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Getting out of a Bum-Period

We all get bummed out from time to time. Little motivation, little energy and very little drive. Well I am no different.

Over the years I have been able to develop a strategy to help get me out of the low periods quicker.

I first try to determine why am I feeling this way and I then try to embrace this low period knowing that this too will pass. After the evaluation, I spring into action. I get doing something – knowing the longer I stay in the present the worst I will be. Bad vibes have a strong tendency of feeding on itself.

Being a realtor, I simply get out and connect with people, nose to nose, toes to toes. I also get on the phone make some calls and drive around the neighborhood. These actions are an incredible booster for building up my confidence and self worth.

Therefore the next time, instead of feeling down for long periods of time, get out and do something. Your spirit will immediately pick up.

Les Nunez
First RealtyCRE, Broker/Owner

Tel:   506 8346 3784
USA: 954 840 4165

Email:
info@firstrealtycre.com

Website:
www.firstrealtycre.com


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Home Inspections in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica the use of a Home Inspector is usually assigned to an Architect or Engineer. These professionals are licensed through C.F.I.A. which is an acronym for the College of Engineers & Architects. However, over the last few years we have seen an increase in good home inspection services from the U.S.A and Canada setting up shop locally especially in the Central Valley. This is a good thing since the procedures the Architects and Engineers use are usually limited to an inspection as per the building code and they can also give you a qualified opinion about the structural integrity of the premises which does not really address all other items a home buyer would need to know in order to make a prudent buying decision.

Home inspections Costa Rica

So how do you go about it? Reliance on a real estate agent’s home inspector is not necessarily a right or wrong decision. Many agents endorse only the best inspectors, while others recommend those with lesser qualifications. Your job is to do your due diligence to guard your own financial interests.

Rather than reject an inspector outright, simply because the referral was made by an agent, you should review the credentials of several home inspectors, including the one suggested by your agent. Then hire the person you feel would represent your interest, with the most experience and the best reputation for thoroughness. Remember no house is totally free of defects. Even the most well-constructed, brand-new home has conditions that warrant correction. In an old home, the suggestion that there is “nothing wrong” is a challenge to ones common sense.

Home inspectors, unless they are also licensed structural engineers, are not qualified to assess structural integrity. Without an engineering degree, an inspector may say that no evidence of foundation damage or building settlement was observed, but definite statements regarding structural soundness are out of bounds for most home inspectors.

As for the two-prong electrical outlets, suicide showers, improperly installed roofs, no grease traps in their kitchens, mold and other pest infestation that are typical in most homes here, they can identify these items for you with sound recommendations to correct them in terms of time and cost. Ungrounded outlets are potentially unsafe. Home inspectors should point these out as items that warrant future upgrade. They know the standards and also know the way the locals build. They also know the building materials the locals use, good and bad.

So what is it you can expect from a home inspector? When considering the purchase of a new house, apartment or condominium in Costa Rica you want to make sure that all building materials and installation procedures have been 100% completed, and all mechanical and electrical installations are functioning correctly, and in accordance with local building codes, prior to closing.

Les Nunez
First RealtyCRE, Broker/Owner

Tel:   506 8346 3784
USA: 954 840 4165

Email:
info@firstrealtycre.com

Website:
www.firstrealtycre.com


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The Costa Rica Legal System Explained

The majority of those persons reading this Article will come from jurisdictions where the Legal System is based on English Common Law; places like Canada (except the Province of Quebec) and the U.S.A. (except the State of Louisiana).

Costa Rica, with its legal roots stemming from Spain, is governed by a Legal System consisting of Civil, or Napoleonic Law.

The two Legal Systems, while addressing the same legal issues, such as Property Law, Family Law, etc., are very different from each other, particularly in the procedural aspects of application.

In Costa Rica, the most significant legal figure is the Notary Public. A Notary Public must first be a licensed Lawyer and then after additional university studies and a minimum of two years of legal practice, be able to apply to be a Notary Public.

All Notaries Public are Lawyers, but not all Lawyers are Notaries Public.

