When my parents moved to Florida from New York City in
1948, they bought a house where they planned to raise a family and live
the rest of their lives. To them, this was their dream spot, a
place they worked hard to acquire and worked even harder to maintain.
This was the house I was born into and remained for 23 years until it
became time for me to start a family of my own. Buying, selling,
flipping, investing, living a nomadic lifestyle was not endemic to my
parents' generation - but it was to mine.
Don't Become A Victim...
From that momentous day in 1975 till we sold our final
home in 2008, every house we owned generated a respectable profit while
providing significant income tax benefits.
But now it's retirement
time. It's time to establish our Costa Rican roots and live out
our retirement years
in peaceful harmony and bliss, or at least that's what "they*"
want us to do.
They... being the
purveyors and manipulators of "rose colored
misinformation" who continually sell unsuspecting
retirees on the premise that...
if you move here,
you must own here.
While doing our research for retirement,
the majority of the websites we relied upon for valid information kept drilling into our heads...
Buy now, Invest
We Love Costa Rica -
You Will Too!
Save Big at Pre
Construction Rates (and my favorite)
Don't Miss This
Opportunity - It's Available For Today Only.
"They" want to make you feel that the only way
you are going to be happy
living in Costa Rica is to buy into the concept of
Costa Rican home ownership.
I have to admit, there was a point in time, the thought of
owning our own home did have some appeal. But each time we thought
about plunking down a huge amount of money for a house, we asked
ourselves... "Will owning a
home here make us any happier? Will it make our lives any better?"
And as much as we tried to come up with a
YES answer, we couldn't.
In the nearly two years we have lived in Costa Rica, Fran
and I have met many people and established some very good friendships.
And in most cases, the overwhelming majority of the folks we met
either bought land and built their dream house or they found the perfect
home situated on the perfect lot. To all these folks (and you know
who you are), we are very glad you have found your little piece of
heaven. But as we have come to learn, that strategy is not going
to work for us.
Home Sweet Home or Maybe Not...
In the run up to our move to Costa Rica, we did tons of
research which included making multiple "due diligence" trips here,
reading everything we could get our hands on and most importantly,
communicating directly with those who have gone before us. As a
result of this research, we formulated a strategy of renting before
buying. This forced us to (at least) think with our heads and not
with our hearts.
We had decided to move (initially) to the Central Valley,
specifically the San Ramon area because it had a solid infrastructure,
good medical care and was within a 1 hour drive from the airport, U.S. style shopping
and hospitals. In addition, San Ramon sported a very strong gringo
population. We found a house rental just 6 km north of the town.
It was a new home, furnished with a drop dead killer view of the valley.
It was also located on the edge of what is known as a "cloud forest."
For the first few weeks in our new home the weather was
spectacular. The day's were warm, clear with a mild breeze while
the nights were just cool enough to require a very light blanket.
For us, it doesn't get any more perfect. But then the weather
changed and for nearly six months we were blanketed daily in
heavy clouds. Sometimes the visibility was so bad we could not
even see the edge of our back yard just a scant 40 feet from our
balcony. Now add to that, heavy wind and rain would pound down onto
our all metal
roof creating a sound that would be reminiscent of a Baghdad fire fight. And don't even get me started on the never-ending battle with mold and
INCREDIBLE PATIO VIEW
NEAR ZERO VISIBILITY
An Opportunity To Explore and
Realizing our decision to rent (instead of buy) had been validated, we
decided to vacate the cloud forest and experience more of what this
wonderful country was able to offer. We chose the northern beach area
of the Guanacaste province, specifically the small bedroom community of
Playa Hermosa. I know we initially stated (quite emphatically)
that we would never live at the beach because it was too expensive and
way too hot. But we learned that decision was based on incomplete data
gathered from people who didn't have a friggin clue as to
what they were talking about.
YES it is warm here and YES it is more expensive.
But you are living at the beach! If one makes the right decisions and doesn't live like a fat-cat
gringo (with a thirst for everything American), you can live quite
Fine Tuning Our Strategy...
Throughout our adult life, the concept of home ownership
has been drilled into our psyche. But as we continue to evolve
here in the land of Pura Vida, that concept seems to have evaporated.
It really boils down to an internal debate on economics.
A home that will make Fran happy will cost us between
Financing will not be available so we'll have to pay
We'll be responsible for all maintenance, repairs,
So what if we use that money,
previously earmarked for a house, and fund our love for International Travel?
Let's face it... Fran and I are both 60 years old, we're
not going to live forever. While we are in relatively good health,
I figure we
have about 20 or so "good" years still ahead of us. I'm not being
morbid, just realistic. If we take the cost of what would have
spent on a house and apply it equally over the next 20 years, we are now
able to spend about $15,000 a year on travel. To us the benefits
are immeasurable and the memories will be everlasting. That's more
than you can say about a house!
Some folks asked us "why don't we settle down and buy a
house?" The answer is really simple...
we're having way too much fun!