Know these areas and stay away. These are areas that offer nothing of interest and you would not have any reason to go there anyway. Street smarts work here the same way that they do in any big city. Out of the city there is petty crimes but nothing we all did not have in the United States, just less of it.
18.) Real-estate is NOT conducted in the same fashion it is in the United States even through the franchises you are familure with. One of the largest scams that has ever hit this country was conducted through one of the most visible real-estate franchises in the Untied States. Rules that protect you there do not apply here! Use real-estate professionals, you will know and can feel if your choice is working for you. If you feel uncomfortable, your mind is warning you that the firm you have chosen is not working for you and you need to move on.
19.) Costa Rica isn?t for everyone but I can personally attest to the fact it has worked for me. I can?t even imagine living anywhere else. The climate is perfect; the Costa Rican?s are so warm and friendly. The country is filled with exotic flora and fauna. There is not another place on this grand earth that can offer you so much richness in your life. You can take my word or come see for yourself, Costa Rica awaits you!