Costa Rica Real Estate – Realistic Expectations.
Many of the people that come to see me, want to find the perfect property in Costa Rica so that they can ‘escape’ but then start to think in the same way as they would ‘back home…’
My friend Penny who is one of only about a dozen real estate agents we recommend
concurs and says that “North Americans want out of the “Rat Race” and come to Costa Rica looking for “Paradise” at the beach but with their same expectations, when in reality, all they are doing is creating that same “Rat Race” here. I don’t get it.”
Penny continues; “A year ago on the Nicoya Peninsula prices were still very reasonable and in some places they still are. But to get those deals, you have to be willing to live in more remote areas. What do I mean by that? Dealing with less than perfect roads, driving 30 minutes to get to a grocery store, bank, pharmacy or a doctor.
Having to deal with ICE (the Costa Rican electricity company) to bring
in power lines or phone lines is no fun. Having no municipal water so
you have to dig your own well will cost you about $85 a meter to drill.
After having said that, prices on the Peninsula are still cheaper than further North in places like Tamarindo or Flamingo.
Costa Rica ten years ago was a well kept secret, for most American’s, at least
where I came from, they didn’t even know where Costa Rica was and if they did they thought it was an island.
Just six years ago, you could purchase a 1/4 acre titled beachfront property for
$50,000 and that was in the Tamarindo area. Now, as we have seen, that same beach lot is worth almost $1 million.
So, bottom line, you can expect to find your dream property in Costa Rica for less than what you would pay for it in North America, but, only if you do not let your “North American” expectations dictate that you must have everything exactly as it is back home. I mean, isn’t that what we all are trying to get away from anyway?”
Tony Fekete, one of our preferred real estate agents with Coldwell Banker spoke
to us about land prices near the beach: “Costa Rica over the past 6-10 years has developed their infrastructure and communication’s to the extent that we are no longer a third world country. We are economically leading Central America.
Since most of the coastal properties are now in the hand’s of foreigners we are
buying from developers and not local farmer’s anymore. There are however good deals to be found but if the properties have good access, good views and
services they should expect to pay $100,000 and up.”
Brian Timmons, who is a successful Canadian developer now finishing up a very smart project only fifteen minutes west of San Jos
é spoke about the size of a home in relation to the final cost per square foot.
Living at the beach, one should also consider energy costs as most people tend to prefer to sleep with air conditioning and that can increase your monthly budget quite substantially.
As you may know, in the Central Valley area that surrounds the capital San Jos
é, since it’s about 72 degrees all year round, hardly anyone uses air conditioning and we certainly don’t need heating.
Brian says that; “The larger the house, the lower the cost per square meter or square foot for building and for sale. Many people don’t realize this – space doesn’t cost as much to build as things that go into that space like kitchens, bathrooms water and electrical services, and septic systems.
We are pricing at about $105 per square foot. That gets me my margin and given the total package, I think represents a reasonable price for a product which is arguably better than most in finishes.
What I found when I was researching, was that there wasn’t an consistent package being presented in houses. For example, an expensive house ($500K – $1 million) might well have $25 pressed masonite doors, really cheap trim, limited lighting fixtures, and a cheap plastic looking kitchen – it might be big but it was tasteless by North American standards.”
If you would like to communicate with Penny Layman, our preferred real estate professional in this area, please use the form below:
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