Costa Rica Blogs by Expats

More tips on how to turn your home into a successful Costa Rica vacation rental

More tips on how to turn your home into a successful Costa Rica vacation rentalLast week, I published the first 3 tips to how to turn your Costa Rica house into a vacation rental. My wife and I have purchased a house in Costa Rica before we are ready to retire and we are trying to cover the cost of the maintenance of the property by renting the property as a vacation rental while we are absent owners. 

The following tips might be useful to you as they help us a lot to get ahead in the game of Costa Rica vacation rentals and generate some nice rental income.

4    Don’t try to do it all at once

Be flexible and willing to think outside the box. I remember when we started to rent, how big a task it seemed. What would we do if...? There are so many things that “could” go wrong...and we were thousands of miles away. In the beginning, we had only our housekeeper, who was recommended by our developer, who also still lived in the development. We relied completely on our developer and his very helpful wife to act as a go-between in dealing with our property.

Turn your Costa Rica house into a vacation rental successfully

Costa Rica vacation rental tips and ideasIn this blog, and another one next week, I will provide some tips which may assist you to increase your success rate if your intent is to purchase a property to rent out part or all of the time. This is based on my own specific experience, from purchasing a house and small acreage in Costa Rica, which we visit for a couple of weeks once or twice a year, and otherwise make available to rent.

Therefore, it is not meant to be all-inclusive vacation rental. Some of these tips may overlap, but for completeness, I will include them all (in no particular order of importance). Today, I'll will publish the first three that I came up with and will do the rest next week.

1.    Make contacts with Ticos 

Don’t restrict yourself to the expat community. On our last visit, my wife and I arrived at our house to find that the water was not working. I had no idea what the problem was. As we pondered the situation, the guard from the guard-house arrived on his 4-wheeler, since he had been told we came through the gate, and wanted to come and greet us. (Keep in mind this was on a Saturday, as I relate the rest of the story).

Free Que Pasa Website Serving Grecia and Sarchi Communities

Grecia, Alajuela, August 28, 2014

Grecia Que Pasa ?With eight months under its belt, Que Pasa, the free-membership community information website serving the English-speaking residents of greater Grecia and Sarchi, announced two major changes for its subscribers.

First, Que Pasa has added a private-access, subscribers-only Answer Page on Facebook. “We felt that as a no-cost community information website serving English-speaking residents of greater Grecia and Sarchi, many of our subscribers could benefit from the local knowledge of other subscribers who have lived in the area a little longer,” said Debi Gedling, Que Pasa editor and co-founder.

“We hoped that newer members of our Que Pasa web community would not have to re-invent the wheel anytime they encountered an obstacle that more-seasoned subscribers may have previously overcome.” Subscribers will now be able to post questions on the members-only Que Pasa Answer Page on Facebook. Other members can offer answers and solutions to the question and the “asker” will be notified by email when an answer to their question is posted.   

The reasons Pablo bought property in Atenas Costa Rica

PABLO R. | AUGUST 15, 2014

The reasons Pablo bought property in Atenas - Costa RicaWalt Disney said that “dreams really do come true.”  Now we believe it – or at least we are starting to.

Ten years ago, Katya and I first visited Costa Rica.  We stayed on the Nosara peninsula, visited Arenal and spent some time in an eco-lodge on the Osa peninsula.  We also made a huge mistake – we saw a piece of land near Nosara for sale and decided … not to do anything.  Talk about bad decisions – even if we had done nothing but hold the property and resell it we would have made a mint.  

So when we saw some land here in Costa Rica this past January we didn’t hesitate – and now we are proud owners of property in Atenas, Costa Rica.  Over the coming year we will design a house, break ground, and, in 18 months, move to Costa Rica and have a new place to live.  When it’s done, we plan to spend most of the winter in Costa Rica and parts of summer as well while spending Spring and Fall back with family in the States.

Why is MacGyvering a must in Costa Rica?

Why is McGyvering a must in Costa Rica?In this blog, I’d like to recount an experience I had recently that is indicative of the way you’ll find product availability in this country. My story is about buying lumber. It is not particularly important taken at its face, but it exemplifies why “MacGyvering” is so prevalent, even a way of life here, why you may sometimes wonder why Ticos are resigned to settling for the second-best solution and, perhaps, why Costa Ricans can be counted among the world’s most patient people.

