Life in general

I know it’s been a while since I posted anything.  So, I will try to update now.

Yesterday we had a guy show up at our gate asking about the house across the street, it’s vacant now.  I used to have the woman’s phone number but couldn’t find it anymore.  There is another house down the street that is vacant also and is a little bigger.  It took us a while, talking with our neighbor, and a few phone calls, but we finally got the number for the house down the road.  It’s a small Tico style house with two bedrooms and a big kitchen, going for 60,000 colones a month.  The house across the street, we finally found out is no longer being rented but they want to sell it for 15 million colones; I wouldn’t give you 5 million for it.  It’s in really rough shape.  We bought our house just four years ago and only paid 15 million for ours and we have three bedrooms.  I wonder what our house would go for now with all the work we have done to it?  The house across the street was being rented for 45,000 colones per month, the guy told us that the same house in San Jose would go for around 150,000; I about fell out of my hammock.

Anyways, about the guy.  He had been in our town for about three days and working in the pineapple fields, which is really hard work.  His family lives in San Jose and he is trying to get them out of there and bring them up here.  He said his neighborhood is very dangerous and wants them to be safe.  He is only 21 and has three kids, he started early.  But I can tell you that he does want to provide for his family, so much so that he resorted to sleeping on the streets just so he could work up here.  He said he couldn’t find a job where he lives.  Everything he has made he has sent back to his family in the city.  He was here for a while, we made him a sandwich and had some coffee.  (We didn’t let him in the house though.)  He was very polite and I really felt sorry for him.  My husband did take him to town to write down numbers off the signs for other houses to rent, and we let him charge his cell phone here.  I guess today he is working.  I just hope that everything works out for him and his family.

We headed over to a friends house after that, I had some things that I needed to return.  Turns out that one of our friends had broken several toes and another bone in his foot.  Poor guy is on crutches now.  Today we took him over my crutches to use because they are much lighter than the wood ones.  We let them know that if they need to go anywhere to just call us, he is the only one with a license in the family and he can’t drive now.

Friday, my cleaning lady never showed up.  We waited and waited.  This was very unusual for her, she always let me know if she wasn’t going to make it before.  Turns out she was babysitting for her neighbors.  So she showed up Saturday but I had an appointment for another ultrasound for my thyroid.  I told her not to worry about it.

I went for my ultrasound at another clinic I found that was a lot closer to where I live and a lot cheaper.  I had been noticing what felt like another lump in my thyroid, but this time on the right side.  Turns out I was right, I now have another tumor in it.  This makes three now.  But they are all still pretty small, just bothersome.  If I talk a lot my voice starts to go hoarse.  One of my friends was joking with me today and said that makes me the perfect woman.  I couldn’t help but laugh and I know that he was only kidding with me.  After all, I had been picking on him for breaking his toes playing soccer.  He is like a brother to me.

As for the area I live in, Sarapiqui, it has been extremely hot here these past few weeks.  It has been getting into the upper 90’s, which is unusual for here.  Even the locals are in disbelief at how hot it’s been.  We haven’t been getting the rain like we normally do this time of year either.  It’s made it difficult to cook or bake anything in the house as we don’t have A/C.  When it does rain I may just run outside and dance in it.  The little beach areas at the river have been packed on the weekends with everyone trying to cool off.  I looked at it today and was very tempted to go home, put on some swimming clothes and jump in.  I haven’t been down there in a while.  I really feel sorry for my cats and dogs though, it’s almost impossible for them to cool off.

I did start painting again, but now I am out of canvas.  I did a geometric design in oil and an abstract in acrylic.  Looks like I will have to keep painting in acrylic because I can’t find oils where I live.  Acrylic is easy to clean up though too, plus you don’t get the smell from the oil or the paint thinner.  Would like to sell them to help cover the costs of a few things.  (Like saving up for surgery.)  In order to keep painting though I will need to take another drive to Guapiles, which is about an hour away, to get more canvas.  It’s a heck of a lot cheaper there compared to what I found here.  I can get it for 1,000 in Guapiles and around here it’s over 3,500 for the exact same size.

Well, that’s what’s been going on in my little corner of Costa Rica.  Not much really.  We have been to a couple of get-togethers with friends and met some more wonderful people.  It’s very relaxing here and I have started reading another John Grisham novel.  We are trying not to do a whole lot because we don’t know how much my surgery will be, we will be self paying for it.  Until Mañana, Pura Vida!





