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Will Costa Rica real estate be affected by closing down of foreign industries?
04/17/2014 03:37 PM

by Ivo Henfling for the Easy Times

Will Costa Rica real estate be affected by closing down of foreign industries?Just before the Costa Rica elections 2014, the rumor of INTEL leaving the country to move operations to Asia has hit the newspapers and opinions are all over the news. None of these opinions are real estate related and as an expert on Costa Rica real estate, I feel my opinion should be published so our clients understand what can be expected to happen.

The day after the elections, Intel’s decision was reported to be final, eliminating more than 1,500 jobs and some other companies are following.  Intel was ex-President Jose María Figueres flagship during his administration when Intel decided to open a factory in 1997, the beginning of many other North American manufacturers and call centers getting installed in Costa Rica.

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Make your Costa Rica house for sale look good before putting it on the market
04/14/2014 03:45 PM

by John “Jdub” Wieland for The Easy Times

Make your Costa Rica house for sale look goodIt is important for sellers of a Costa Rica house for sale, to know how to sell their properties at a good price. To receive a good price, it is important to have a good looking and showable property. You must be thinking that your property is undoubtedly good, but does it look showable? However, I would like to clarify here that my definition of good looking property in Costa Rica is pretty different from others.

Costa Rica is covered with canopies of dense rainforests. Though, it rains heavily in Costa Rica and lots of dust enters houses because of the jungle surrounding it and it is important to note that the buyers who are seeking to buy a property in Costa rica will not pay attention to any excuses for the lack of cleaning.

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I have my Michigan real estate license, is it valid for Costa Rica?
04/08/2014 10:51 AM

by Ivo Henfling for the Easy Times

Real estate licensing is not obligatory in Costa Rica and even a bartender can sell homes.I have my real estate license in Michigan, so I know what I’m doing”. I’m sorry but you don’t, at least not in Costa Rica. The US doesn’t have a nationwide real estate license either and Costa Rica is another country with a different language and very different rules. Real estate licensing is not obligatory in Costa Rica and even a bartender can sell homes.

Why did I pick Michigan as an example? Because we get a lot of people from Michigan moving to Costa Rica because the winters are so harsh and because there is no reciprocity between Michigan and any other states for getting a real estate license. All applicants must meet the full Michigan requirements.

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Costa Rica Real Estate Requirements for International Buyers
03/31/2014 05:09 PM

by Ivo Henfling for the Easy Times

Costa Rica Real Estate Requirements for International BuyersOne out of every 20 emails I receive from Costa Rica real estate buyers carries a question somewhere along the line of “Could you please send me the requirements for international buyers please”?  

Ownership of private property is regulated by the constitution of Costa Rica. Non-residents of Costa Rica have the exact same rights as any Costarican citizen or resident to purchase and own Costa Rica real estate and there are no restrictions except for property located in the Maritime Terrestrial Zone (Zona Maritima Terrestre or ZMT).

A foreigner or a foreign resident can only own up to 49% of the concession rights for a Concession Property within the Maritime Terrestrial Zone.  The ZMT is limited to the area 200 meters from the median high tide line. 

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Dominical Beach has Something for Everyone
03/31/2014 03:12 PM

by John "Jdub" Wieland for the Easy Times

Dominical Beach has Something for EveryoneFor prospective travelers looking for the ultimate in tropical bliss and value, Dominical in Costa Rica seems to have cornered the market. If you have not already made the trip to this tropical oasis, there is a good chance that someone you know has.

Before you start looking to purchase Dominical real estate, wouldn’t you like to be aware of everything Dominical has to offer? Between the rain forests, pristine beaches, delicious foods, eco-resorts, and the ability to zip-line above a lush jungle canopy, Dominical has it all.

While Costa Rica has certainly developed a reputation recently for being a thrill haven for those who are not faint of heart, the truth of the matter is that this beautiful paradise can be just as relaxing as it can be exhilarating.

