handshake ABC nov 2017Every continent, every country, every culture has its own sets of habits and different ways of doing things. The same accounts for doing business, such as Real Estate.
As Costa Rica is part of the American Continent, its Real Estate customs show more similarities with those in North America, than in overseas countries.
With the current and ongoing influx of Europeans, seeking for a new place to settle or to enjoy the tropical beach life for mid or long term in Costa Rica, it appears appropriate to give a brief overview of the way the Real Estate world operates in the Tamarindo area and Costa Rica in general. Having some knowledge of local Real Estate habits, will certainly improve any buyer’s experience.
The modus operandi of Real Estate agencies in Costa Rica is easier to understand when one realizes that sellers can either list their property exclusively with one agency, or non exclusively with every agent that is willing to do so. Exclusivity in this case, means that the seller trusts his property to one agent, or agency, who will be the only one representing him in the process. This agent can then put maximum effort into marketing the property, and maximize its exposure by sharing it with other agencies, through methods such as monthly newsletters sent out to all local agents. Any other agent, representing a prospect buyer, can contact the agent representing the property in exclusivity and offer it to his client.
Other sellers, prefer the non-exclusive approach, meaning that not an agent, but the seller himself coordinates the distribution of his property with and the updating of several agents during the process. If the follow up is not ideal, this can lead to discrepancies in listing prices or announced availability on different media.

Thus, one property can be offered and marketed by several agencies, either with or without exclusivity, and an agent representing a prospect buyer, can show all properties on the market, with the difference that for properties listed exclusively he will always have to go through the listing agent, in case of a non-exclusive listing he does not.
This system makes the Real Estate Market in Costa Rica an “open market”: any agent can offer any property to his prospect buying client– in contrast to markets in some European countries where properties are exclusives of a sole agency and are not being shared with other agencies, due to which the prospect buyer needs to contact or “shop” with all agencies of one area, to have access to and an overview of all available properties.

Hence, in this “open market “, when a buyer new to the area contacts several agents, as is usual in his home country, he will most likely end up seeing the same properties several times.
Therefore, it is recommended, to any buyer, once decided on a certain area, to find one reliable real estate agent in that area, to build up a solid communication and continued relationship with him, to share with him his desires and search criteria as detailed as possible, and to let that agent do a profound market search for and with him. The chances of finding that dream property will be optimized and the whole process of searching and purchasing property in Costa Rica will most likely become a more efficient and a pleasant experience! With this understanding of the modus operandi, it might even bring you relationships for life!

 

Vindi is part of Automercado and smaller more like a Am Pm or Fresh Market. They will open before the end of this year when the new building is finished. It will have just 3 stores with new well known businesses, the two others are not confirmed yet. For now we are excited to have Vindi in town soon.

Here is more about Vindi:  http://www.vindi.cr/auto-mercado-vindi

Projects in the Tropics

October 12, 2017

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Years back the reality and needs of Costa Rica in general were very different, the need to approve and complete large projects wasn’t so urgent, but the popularity of this beautiful country has been, for quite a while, basically forcing the government to step up and address multiple infrastructure needs throughout the country. Our own bureaucracy, and politics, make that large projects seem to take forever to get approved, but eventually they do and were able to then envoy, for example, the new Liberia International Airport, the expansion of the Interamerican road, Liberia – San Jose, and more close to home the new road between 27 de Abril and Tamarindo.

For various years local governments, ASADAs, and towns all around Tamarindo have been trying to get the central government to solve the water issue the coastal towns have been experiencing. They stepped up and this is now being done with the Nimboyores project that will bring water to the coast from an inland wetland. This project has begun and is underway.

The new Flamingo Marina project has been at a standstill for years, but just days ago the permit remaining to be approved, needed for the go-ahead, has been approved. The project will consist of 211 slips accommodating yachts up to 110′, fueling station, dry dock, a boutique hotel, a convention center with capacity for 800 people, a commercial area for restaurants, bars, etc. This is very good news for the area and hopefully construction will start soon.

Our electricity provider, Coopeguanacaste, recently inaugurated the Juanilama Solar Park that will help bring clean energy to our area, and they plan on building more solar parks in the area. They are also working on installing various wind turbines just outside Santa Cruz.

The road accessing Tamarindo was recently re-surfaced making that ride much smoother. The Santa Cruz Municipality has promised, again, funds for the Tamarindo – Langosta road. I know that the ADI of Tamarindo (asociación de desarrollo integral de Tamarindo) and local residents will be vigilant to make sure this project materializes.

Tamarindo has gone through its own “growing pains”, and due to that new building codes are now in effect and the town is thriving in a more orderly fashion. New businesses have been popping up and in the past 2-3 years and there are easily around 25 new homes built, more under construction and also those awaiting permits. And we’re going to have a real movie theater in town! This is set to be completed in late November.

