Ivo Henfling's blog

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.

How to purchase property in Costa Rica on remote control

How to purchase property in Costa Rica on remote control

Maybe one day it will be necessary for you to purchase property in Costa Rica on remote control.  One good reason is that the wire from your bank, to pay for the property, needs to be in person.

Most banks will not allow you to just put in a phone call or send an email to send the wire. 

Another good reason is that you will want to pack your personal belongings and send them to your new home country. Therefore, it is very well possible that you won’t be in Costa Rica for the real estate closing.

Even if you had expected to purchase property before traveling to Costa Rica, you probably did not know the necessary steps of such a decision. So you think you’re in a limbo, but you’re not. 

Maybe you didn’t know, but it’s not absolutely necessary for you to be in Costa Rica to close on your property. Of course we prefer you’ve seen the property in Costa Rica before you decide to purchase. To my opinion, purchasing a property in another country sight unseen is outright irresponsible. Once you have seen the property, you need to make an offer and go through the purchase process if the offer is accepted by the seller. Are you going to wait in your hotel to go through this process or will your life go on as usual meanwhile?

The best solution to a cracked windshield in Costa Rica

The best solution to a cracked windshield in Costa Rica

Having a cracked windshield in Costa Rica is quite common. Lots of roads in and outside the Central Valley are unpaved. Especially if you are adventurous, you can find yourself driving on some pretty bad roads.  

Also, you will see dump trucks driving without or with a loose cover. No matter how much distance you stay away from one of those dump trucks on the freeway, you’ll see gravel jumping all over the road in front of you. For sure, your windshield will get hit by a couple. And you’ll be lucky if it doesn’t put a nick or chip in your windshield.

Our Ford Escape was hit last year by one of those small rocks and chipped the windshield. Nothing else happened then and we drove around with it for over a year as no more harm was done. Then, of course, bad things happen usually at the wrong time. I saw a small crack in the windshield on Monday morning. 

I called everyone else who uses the car, to find out if it happened recently or not.  Nobody had a clue about the new crack, it just cracked.

What is manda huevo in Costa Rica?

What is manda huevo in Costa Rica?

The translation of huevo in English is egg, but manda huevo is something totally different. When you move to Costa Rica, you will want to communicate with your local neighbors.  In their own language of course, not in yours. They speak Spanish. Spanish is a real easy language to learn, if you make an effort.

Just as every language has its own slang terms, “Ticos” use expressions like “pura vida” and “parado de uñas”. Or they yell “upe” when they are visiting someone. Have you figured out what a chunche and what a chorizo is yet?

Many of those expressions are really difficult to translate as they are the essence of a language. It takes a while to master the essence of a language.  Once you’re able to express yourself with those slang words, you’ll easily gain the trust of the local community. They’ll know immediately that you are one of them, or at least trying to be. Give it a shot; you’ll be surprised how much fun it is.

How to save on your appliance purchase in Costa Rica

How to save on your appliance purchase in Costa Rica​When buying appliances in Costa Rica, you can expect to pay a lot more than what you pay in another country. Fortunately, there is a way you can save a lot on your appliance purchase in Costa Rica: Deposito Libre Comercial Golfito or the Golfito Duty Free Zone.

When you buy a house from GoDutch Realty, it is very well possible the house doesn’t come with the appliances. Also, if you rent unfurnished and long term, you might be interested in saving on your appliance purchase.

The importation of goods into Costa Rica is regulated by the tax authorities and classified by product type. For example, refrigerators not only carry a 42.83% import tax but also a 13% sales tax. It is possible, for a resident or citizen, to make an appliance purchase totally tax free.

To take advantage of a duty free option, you have to go to the Golfito Tax Free Zone. When you move to Costa Rica and you bring appliances in your container with household goods, you will always pay that same tax. So don’t think you can get away from paying the tax by bringing your own.