Important decisions

The husband and I had been trying to sell the house.  We were thinking of going to either Nicaragua or Panama.  Our main reason for this was the cost of living.  It is high in Costa Rica when compared to other countries in Central America.  But we sat down and really talked about things.  We aren’t getting any younger, we had to have one of those conversations that you hate having when you get older.  At our age, why would we want to go through this whole process again of immigrating to another country.  That is a lot of time and money right there.  Plus, getting all the paperwork to take the pets and take them on the long trip.  The main thing that got us is that we bought this house.  Yes, we do still have a mortgage, but it’s not that much.  If we move to another country we would be going back to renting.  Again, at our age that could be a problem.  If something happens to one of us, the benefits are going to be cut down and it will make it difficult to afford rent with everything else.  If we stay here, the house can be paid for and the other one will always have a place to live.  So, we took the sign down today.  We figured why not just stay here?  We have great friends, neighbors that treat us like family, completely covered healthcare, and it is a great town that we live in.  I asked our neighbor the other day if he would cut down a tree for us in the yard; it was really in the way and causing problems with the car.  My husband and I both asked him how much to cut it down and he told us nothing.  His son even came over and helped him remove it from the yard. I think I need to bake him a cake or something for this.  We have planted other trees in the yard.  This tree though was going into our power and internet lines, the leaves were very small and falling into the car clogging up the vents also.  So now that it is out of the way we can also build our car port; if it ever stops raining.  We have a lot of plans for our little home.  We have been slowly adding to it since we bought it, it was an ugly little house and now it is a beautiful little home.  My new cleaning lady started today and she did an amazing job!  Very happy with her right now.  So, here we are and we aren’t going anywhere.  Until manaña, Pura Vida!  (Oh, and if you can’t tell…I love the color purple!)

When we first bought the house.

When we first bought the house.

The house after a lot of work. ( The roof is now green though.)

The house after a lot of work. ( The roof is now green though.)

The good with the bad

I know I haven’t been keeping up on this, and for that, I am sorry.  The hubby and I sat down one night and had a very long conversation about moving and staying here.  We really have it good here.  Great neighbors, great friends who are like family.  Why leave all that just to start over again?  I have a wonderful cleaning lady that comes twice a week and does a great job.  So, here we are.  It does feel like home here.  We have been here over three and a half years now, we love it.  We walk to town and people wave and say hello to us.  Even the bus drivers will honk and wave at us, they know us.  We still don’t have a car, but that is on our list of things to purchase.  For the past several years, everything has been going into the house.  We bought it and it was a shell.  It had walls and a roof, didn’t even have a ceiling.  It was a typical Tico house.  Paid $30,000 for it.  We did take out a mortgage on it, interest rates here are very high.  But it is establishing our credit for here.  We talked to our neighbor, he actually built this house, about adding on a second story.  No problem…almost.  Where I was originally going to put the stairs, not enough room to get the height needed.  So, I moved them to the outside patio.  Yup, that is my plan.  The patio is completely enclosed, we had all of that added on, so they will be secure.  Next problem.  I have indoor cats, how are they supposed to get up and down without going outside? Simple, cut a whole in the ceiling/floor and put in cat stairs.  I think my neighbor is going to end up hating me.  I know, I am a crazy cat lady, but hey, they are my kids.  Object of this whole thing is to create a large living room in the down stairs, keep one small bedroom and the small bathroom down stairs and then put in two large bedrooms upstairs with a large bathroom.  Oh, and I get a walk in closet! We would also have a nice balcony there, which would be great for bird watching. Tico houses are usually very small.  I would like to just to be able to move around my bedroom with having to move the fan out of the way.  Right now all the bedrooms and living room are a small 10×10, and that’s it.  But, it is home to me.  We are really hoping that this works out, it will require to take out a construction loan.  Hoping to refinance, get a lower interest rate and get the home improvement loan with it.  I know that when we get done the house will be worth more than twice what we paid for it.  Have to wait for the dry season to even think about this.  It has been raining like cats and dogs these past few months, but it is a rainforest.  Prettier days are coming, we have been seeing some of the seasonal birds return, like the Golden Hooded Tanager.  They are beautiful.  We have spent weeks griping about the rain, soon we will be complaining about the heat.  Isn’t that how it always works?

New ad for the house 


So, I have been trying to figure out how to add the link to the ad on here, but haven’t had much luck.  I am not a full time blogger by any means.  lol  But I do have a new ad for it up, if you contact me on here I can send you the link.  It does have better pictures.  Tomorrow we have someone coming over to finish the ceiling for us and we just put in new light fixtures last month.  Oh, and I bought a new washer last month.  Remember, the house is fully furnished and we are asking $40,000.  It’s a great area with great people.  We are also a $500 finders fee to anyone who finds us a buyer.  This is payable once the sale is final of course.