Large projects may take more time to complete here than in the more developed countries, but life in these wonderful tropics is good, more tranquil and Tamarindo offers all kind of amenities needed to live a modern lifestyle. It will be our pleasure to help you find your spot so you can begin to enjoy the Pura Vida life.

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Hotel owners and landlords in Costa Rica are creating an effort to draft a legislation that would tax vacation rentals such as condominiums, apartments, and other housing/lodgings that currently fall into a legal gray area.

The plan, which is near to being introduced in the Legislative Assembly, would apply a hotel tax on rentals in Costa Rica booked through online platforms such as VRBO, Airbnb, FlipKey, Tripping.com, and HomeAway.

Traditionally, the revenue raised has gone to the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT), but the new bill would redirect resources to the national parks, which are a primary source of attraction for tourists, and to the National Animal Health Service (SENASA) for the implementation of the Animal Welfare Law, that was approved in June 2017, which is in desperate need of resources.

Gustavo Araya, President of the Costa Rican Chamber of Hoteliers (CCH), is one of the leaders of the initiative. Araya said they are waiting for a good moment to introduce the bill, so that it doesn’t get mixed up with the fiscal reform initiatives that are currently obstructing the legislative agenda.

“The additional cost would be charged to the tourist who decides to stay in condominiums, whereas if they decide to stay in hotels, the tax corresponds to the hotel, and not the tourist,” added Araya.

“We do not think it is an issue of unfair competition, we are not increasing the tax burden. It was a burden we had for years and we did not complain,” Araya argued.

Credits to: Wendy Anders, The Costa Rica Star

2017 Tamarindo Artwave

September 14, 2017

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Get ready because next month the Tamarindo Art Foundation, a non-profit NGO with big objectives and goals for the community, will be planning and hosting this year’s Tamarindo Art Wave. A festival that presents the works of various talented artists for viewing and in some cases personal participation and will be taken place on November 29-December3. The exciting theme chosen for this year is En-Light.

Tamarindo may have a reputation for surfing and partying, but after last year’s Tamarindo Art Wave successfully presenting various sculptors, dancers, painters, and musicians, they were able to fulfill their goal of diversifying Tamarindo’s image. Many organizers have said to believe that this event promoted the town as a future destination for cultural events. At the same time, this festival attracts a higher economic demographic, those 25 years of age and older, including families and is timed exactly during the low season, the help the community and create extra business during these times.

With these festivals, the Tamarindo Art Foundation hopes to accomplish a long-term goal to fund, create, and build the Tamarindo Arts Academy.  This specific facility would provide education in all areas and disciplines of the arts including fine art, music, dance, theater, culinary arts, Acrobat, and more.

In conclusion, this festival will be here to show us that we can expect more from what Tamarindo is known for. That this is a moment to come together, see the talents that we’re surrounded with, and exploit that to the next level.

Credits to: Marisol, Tamarindo News Staff

What about the water?

August 14, 2017

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It is more than evident that the local real estate market in Tamarindo and surrounding areas have become steadily more dynamic year after year. We in the business keep on selling more of the usual existent seaside vacation residences: either condominiums or single-family homes. Nevertheless, perhaps within the last 12-24 months, the sales of lots has reactivated coming back after the real estate boom that ended in 2008.

Available lots have been selling and owners that had kept their properties dormant waiting for a better time to sell them, or simply who had invested originally to build homes that they won´t do anymore, are coming around now. Gated communities that offer home sites, which had plenty of options still available for years now run scarce on inventory. El Tesoro and Punta San Francisco are almost sold out. In Punta San Francisco we´ve sold 20 lots within the last 24 months and with two more under contract this month, there are only three more available in the entire community. New construction on these sites and in random lots around town is evident. Other communities that are not right at the beach like Rancho Villareal, Tamarindo Heights and the ones inside Hacienda Pinilla are seeing considerable action now as well.

A typical question buyers of these lots have is What about the water? Some are worried that water service might be denied for building on the lots. The basis for this concern usually is the crisis we experienced a year ago after three unusual rainy seasons in which it almost did not rain to El Niño climate phenomenon. Those times were harsh in that sense and it was common to see several water trucks delivering in town and a lot of owners had to invest in backup water tanks and pumping systems which now we realize is a good thing to have just in case.

Luckily, that drought is over, and it opened the competent institution’s eyes to see that a well-structured, consistent solution to attend to the water demand for the coming decades in a flourishing seaside region has to be achieved.