While a Lawyer is able to negotiate contracts, or defend a criminal complaint, only the Notary Public is qualified to draft documentation which will be submitted to the National Registry to transfer title to real property, vehicles, etc., draft a Will, Statutory Declarations, Powers of Attorney, and the like, all of which documentation must be recorded in the Notary’s Deed, or Protocol Book.

These functions are, of course, the preserve of the Lawyer in English Common Law jurisdictions. A Notary is also the figure that has the authority to certify copies of documents and authenticate signatures.

Another major distinction between the two Legal Systems, is that in arguing cases in Court, the reliance on previously decided court cases carries little, if any weight in the decision making in the Civil Law System.

All areas of the law are codified in their particular subject matter (eg. Family Code, Penal Code, etc.) and the Judge hearing a particular case is at liberty to read and interpret a particular Article of the applicable code to the facts at hand, with out being bound by previously decided cases on the same facts, or issue.

This, of course, is completely contrary to the notion of Precedents (Stare Decisis), which is fundamental to the English Common Law System.

When choosing legal counsel in Costa Rica, it would be important to choose a Notary Public, for matters concerning property, or vehicle purchases, incorporations, immigration matters, and the like.

RICHARD (RICK) PHILPS
Telephone:
(506) 2288-4381  Ext.102
Fax: (506) 2228-7094

Email:
rphilps@plawcr.com

Website:
www.plawcr.com


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Purchasing Property In Costa Rica

Purchasing property in Costa Rica requires a higher level of due diligence in order to avoid the pitfalls that are presented. A Purchaser requires the assistance of both a skilled Realtor and Attorney/Notary, in order that the proper inquiry is made prior to any Purchase Agreement being entered into.

As Realtors are not licensed, or regulated by the Government in Costa Rica, it is particularly important that a Purchaser do their due diligence of the Realtor that they choose. There are many good Realtors in Costa Rica, but it is important to choose both a competent Realtor and a Realtor who is knowledgeable in the area of Costa Rica where you intend to buy. No MLS system exists in Costa Rica and the knowledge of listings in a particular area are usually only those personally known to the Realtor that you choose.

Although Attorneys and Notaries are licensed and regulated by their professional bodies, it is equally important to choose an Attorney/Notary who specializes in property purchases. Following the initial negotiations to establish the price and a closing date for the purchase transaction with the Seller, the Attorney/Notary acting for the Purchaser, will prepare the Purchase Agreement setting-out the terms of sale. The Purchaser and Seller will sign this Agreement and the Purchaser will usually pay into escrow with their Attorney/Notary, a deposit of approximately ten percent of the purchase price, to be held subject to various specified contingencies being satisfied, following which the deposit would become firm and non-refundable to the Purchaser.

When purchasing an existing house, or condominium which has been constructed and the property has a registered title in the National Registry, the Attorney/Notary will conduct a Title Search of the property in the National Registry to determine if there are any liens, or other annotations on the property, such as mortgages, which need to be cleared from the tile at closing. In addition, a review of the property Survey Plan will be made. If the Survey Plan exceeds ten years from the date of issue, it is advisable to have a Land Surveyor conduct a check of the property boundaries to determine if there are any irregularities such as encroachments.

When purchasing raw land for building, it is particularly important that the Attorney/Notary conduct additional due diligence, such as obtaining a copy of a Land Use Permit (Uso de Suelo) from the applicable municipality to determine the use to which the land is zoned and to insure that appropriate access to the property may be made from a public road, or that an easement exists connecting the property to a public road. Depending on the type of development being considered, inquires may have to be made of the Government Environmental Agency (SETENA), the Government Housing.

RICHARD (RICK) PHILPS
Telephone:
(506) 2288-4381  Ext.102
Fax: (506) 2228-7094

Email:
rphilps@plawcr.com

Website:
www.plawcr.com


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Rentista Residency Application

The Rentista Residency Category (based on investment income) is of major interest to many persons contemplating moving to live in Costa Rica.

This Category requires the following documentation for each Applicant, which must be issued current within six months of the Application date, as submitted to the Costa Rican Immigration Department:

1. An original Birth Certificate, issued by the State, or Province in which you were born, and authenticated by the Costa Rican Consulate which has jurisdiction. In the case of U.S. citizens, the Certificate must be certified by the Secretary of State.