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Costa Rica strip mall trend fueled by convenience stores
03/25/2014 03:28 PM

by Ivo Henfling for the Easy Times

Costa Rica is catching up with the rat raceCosta Rica is catching up with the rat race up north, mostly in the high density areas of the Central Valley. Small rural towns from yesteryear like Escazu, Santa Ana and Curridabat turned into busy suburbia. Bad city planning with no space left to build new roads make traffic jams a daily routine.

A few years ago, it was customary that only the head of the family would work and the other half would take care of the housekeeping and the children. This happened 30 – 40 years ago in Europe and the United States and is happening now in Costa Rica.

Today, a two-income family is a normal sight in Costarican society, fueled by a high education in Costa Rica.

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Can a non-resident or perpetual tourist renew a driver’s license now?
03/25/2014 01:33 PM

by Ivo Henfling for the Easy Times

Can a non-resident or perpetual tourist renew a drivers license now?In the past, just about anyone (residents and non-residents alike) could get a driver’s license in Costa Rica.  But, last year, the government announced that new driver’s licenses would be granted to foreigners ONLY after they have obtained legal residency.  And it appears that even those who have applied for residency, but are still waiting for approval, will not be granted a new license until they receive their cédula de residencia.

So, if the residency process takes a while, they will still need to leave the country to renew their tourist visas – typically every 90 days, depending on the country they’re from. This is the only possible way to continue to drive legally by using a driver’s license from their home country, which is valid in Costa Rica only in combination with an up-to-date tourist visa.

If you have applied for residency and you need to apply for a Costarican driver's license for the first time, click to read another blog about the issue.

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Can I have a pet in Costa Rica condos for sale or for rent?
03/17/2014 05:49 PM

by Ivo Henfling for the Easy Times

Can I have a pet in Costa Rica condos for sale or for rent?If you are in the market to purchase or rent a Costa Rica condo and you have a pet, you should tell the realtor what kind of pet you have before looking at properties. The realtor, when listing the condo for sale or for rent, should get that specific information from the seller, which in many cases is not done. You don’t want to look at a Costa Rica condo for sale, fall in love with it and then find out you cannot bring your pet. Or put down the security deposit to rent a condo and then find out you are not allowed to bring your pet.

If you have pets, they are probably as important to you as any other family member, so what can you do to make absolutely sure your pets are allowed and not find out there is a prohibition in the condominium bylaws until it is too late?

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Pavones Costa Rica, The Next Wave
03/10/2014 04:07 PM

by John “Jdub” Wieland for The Easy Times

Pavones Costa Rica, the Next WaveSo you already know about Pavones and it being ranked as the #2 longest “left” wave in the world.  But what if you are not a surfer – why would you care?  I mean, many of you most likely heard that Pavones it is at the “end of the road” in Costa Rica.  Well… it is time for you to take another look and get educated on what is really going on “down” in Pavones.  It is a very special place.

Pavones is only thirty minutes north of the Panama border, and a short 2 1/2 hours south of Dominical.  Ten years ago Pavones used to be a struggle to get to, but Costa Rica has changed right before our eyes.  Though the roads are still dirt, we are seeing more pavement each year which is bridging the gap closer and closer.  AND, high speed internet is now available along with a slew of new investment in the Pavones real estate area.

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I am sorry, Costa Rica rentals might not include appliances
03/09/2014 01:52 PM

by Ivo Henfling for the Easy Times

I am sorry, Costa Rica rentals might not include appliancesWhen you rent a home or condo in Costa Rica, you might assume the home appliances will be included. They probably are not, unless you rent a furnished and equipped home. If you are interested in knowing more about renting with and without home appliances in Costa Rica rentals, you can ask a knowledgeable realtor or just read on.

In some countries, it is quite customary that the home appliances come with the home for rent, in Costa Rica they generally don’t. Home appliances in Costa Rica pay heavy import duty and are much more expensive than what you might be used to, the reason for most landlords not to include them. Kitchen appliances are amongst the highest taxed import articles in Costa Rica. An imported stove pays 80%, refrigerators 68% while microwaves, washers and dryers pay 49% import taxes. All appliances also pay a 13% sales tax. By shipping your own household goods to Costa Rica and bringing you used home appliances, you will be saving some money.

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