In the recent tour president Luis Guillermo Solis did through the province of Guanacaste from July 20th thru July 25th celebrating 193 years of the ¨Anexión del Partido de Nicoya¨, this matter was addressed. The president spoke about the huge project called “Proyecto de Abastecimiento de Agua para la Cuenca Media del Río Tempisque y Comunidades Cercanas (PAACUME)”. This initiative pretends to create a new reservoir fed by the existent Arenal one and have it feed a lot of the water need for the province. The government has projected that the studies for its construction will be ready this year, and actual construction starts in 2019.

A local solution is also moving forward. This is the creation of the Acueducto de Nimboyores. This will bring water from a healthy water bed that is not that close to the ocean through around 30 km of pipes. It would service along the way fourteen ASADAS (local water system administrators) on its way to the coast (servicing Potrero, Flamingo, Brasilito, Playa Grande, Tamarindo, San José de Pinilla). We witnessed months ago topographers from Acueductos y Alcantarillados doing the field work establishing where these pipes would go through. The cost of this project is said to be USD$15 million, money is secured, environmental studies have been done, and it is projected that work will start before this year ends.

In the practice and speaking with knowledge based on recent experience, I can tell you that a water letter for a residential project in Tamarindo can be obtained with no hassle. I personally solicited three water letters for apartment projects in three random lots in town. I presented the file in the local Acueductos y Alcantarillados office in Plaza Conchal on July 28 and got the documents delivered at the same office on August 9. Anyway, when buying a lot, your legal representative should make sure that as part of the due diligence, you get the assurance that you will be able to build what you want on the property and having access to water is a must in that sense.

You can check our lot listings in the following link: http://www.abccostarica.com/listings/lots and please, do not hesitate to reach your ABC Real Estate agent if you have any questions.

Credits to: Federico Fernandez

Beach Hopping Holidays

July 15, 2017

Sunset Pinilla signed

July and August are considered the summer months in North-America and Europe, and are related to school vacations! How about spending part of those holidays beach hopping around the surf town of Tamarindo?

The beach of Tamarindo is known for its great waves, for beginners and expert surfers, so from early morning to sunset you will always find some surf buddies to hang out with! Take the opportunity of a surf class with one of the many surf instructors around. The non-surfing part of the family will not be bored: they can enjoy themselves kayaking to Capitan’s Island, boogie boarding, building sand castles, playing beach volleyball or taking a nature boat tour on the estuary nearby. And around 5:30 pm you can all join together for a cocktail watching the gorgeous sunset over Tamarindo Beach lounging with your feet in the white sand.

Taking Tamarindo as an excellent base hub, you will be able to fill your holidays with a different beach every day. You will be amazed with the choice and variety of beaches around, all within easy reach from Tamarindo.

To start with, take a little local “panga” to cross the estuary and walk the north part of the Tamarindo Bay, known as Playa Grande, which is part of the Las Baulas National Park. Here the large leatherback turtles come at night to lay their eggs, and the more advanced surfers enjoy the larger waves. Keep walking until the large rock formations that separate Playa Grande from Playa Ventanas, and spend some time looking for crabs and marine life, before continuing your walk on Playa Ventanas, you will have the beach almost to yourself.

Further north, you can choose Playa Conchal: start at the north part, with its crystal blue waters and fun snorkeling right from the beach, then take a long walk along the bay, to pass the middle section of the beach, where you can hire a jet-ski or go banana-boating, until you reach the less known but very tranquil south part, ideal to go kayaking on the still waters or take an easy swim.

For the more adventurous, Playa Bahia de las Piratas is tucked away and reached with a little more effort. Once there, you can explore and climb the islet that can be reached walking at low tide, and take a long walk southbound to watch the birds play in the waves and to explore desolate inlets and beaches.

Adjacent to Playa Conchal lays Playa Brasilito, a very large bay that offers quiet waters, ideal for swimming.

Going further north, spend an afternoon on the white sands of Playa Flamingo, and have a cocktail at the Coco Loco bar, or take a sailing class or rent a stand up paddle at the Costa Rica Sailing center at Playa Potrero, a very large, darker and uncrowded beach.

And I can keep going: how about Playa Prieta, Playa Penca, Playa Pan de Azucar or Playa Danta? All beautiful beaches, where you will have plenty of room to yourself and many things to do.

Taking the direction further south from Tamarindo, Playa Avellanas is a great option for advanced surfers and their families, who can play in the waves and have lunch at Lola’s restaurant on the beach. Down from there, Playa Negra and Blanca are also awaiting you, plenty of room to explore and to look for big shells and fun-shaped rocks.

All of these beaches are unique, all offering wonderful sunsets, others great waves or beautiful shells, some with more infrastructure, others completely desolate! In short, something for everyone!

And all this, within a 30-minute drive distance from Tamarindo! Amazing how spoiled you can get in Tamarindo! But that’s far from all! I haven’t even mentioned the paradisiac small beaches that can only be reached by boat or my two favorite, hidden gems.

Come on down and I will take you!

By: Karen Fabré