2. If applying with a spouse, a Marriage Certificate issued in the same manner as paragraph #1.

3. A Criminal Records Search conducted by the police in the jurisdiction where you reside and authenticated by the Costa Rican Consulate.

4. A notarized copy of all pages of your Passport (this can be done by a Costa Rican Notary, which saves the authentication process).

5. A Financial Responsibility Letter from a recognized financial institution indicating a monthly income from investment sources of at least $2,500.00 U.S. per month, notarized and authenticated by the Costa Rican Consulate if issued in a foreign country.

6. Registration with the Embassy of your home country in Costa Rica.

Fingerprinting will also be necessary by the Costa Rican Police and the subscription to the Costa Rican Public Health Insurance, following the grant of Residency.

The documentation will have to be translated into Spanish by a recognized interpreter and formalized into an Application by a Costa Rican Notary, prior to submission to the Immigration Department.

An interesting change to the Application requirements for this Category under the new Regulations to the Law, just published at the end of January, 2011, is that the period for establishing a monthly income of $2,500.00 U.S. per month, has been reduced from a five year to a two year period (Regulation Article 76 e).

This has the effect of reducing the investment funding required for this Residency Category from the previous requirement of a $150,000.00 U.S. funded investment to a $60,000.00 U.S. funded investment. This change will open-up an opportunity for many would-be Applicants that didn’t previously exist.

 

RICHARD (RICK) PHILPS
Telephone:
(506) 2288-4381  Ext.102
Fax: (506) 2228-7094

Email:
rphilps@plawcr.com

Website:
www.plawcr.com


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RRSP Fund Opportunities For Canadians In Costa Rica

With the Canadian Dollar at par, or slightly above its U.S. counter-part, the opportunity for purchasing property as a vacation property and/or retiring to Costa Rica, has never been better.

Property prices are generally down in Costa Rica, due to the world-wide economic slump, but this situation won’t last, with some properties in the Central Valley, already on the rebound.

The interesting aspect of being able to utilize your RRSP funds for such an investment makes the whole idea of proceeding to purchase property in Costa Rica that much more attractive.

You now no longer have to borrow money from a bank, or other financial institution, as an equity loan to make such an investment. You are now able to borrow the money from your RRSP fund account, secured by a mortgage over property that you own in Canada, and pay the interest on the mortgage to your RRSP fund, instead of the bank.

This funding arrangement is able to be set-up through major financial institutions in Canada (Banks, or Trust Companies) and must be administered through an RRSP Plan Trust, on an “arms-length” basis, and with current market mortgage interest rates being applicable.

If the property investment is an income earning investment, rather than for personal use, the interest payments may be deducted from the current year’s income of the RRSP fund holder, free of income tax implications, in the same manner as if the funds had been borrowed from a bank as an equity loan.

This program is detailed more extensively in Revenue Canada Bulletin IT-320R3, available online.

RICHARD (RICK) PHILPS
Telephone:
(506) 2288-4381  Ext.102
Fax: (506) 2228-7094

Email:
rphilps@plawcr.com

Website:
www.plawcr.com


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Costa Rica to Host Global Medical Tourism Conference

Costa Rica, known worldwide for its leadership in ecological preservation, sustainable development and eco-friendly tourism, will lead the world once again as it hosts the 2011 Medical Travel International Business Summit May 2-4, 2011in San José and Guanacaste provinces.

The Summit will begin May 2-3 with a series of roundtable discussions and expert lectures at the Ramada Plaza Herradura Hotel Convention Center in the capitol city of San José. On May 4, conference attendees will travel to the Hilton Papagayo Hotel in the North Pacific province of Guanacaste, where they will participate in medical tourism training workshops, and learn about medical tourism projects in this rapidly growing province.

“While more than 500 attendees have already confirmed for this global conference, we welcome ‘last minute’ registrations from insurance companies, human resource professionals and corporate representatives to discover the incredible opportunities in Latin American medical tourism,” said Massimo Manzi, Executive Director of PROMED.

Why is Medical Tourism Important for Americans?
Currently, 49 million U.S. citizens are not covered by medical insurance and 108 million Americans do not have even basic dental insurance. By 2015, it is estimated that the U.S. will spend 20% of its GNP on medical services, while a staggering 25% of the population will still lack medical insurance.

