Ivo Henfling's blog

Can you pitch a lowball offer when you need owner financing?

Can you pitch a lowball offer when you need owner financing?Cash is king, but you already knew that, I’m sure. If you are looking for an incredible good deal, you better bring cash if you want the seller of a property in Costa Rica to even think about accepting a lowball offer. Of course, if you are looking for owner financing your lowball offer will be an uphill battle.

Financing of a home purchase is so simple almost anywhere in the world. It’s really a serious pain that banks in Costa Rica do not finance a mortgage to non-residents. You cannot even get a bridge loan from a bank here. Most private lender financing starts at 12% and it is difficult to find any lenders willing to finance a mortgage a property outside the Central Valley.

So what do you do when you want to buy a house in Costa Rica before you have sold your house in New Jersey? A great option can be owner financing. But can you get that great deal you’re looking for? Let’s have a look at a scenario that will show your options.


Can I use my cell phone in Costa Rica while traveling?

Can I use my cell phone in Costa Rica while traveling?Wondering if you can use your cell phone in Costa Rica when traveling? You need to be able to stay in touch with your family back home while having a good time, right? 

You live in Costa Rica and you have family and friends coming to visit all the time? Of course they want to know how to be able to use their cell phone in Costa Rica while visiting you. Now you can just send them the link to this article and they’re all set.

Need Google Maps or Waze to function on your phone? You’d like to pick up your emails while you are traveling? WhatsApp is a lot cheaper to use, as well as FaceTime when you want to talk to your beloved ones. You can now even use Live Video on Facebook and share them with your Facebook friends. So having internet access on your phone is probably very important to you.

Why do Ticos talk about the mother of Tarzan?

Why do Ticos talk about the mother of Tarzan?You don’t want to be called The Mother of Tarzan in Costa Rica, you know why? In the past, I have been telling you about certain slang words used in Costa Rica, to give you the opportunity to go a little bit native when you move here.  

Learn the way of the local people and you’ll feel at home in no time! Today’s turn is to explain more about Tarzan’s mother.

Generally Ticos are very humble people, but they are also proud people. They like to be treated correctly. I already told you in another blog why you should treat them well.

Once in a while though, you will meet one who thinks he or she is the mother of Tarzan. You’ll also find many expats who think they are the mother of Tarzan, a wrong behavior when you're a guest in a country. Ticos generally don’t like foreigners to behave like the mother of Tarzan.


How to select a Costa Rica real estate closing attorney

How to select a Costa Rica real estate closing attorney

Isn’t the internet a marvel? You are looking for a Costa Rica real estate closing attorney and you just go to Google and type “Costa Rica real estate closing attorney”. This is what you get:  just short of 5 million results.

That’s worse than trying to find your wife in a full football stadium on a Super bowl and not knowing her seat number, right?  

In Costa Rica, lawyers are obliged to be a member of a bar association, or “Colegio de Abogados”. The Costa Rican bar does not publicly say how many members they have. The La Nación newspaper published an article in 2015 where they state that there are approximately 22,500 lawyers in Costa Rica. 1,300 More lawyers graduate each year. 

This same article states that in the period from November 2014 to April 2015, the College applied the test to 1,126 graduates in Law and only 338 passed the evaluation with more than 80 (minimum grade of the exam). 

Should a couch potato look for a home in Costa Rica?

Should a couch potato look for a home in Costa Rica?

Do you want to become a couch potato? Probably you’re not, because you wouldn’t be reading this article. But maybe your spouse wants to be couch potato? We have the solution for it: move to Costa Rica! Once you take that decision we can assist to look for a home in Costa Rica.

You have worked your butt off for most of your life and you’re sick and tired of getting up every morning, commute to work and come home late at night. Once you’re home, you switch on the TV and become a couch potato. You’re almost retired and would love to do nothing for a while, until you get your energy back again. Once you become a couch potato, it will be really tough to become energetic again. 

I have a much better solution for you: move to another country, start a new life and do something that you will never regret: look for a home in Costa Rica. That will keep you away from that couch for a while. There are several reasons to make it Costa Rica and not somewhere else, let me show you.

Use a self-directed IRA to buy a vacation rental long before retirement

Use a self-directed IRA to buy a vacation rental long before retirement You might not be able to retire for another few years. For sure you have the picture of your dream retirement home tucked away in a corner of your mind. Maybe it looks pretty much like the home in this photo? Did you know you use a self-directed IRA to buy a vacation rental? 

