I left off Part 2 on the verge of buying my "dream lot" in the Central Valley town of Santa Ana, west of San Jose and next door to Escazu, over an acre and a quarter of land looking west, in a platted subdivision near the top of a small mountain. But, I couldn't get to the rest of my tale without some unconscionable delays.
Life intervenes. Construction on my project, The Oaks, http://www.theoakstamarindo.com/, has advanced to the point of finishing the model unit. This is good news, as the first buyers will start moving in within 90 days. This is fun, as I saw in real life thefantastic results of the kitchen granite countertops and pure cedar cabinetry . This is bad news, as I saw in real life the results of the marble bath sink tops, and porcelain sinks. So, we tore out the marble in the baths, replaced it with granite, and replaced the white porcelain sinks with tempered glass sinks. Much better. And, I am finishing a trip, my fourth actually, down to Panama City for some real estate recon. Back tomorrow to Costa Rica.
What a difference between Panama and Costa Rica! Good and bad. Panama is in a full-on construction boom, burning with speculation fever. A new canal, high rises everywhere, units being bought by speculators from Colombia and Miami in groups of ten, twenty, thirty. Someone will make hundreds of millions of dollars. Just not me. A part of me wants to, but I can't do it. Panama is Miami in the 1980's. Condo fever, no limits. It's exciting, but when you sit down at the poker table and you can't identify the fish, chances are it's you. Tomorrow I'm going back to Costa Rica, the land of endless bureaucracy, where the government limits construction quite unintentionally with its myriad agencies and bureaucratic approvals, making an obstacle course game out of development. Bless them.
And so, on memory lane again, we're back in Santa Ana, looking at my dream lot for $115 per square meter, with full Setena and INVU approvals (sort of like Environmental Protection Agency approvals, only more complicated), ready to build with just another year or so of municipal approvals ahead. Slam dunk.
The sellers wanted $115 a square meter, which I knew from comps in the subdivision was a deal compared to recent sales at $140. However, they were in a divorce situation, and they accepted my offer of $105 a square meter, or just under $550,000, for a fast cash closing. The purchase price was just under 15% of my estimated gross sales proceeds from building three homes, so on the back of my envelope, the deal worked.
I promise you, my reader, (hello?), that next time I'll post a photo, maybe even a link, who knows? I'm new at this blogging thing, and I'll never catch up with you guys. But maybe I don't need to. I just need you guys to wonder; how can my clients realize success and happiness in Costa Rica real estate? How can I get referral fees for doing almost nothing? How can I earn commissions, not to mention free trips, by coming down to Costa Rica? (Hint: Unless you're hard core, maybe not in September or October. If you are hard core, we need to talk.)
Next installment....the laughably easy permitting process.