Medical tourism represents a critical lifeline to uninsured Americans that cannot afford medical care in the U.S, as well as those seeking advanced medical procedures that are not available in U.S hospitals. Medical procedures in many Latin American destinations, including Costa Rica, are routinely one-third the cost of the same procedure in the U.S. Low cost, high quality medical care within a short flight from most major U.S gateways makes medical tourism an important link for those in need of affordable medical procedures and health care.

What Makes Costa Rica a Leader in Medical Tourism?
Costa Rica first gained prominence as a medical hot spot when American citizens began to travel to this popular Central American nation for inexpensive medical procedures… generally 50%-70% less expensive than the same procedures in the US. Medical tourism gained in popularity in Costa Rica as thousands of happy patients returned to the US and spread the word about their high-quality care, English-speaking doctors, and their incredible tropical vacation, all for a fraction of the price of the same procedures in the US. Inexpensive airfares and Costa Rica’s location only 3-6 hours by plane from most major U.S gateways has made Costa Rica one of the top medical tourism destinations for North Americans. In fact, some 30,000 “health & medical tourists” visited Costa Rica in 2009.

The most popular medical tourism procedures are:
• Dentistry (36%)
• Orthopedics, Bariatric & Cardiovascular (22%)
• Cosmetic Procedures (12%)
• General Medical Treatments (14%).

 

 

Enrico Cacciatore
OneCall Costa Rica
Tel. 8399 9642

Email:
info@onecallcostarica.com

Website:
www.onecallcostarica.com


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How do You Get a Piece of the Pie

Fractional Ownership – A new affordable way to own property in Costa Rica.

Fractional Ownership real estate continues its relentless expansion around the world’s most desirable property markets. It has been around a long time, especially in the USA and Canada where it is a multi-billion dollar industry, but most people in Costa Rica are just becoming familiar with this approach to buying and owning property. It is a very simple and cost effective way of owning a second home without all the hassle and cost of running and maintaining it.

Now you can realize your dreams of owning a pied-a-terre in Costa Rica, your condo on the Pacific Beach or your fabulous view property in the Valley. Buying a fantastic, renovated, fully furnished beach house with a swimming pool and steps to the Beach is out of most people’s reach but buying just a few weeks in that property suddenly makes it much more accessible!

Fractional Ownership makes intelligent investment sense since it matches usage with cost and provides a smart option for second home ownership. It is the difference between whole ownership, with its sole responsibility and full exclusive use, and the commonly thought of time-share, where most often, you purchase “vacation time” in a resort, (usually about two-weeks) not in the real-estate itself. And just as savvy investors continue to buy stocks in the global market to balance and strengthen their portfolios, Buyers can now invest in properties that are a strong value in the global real estate world.

How does fractional ownership differ from time shares?

Both the arrangements are known historically as timeshares, and the arrangements now referred to as fractional ownership, fall within the legal definition of a “timeshare” in most U.S. States and Canada. From a strictly legal standpoint, the term “timeshare” refers to any arrangement under which a group of people share use of a property based on time, regardless of whether they own the property and regardless of whether a management company or developer is involved in organizing or operating the property. But from a practical standpoint, there are significant differences between most of the arrangements historically referred to as “timeshares”, and most modern vacation property referred to as “fractional ownership arrangements”.

Put simply, the meaningful difference is the extent of ownership and control given the users of the Property. Modern fractional ownership almost always involves direct ownership, meaning that each user has a deeded interest, and this usually means greater owner control. Some often used phrases to describe fractional ownership are ‘multiple parties owning an asset’ or ‘shared ownership of an asset in perpetuity’. This differs from ‘time share’ in that the asset is actually owned by you, rather than having just a right to use time in a development for a limited period. You have the right to sell or gift your share in a fractional ownership development and it could appreciate over time. You are free to set a sales price based on market conditions. The management and maintenance are provided for you.

Not only is fractional ownership an idea whose time has come; because of its economic value, but also very importantly it is for the EXPERIENCE it allows an owner to have by living and connecting more deeply with the lifestyle and culture of Costa Rica.