House for sale

Well, my husband and I have decided to continue our adventure elsewhere.  So, we are selling our house here in beautiful La Virgen de Sarapiqui.  The area is still not full of tourists, which helps to keep the cost of living lower here than in other parts of the country.  Our neighbors are wonderful and sad to see us move.  Give you an idea of how sweet our neighbors are.  I had surgery this past January, and everyday for a week my neighbor would bring me something over to eat that was homemade.  All the people on our street always wave and say hi as they are walking by if we are out.  We can walk to town and have people honk and wave at us.  It’s not a big town, but it is a wonderful town.  The bus stop is close, and we can get to anywhere in the country by bus.  We have never owned a vehicle here, the bus is cheap.  There is a lot to do in our town and surrounding area.  There are canopy tours, horseback riding, rafting, kayaking, guided nature hikes, chocolate tours, coffee tours, river boat tours and so much more.  Our house sits on top of a hill, so there is almost always a nice breeze.  Plus, it is a quiet neighborhood.  The house includes all furniture and cookware.  It is 2 bedroom and 1 bathroom, 57m2 and the lot is 200m2.  Furnishings include: flat screen TV, futon, stove with oven, small refrigerator, cabinets, pots and pans, plates and glasses, silverware, toaster oven, blender, small dinning table, twin bed, dresser, lap top desk, full size bed, closet, hot water shower, three fans, washer and dryer.  Already has internet and home phone, they run around $35 a month.  Utilities run between $30 and $45 per month, just depends on how much you use the dryer.  Local satellite TV is $25 per month, many channels come in in English.  Also, included is a prepaid local cell phone and a bicycle.  (kitten in the cone on the dinning chair is not included!)

We are asking $45,000USD for everything!  Comment if you are interested.  Thanks!



Double check your paperwork

When you go to your closing make sure you inspect everything on your final paperwork.  Had an interesting thing happen to us today.

When we purchased the home the bank would not do 100% financing, so we still had a small deficit that we owe to our neighbor who we bought the house off of.  He agree that we go to an attorney and set up a payment schedule to pay him the difference.  How many people in the States would do that?  So, we go to the attorney and he is reading the paperwork we got from the bank and he got this really serious look on his face.  I knew that look.  Well as it turns out, the bank listed our property size to include our neighbors.  Our property used to be apart of his but he had it separated, even have the official plans from the municipality to prove it.  So, I turned to my neighbor and asked him if he would like to buy some property.  We all got a big laugh out of it.  It’s just more of an inconvenience for my neighbor, now he has to go all the way back to the bank, which is a two hour bus ride, and try to get them to fix it.  He is such a wonderful person and so nice.  I hope that he can get it fixed without any problems, but I have a feeling we will have to go with him to resign the papers.

The attorney today was really cool with us.  He made sure that we understood everything that was being put in the contract and that we really didn’t own our neighbors house and property.    Plus, he only charged $80, which we paid half and our neighbor paid the other half.  So all in all, it was a good day.

Purchasing a home

There are real estate agencies down here, but you will only find them in the bigger cities and in your beach communities.  Most properties are for sale by owner.  And buyer beware.  Never pay cash for anything when it comes to real property.  There are certain areas that are set aside for agricultural use and that only the nationals can buy.  You always want to see the plans of the property.  Sometimes you can get a great deal and other times you can get a really bad one.  The area I live in averages around $20 per square meter.  One square meter is roughly 3 square feet.  I paid $30,000 for my house on my small property.  Our property is only 200 sq mts, and our house is only 57 sq mts (613 sq ft).  But it is only my husband and I.  Our house has 3 bedrooms and one bathroom.  We are turning one of the bedrooms into a living room for us.  It is a common feature down here to have the kitchen, dinning room and living room all one space.  I need a little more spread out room than that.  They also do not use acres here, they are hectacres, which is around 2.7 acres.  I had a friend of mine who just sold his property with a one bedroom house and a nice storage shed for $70,000, his property was around 7 acres.  The closer you go to the beaches the more it is going to be. 

Getting a loan is not an easy thing to do and it is a process just like in the States.  But if you get your loan in dollars instead of colones you will get a lower interest rate.  Why?  I have no idea.  You will have to have copies of your income, certified.  Copies of your cedula card and a lot of patient.  We also had to submit the plans of the property to the bank and they had to verify it.  They will send out a surveyor to survey the property, ours cost $150.  They don’t really inspect the house, that is really up to you.  But if they see something that is not up to code they will tell you to get it fixed.  We were in the process of putting in another electrical outlet when they showed up.  Showed the guy we had the part and he said OK.  Our closing was a lot quicker than any I have been to in the States.  Only took us about an hour.  Went over everything with the attorney and signed our life away.  House is ours and I love it.  We originally applied for the loan in May and had our closing at the end of June.  So, I really don’t think it took us that long.  Just really nervous about it, we didn’t have any credit established here yet.  But since the housing market crash they are extra careful about giving loans out.  But if we can do, anyone can. 

After a little paint

I absolutely love my house now!  The only thing left to paint on the outside is the roof, which will be done white as well.  My house is becoming my home.  It is just the right size for my husband and I, and our two cats.  We don’t need a big house to be happy.  Plus, this way there is less to clean, and living in a rainforest requires lots of cleaning.