If you were to buy wood for a project in North America, you’d most likely head to the lumberyard or big box building materials store. There you would find a wide selection of all kinds, sizes and lengths of lumber. Except for EPA, there aren’t many big box stores in Costa Rica and the local ferreterias will typically have even fewer choices, some carry no lumber at all.

How to obtain your Costa Rica driver's license when having a residency ID

TICONUEVO | JULY 25, 2014

How to obtain your Costarican driver's license

Nearly all obstacles to our residency in Costa Rica are in the rear-view mirror except for the matter of getting our Costa Rican driver’s licenses. If you have a current/valid driver’s license from your home state or province, this should be one of the easiest items to tick off your list, but Costa Rica’s bureaucracy has one more little gotcha’ in store.
 
It’s probably another case of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing. The latest policy in effect at COSEVI, Costa Rica’s department of motor vehicles, states that Costa Rican driver’s licenses cannot be issued until one has their cedula de residencia and their 90-day entry visa has expired.
 
There is no logical reason, I can see, behind making you wait until, at least, the 91st day before allowing you to get your license.

Low cost of labor makes it affordable in Costa Rica

Low labor cost makes it affordable in Costa RicaIn this blog, I will cover some specific examples of shopping for items and services that are inexpensive by comparison between Costa Rica and North America. Pretty much every inexpensive good or service mentioned in this blog is a result of Costa Rica having such a low cost of labor. There are many more solutions that involve a high percentage of labor compared with a smaller percentage of raw materials; putting the resulting cost below that of getting it made or repaired farther up North.

In the States, we always wished that we could afford a housekeeper. We just never could find a way to fit it into our budget, even if only twice a month. Here we are retired in Costa Rica and it wouldn’t it be nice to finally be able to give my wife and me a break, eliminate the sweat and drudgery, and free up our time for more creative and productive endeavors—well, we can and do. Not just twice a month, but Kathy comes every week for a monthly expense of less than one domestic helper’s visit in the States.

Shopping for new and used clothing in Costa Rica

TICONUEVO | JUNE 26, 2014

Shopping for clothing in Costa RicaIn this blog, I will cover shopping for new and used clothing as well as leather. Some of those are inexpensive by comparison between Costa Rica and North America. Pretty much every inexpensive good or service mentioned in this blog is a result of Costa Rica having such a low cost of labor.

There are many more solutions that involve a high percentage of labor compared with a smaller percentage of raw materials; putting the resulting cost below that of getting it made or repaired farther up North.

While I believe that there are few, if any, leather tanning facilities Costa Rica, factory made and handmade leather goods can be very affordable when compared to comparable leather items in the States. I had custom-fitted western-style leather boots handmade, which included decorative stitching plus clones of my prescription orthopedics. My wife had custom-fitted leather boots handmade with decorative leather lacing and decorative stitching. Each pair cost us $175.00. Similar custom boots, if you could even find handmade boots, would easily double or triple in cost in North America.

The cost of home and car ownership in Costa Rica

TICONUEVO | JUNE 14, 2014

The Cost of Ownership in Costa RicaLet’s continue last week’s discussion of bargains: inexpensive and/or plentiful things you’ll discover in Costa Rica.

Our last utility to mention is water. It is delivered to us from the local municipality and is just a whole lot less expensive than in the States.

We had to water our acre like crazy during the dry season this year to give the recently planted landscaping a chance to take root and our bill was “outrageously high” (around $60 a month), but I know folks in our town that pay on an average of about $8.00 a month all year long.

In summary, utilities by and large are less costly than in North America.

Discover inexpensive things in Costa Rica

TICONUEVO | JUNE 4, 2014

Discover inexpensive things in Costa RicaI’ve been spending a lot of time and ink in the last four blogs talking about and giving advice on expensive or hard-to-find articles in Costa Rica. On the positive side, I’d like to spend a couple of blogs on inexpensive and/or plentiful things you’ll discover here.

Available housing suitable to gringo tastes in Costa Rica may not be abundant, but housing and buildable lot prices are quite affordable, when compared to comparable homes and lots in North America. Building lots are plentiful and if you are comfy with Tico housing or are willing to upgrade to gringo standards, they are plentiful.

The primary reason that housing in Costa Rica is comparably inexpensive leads into my next affordable commodity—labor. All types of construction, repair and service labor is, perhaps, 4 to 6 times cheaper than in the U.S. Housekeeping services generally go in the $2.00 to $4.00/hour range (depending mostly on the neighborhood and the provider’s proficiency skills).

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