Industry experts’ opinion that Fractional Ownership “satisfies a market niche at a lower price point than whole ownership, within the real estate market.” You own a share of the property not just usage rights of properties. And just as savvy investors are buying stocks in the global market to balance and strengthen their portfolios, Buyers can now invest in properties that are a strong value in the global real estate world. There are a number of ways of structuring a fractional ownership development; one method is to have a Costa Rica based company own the property. There are 52 shares corresponding to the number of weeks available. Clients can buy as many shares as they wish and time will then be allocated in the property to correspond to the shares purchased. In simple terms ‘the company owns the property, the shareholders own the company’. By structuring it this way you are able to avoid the normal legal and tax issues associated with purchasing a property in Costa Rica.

To ensure that all owners get equal access and use of the properties throughout the years of ownership there is a Rotating Calendar (RC). This calendar will set your fixed weeks and move your floating weeks each year so that you will enjoy the seasons or it will provide you with rental income which gives you an ROI. This is the fairest way of assigning weeks and the starting point will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Two weeks of the year will be held in ownership by the developing company for maintenance purposes and where possible to assist owners to swap weeks.

With fractional ownership you have the usage rights for 30 days or more each year, pay for only your share of the operating costs, own the real estate and stand to gain from the appreciation. You can sell, will, or gift your share of the property when you want. You are free to set a sales price based on market conditions. The management and maintenance are provided for you.

Fractional Real Estate Glossary

Many vacation fractional ownership properties will offer a variety of usage calendars and models. The Fixed usage is defined as time that is purchased and permanently assigned to you. Other terms you will encounter Floating Weeks, Reservation Agreement, Private Co-ownership, One-off Developer, Condo-Hotel, Management/Maintenance Company, On site Owners Storage Units, Departure Fees, Maids Fees, Mixed-use development, Occupancy rate, Space Available to name a few.

The properties are usually fully furnished to a very high standard, as you would your own home, they will not look like holiday rentals. The aim is to attract an affluent customer, people who are seeking a lifestyle for a vacation home and with the fractional means to make the purchase or aspirational customers who want to share in something they cannot buy outright. They can afford a fractional but now really do have to evaluate it financially. These are the ones sitting on the sidelines today watching and waiting for the economy to change.

Costa Rica along with this form of ownership is set to explode, however not all developers understand and can provide for this niche market, but they are aware of the need to appeal to customers. As property values plummet, fractional ownership offers developers and consumers a breath of fresh air. Consumers get real value, and developers are able to appeal to a wider audience, making the whole package affordable and profitable for all parties. Our clients come to us for the same reason, they need more buyers. The old adage of ‘build it and they will come’ does not happen in fractional ownership, it revolves around a more complex marketing environment. However, from an Owners perspective, all you have to do is:

Arrive, Indulge and Relax – Brilliant.

WELCOME HOME!

First Realty CRE has 2 offices to better serve you – At the Beach in Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste (20 mins from the Liberia Airport) and the other is located in the Sabana Area of San Jose Costa Rica (near the New National Stadium). Our friendly agents are standing by to help you navigate the Costa Rican real estate market. Give us a call today!

Les Nunez
First RealtyCRE, Broker/Owner

Tel:   506 8346 3784
USA: 954 840 4165

Email:
info@firstrealtycre.com

Website:
www.firstrealtycre.com


next page

Getting out of a Bum-Period

We all get bummed out from time to time. Little motivation, little energy and very little...
article post

Home Inspections in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica the use of a Home Inspector is usually assigned to an Architect or...
article post

The Costa Rica Legal System Explained

The majority of those persons reading this Article will come from jurisdictions where...
article post

Purchasing Property In Costa Rica

Purchasing property in Costa Rica requires a higher level of due diligence in order to...
article post

Rentista Residency Application

The Rentista Residency Category (based on investment income) is of major interest to...
article post

RRSP Fund Opportunities For Canadians In Costa Rica

With the Canadian Dollar at par, or slightly above its U.S. counter-part, the...
article post

Costa Rica to Host Global Medical Tourism Conference

Costa Rica, known worldwide for its leadership in ecological preservation, sustainable...
article post

How do You Get a Piece of the Pie

Fractional Ownership – A new affordable way to own property in Costa Rica. Fractional...
article post