5 Magic tips for a normal life while selling your house

5 Tips to have a normal life while selling your housePlanning on selling your house or you already have it for sale? I bet you already know that selling a house in Costa Rica can take a while. Some don’t realize that the time that it takes, is really up to the seller. Pricing is usually the reason that a house sells quickly, or not!

As important as the price is the way the house shows. Most homes we show are just a mess, all the time. Buyers see the mess, not the details that could attract them enough to buy the house.

I assume you have already read some of my past articles. In those, I told you about the helpful home owner and my yellow card system. If you have any pets, I’d recommend you get up to date on that too.

If you are selling your house through an open listing, the agent will not come over to tidy up the house to show it. Even though most agents will call ahead to make a showing appointment, you might not have a lot of time to tidy up. I know, it’s a total hassle, but you want to sell, right? So you and your family will need to put in some effort too and cooperate in getting it sold.

And I assume you’d like your life to go on as normal as possible in the process. For that simple reason, I’d like to give you these 5 Tips for a normal life while selling your house:

What is parado de uñas in Costa Rica

What is parado de uñas in Costa RicaIf you really want to go native when living in Costa Rica, you should learn the typical Tico slang that is used by the locals. In other blogs, I have told you about ChunchesUpe and some others. Today’s turn is for "estar parado de uñas".

What is parado de uñas in Costa Rica? The expression “parado de uñas” literally translates into “standing on nails”, which is why I used the image of the nails as a first image in this article.

Parado de uñas really doesn’t translate well and I even had to call in the professional help of Christopher Howard, to help me with the English translation. Christopher is a BA in Latin Studies and speaks Spanish like a Pachuco. I will explain what “pachuco” is in another blog, or you can buy his Oficial Guide to Costa Rican Spanish here.  

Ticos and Ticas have a Latin mindset. Latin people have a different character, they are hot blooded. Because of that, they usually react differently than we do, most of the time quite unsuspected. Much different than Caucasians, Orientals or African Americans are. 

Do not overlook the final walk-through on closing day

Do not overlook the final walk-through on closing dayClosing on a property is usually a pretty nervous occasion. Sellers become desperate to receive their settlement check and buyers want to move in. In the middle is a diligent real estate agent who will lead the way if you are lucky. That’s why we insist on a final walk-through on closing day.

Most parties involved only look at the finish line and forget about all those details that should be taken care of.  It is for example customary to deliver the house on closing in broom clean condition, although that is rarely mentioned in an option to purchase – sale agreement. I have seen houses being a total mess where lamps were removed, boxes all over and garbage everywhere.

I never forget one of the first homes I sold in my real estate career.  A Cuban – American builder and his wife had built a home in Cariari. Open floor plans were very unusual at the time that they would fully furnish with North American imported furniture.  Oswaldo and Maria would live in the house until it sold, rent another one in the neighborhood and build the next one. Is sold the house to a retiree from Huntington Beach – California who was flying in for the closing. Oswaldo and Maria had already moved to their rental home a week before. 

Aguinaldo or Christmas bonus in Costa Rica is obligatory

Aguinaldo or Christmas bonus in Costa Rica is obligatoryIn most countries around the world, employees do not receive any Christmas bonus. Christmas bonus – Aguinaldo in Spanish – is obligatory in Costa Rica. `    

You might not run a business but if you’re an expat living in Costa Rica, you probably have an employee even though you don’t realize you do. The house keeper, cleaning lady, the gardener, or the handy man that comes in regularly for any amount of hours is an employee. The caretaker, who lives on your property, is definitely an employee.

Over the years, I have met expats who think they treat their employee real well. They give them coffee in the morning, lunch and a coke in the afternoon. AND they pay them well, they say. But they really don’t because they don’t pay their employee aguinaldo.

Most employees that work for a family like yours and mine only work for a few hours. Our maid, cleaning lady or housekeeper, whatever you want to call her, is a part-time employee. Her name is Argentina, like the country, but she is originally from Nicaragua. Argentina works in our household only Tuesdays, Wednesday and Fridays, from 8 am – 4 pm.  And Argentina is a legal resident of Costa Rica.

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