Retirement is years away, maybe even decades. You might not realize you can buy your retirement home in Costa Rica when you’re 25 years from retiring. As long as you have enough money saved up, you can buy a vacation rental with a self-directed IRA, long before retirement. 

Now you can get your foot in the door ahead, without even using your savings. There is a tremendous shortage of vacation rentals in certain markets of the Central Valley in Costa Rica. By making a smart investment you can put your self-directed IRA saving to work with ease.  

If you have a self-directed IRA, you can use that to purchase a vacation rental in Costa Rica.  Let me explain.

Why rent a furnished home in Costa Rica?

Why rent a furnished home in Costa Rica?Moving to Costa Rica can be a huge pain in the butt. Just taking the decision of moving or not is huge for most.

Should you buy real estate? Should you rent first? And if you rent, should you rent a furnished home in Costa Rica? Or would it be better unfurnished? 

Let me help you with that last decision: rent furnished or unfurnished.

You already have decided to rent after moving to Costa Rica. You probably have a reason for doing so, for sure it’s one of these


You are just on vacation. You will be renting a furnished home in Costa Rica as a vacation rental. It is very important that the home is furnished and totally equipped as you will only use it for a short vacation. 

You can find vacation rentals on VRBO, AirBNB, Tripadvisor or ForRentByOwner. You can also rent from a GoDutch Realty agent, where you will be assured of a good treatment.  Vacation rentals can be found on our website as a short term furnished rental.

What is Que Chapa in Costa Rica?

What is que chapa in Costa Rica

The use of slang in Tico Spanish is just as common as it is in any other language. Que chapa is one of those often used words in Tico slang. It would be helpful for you to understand why someone might call you a chapa.

Or maybe when someone is a collector of chapas? What if the old man lost his chapa and can’t find it?

Your move to Costa Rica obliges you to one thing: learn how to communicate with the locals in your community.   

Que chapa

Que chapa can be translated into “what a clutz”. It’s someone who drops things, who falls all the time, who doesn’t watch out and makes mistakes for that reason.  I was like that as a kid, I was a “chapa” most of my life. And I still am sometimes, because I always want to do everything at the same time and don’t concentrate.

In Spanish, being a chapa is being clumsy. If the damage is more serious, that person would become bungling, a dummy, a useless person, a fool, stupid or a moron.

In Spanish, in that same order, it would be more or less chapa, tonto, bruto, inútil, estúpido , imbécil.

The amazing views Grecia properties have

The amazing views Grecia properties have

There are many reasons expats want to live in Grecia. The view Grecia properties have to offer is one of those reasons. They’re amazing, those vistas, in case you didn’t know. 

Vistas means views in English. In the rural areas of Costa Rica, you’ll hear the word “vistadas” used a lot, though it’s bad Spanish.

Just a few years ago, the city of Grecia was unknown to most expats as a nice place to live. Grecia was very much a Tico city but now expats abound. 

The city of Grecia, and its surroundings, is the newest hotspot of Central Valley real estate. A large percentage of the emails we receive from clients are a request for Grecia properties. Brooke, our Grecia agent, put Grecia on the map a few years ago. Her testimonials will show you why everyone wants to live in Grecia now. 

Please crack my neck – the best chiropractor in Costa Rica

Please crack my neck – the best chiropractor in Costa Rica

How did I end up having my neck adjusted by the best chiropractor in Costa Rica? It took me years to find Dr. James D. McLellan in Santa Ana.

Now I visit Dr. Jim (506) 2282-3998 / 8702 -0172 just for maintenance, once in a while. When I don’t forget.

As a kid, I had a pretty bad car accident. Some stupid gene also gave me a long neck at birth. When I’d watch TV for example, I’d have to watch it straight ahead. If the TV was located higher than my head or at an angle it wouldn’t take 5 minutes to get a stiff neck. That stiff neck would turn into headaches and neck problems. I’d have the same problems using hotel pillows when travelling that didn’t give me the support of the Nikken magnetic pillow I use at home.

For years, had been going to several different chiropractor in Costa Rica. Some would adjust one side of my neck and tell me to come back for the other side the next day. Others would tell me to lie down in a relaxed position for 30 minutes before I was attended by the doctor. The adjustment would take 10 seconds and I’d get a nice bill.