Costa Rica Real Estate


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Real Estate:


I came to retire in Costa Rica in 1994 and found this country to be a paradise. There have been many changes some for the good and some like increased traffic snarls and petty crime that never existed before not so good. When I go into the mall here of which we have several which are similar to the states I never consider the experience to be unsafe. I never see gangs or flash mobs or rude people. What I see is families with little kids having a happy time with no security worries.

The central valley of Costa Rica which consists of towns like Escazu, Santa Ana, Ciudad Colon, Heredia, Alajuela, Cartago, Rohrmoser, is always mild in climate and almost never below 60 degrees and mostly below 80 degrees. The area around Con Casa in the west part of Alajuela on the highway which is about one hour from the Pacific Ocean which we think is the best value of any condo complex in the country is very similar to living on the beach in Hawaii or New Zealand with a constant breeze.

I always tell my friends when I was in my 20s when I had to rent an apartment this would have been the place I not only could afford at $600 month for 2 bedroom 2 bath furnished condo with giant lap pool, tennis courts, real 24/7 gated security because I loved the fresh breeze in Con Casa. The high-rise complexes in Rohrmoser are similar to New York City and generally rent for around $1200 to $1500 and up if you wish to live close into town. Escazu and Santa Ana (here rents are $800 to $1200) are more like the suburbs of Atlanta while Cartago and Alajuela and Ciudad Colon are less urban except downtown. We never go into the central part of San Jose which reminds me of the lower-class sections of old industrial towns. There is almost no need to spend huge amounts for utilities since there is no need for heat and most people do not use much AC (I have not used the AC in my house in over 8 years). Internet, cable tv, cell phone, is much less than the states and is available in most places. The water in the central valley is perfect and there is no need to consider bottled water.

I grew up in the 1950s and in some ways this country reminds me of the times people in the states felt more secure and were able to think life would get better not more difficult. Yes, there are some items which cost more if imported but the reality is this country is less expensive than any comparable place in the states and certainly less than 20% of the cost of real estate in New York City or most of California.

So many people dream of living at the beach thinking they can buy a nice house like Carmel, California or Malibu but there is a huge difference in climate. The beach’s are almost always hot and humid and lack most of the interesting services of the central valley. The beach’s are beautiful and frankly only an hour or two from most of the places you may wish to go. Of course, the celebs are all over Guanacaste and other areas but they are visitors for a few days or a couple of weeks and they pay a lot more money that a normal person would like to spend.

I always advise that any new arrival rent for at least a few months before buying and find a reliable advisor to give some hints about where to live. We have received thousands of inquiries over the last 24 years from people mostly in the states who want to move here to paradise. I always tell them that this is not someplace most people can just drop in with limited funds hoping to earn money equal to the states. It is really for people who want to retire or have a fixed income or real savings. We always use this guideline for a couple. $1500 a month is what you should make sure you have access to each month. We know some who have made it on $1200 but I do not advise that especially if you need medical care. Medical care at private hospitals in Costa Rica, according to my close friend who is a professor of physics at a major university is equal or better than his university hospital in Boston. The cost is about 20% or less of the states in private hospitals here. The government health care is often good but the wait lines are not fun but it is free.

The people in this country are almost always friendly and helpful but you really need to have some basic Spanish to make the best life here. We always advise living in a gated complex in individual houses or apartment style since security is vital here. The reason is quite simple our property tax is about 5% or 10% of the states and the police are not here to stop break ins but to patrol the streets.

Our expertise is to help new arrivals find a secure place to live that they can afford. Angela Jimenez Rocha and I will tell you the real facts the good and the bad if you choose to contact us. You can see Angela’s info below including the fact that she has been interviewed in most major media here including the HGTV House Hunters International and references from real people. I hired her in 2001 which saved me from many mistakes.

Angela has advised famous clients like Maurice Kanbar the inventor of Skyy Vodka, Paula Garrido the Latin American Treasurer of Intel, Henry Kaufman former member of the New York Stock Exchange, my childhood friend who was the assistant to the President of Exxon Chemical, but the one we are most proud of who visits us at least once a year is Dr. James Paul Miller. Miller once shared offices with 4 winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, Sheldon Glashow, Murray Gel-Man. Miller is the team leader at Fermi Lab on the g-2 project which Nature Magazine is alerting that this may change the standard model of physics based on Albert Einstein.

We treat all clients with the same integrity famous or not.
Alan Harold and Angela Jimenez Rocha


Angela Jimenez with film crew of House Hunters

House Hunters asked around for a buyers broker in Costa Rica and sent this
crew and director down to film Angela at 3 locations (Avalon, Vivicon at
Lilia, and Prados Oeste)

Angela uses her experience of 30 years to make sure the buyer understands
the market in Costa Rica and does not overpay



Angela Jimenez Rocha arranged the various people in this article to meet thru the previous concepts created by ORBITCOSTARICA.COM
Ismael Levya is one of the worlds most famous architects who designed scores of major projects in New York, China, Dubai, Mexico,etc.
including the Timer Warner Center and is a partner in the development of the tallest high rise in Costa Rica with Jose Luis Salinas
the best known designer of large projects in this country. Maurice Kanbar of course is famous for all his inventions and his creation of SKYY Vodka
and now the Blue Angel Premium Vodka and the Kanbar Film School at New York University

Amcostarica English Language News Service


San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 22, 2011


A.M. Costa Rica guest editorial
Seasoned investors plan upscale seniors complex


Seasoned investors plan upscale seniors complex

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

In what is being described as still a concept, a seniors' community of perhaps 500 living units is planned west of Escazú.
Developer José Luis Salinas, architect and president of Grupo Inmobilario del Parque, estimates that the concept may become a reality in about a year.
Salinas runs the company that built condo towers in Sabana Sur and now is building similar projects on Paseo Colón and near the Hotel San José Palacio. He also is the designer of the Avalon complexes in Santa Ana and many others in Costa Rica. His partner in the project will be famed New York architect Ismael Leyva and other local professionals.
A new addition to this project is San Francisco multi-millionaire and investor Maurice Kanbar. He was in San José over the weekend and said in an interview that he was impressed by the weather and sees great promise for a well-managed senior living complex here. He also visited Hospital CIMA and said he was impressed by the quality of the care and the level of English spoken by the staff.
The primary market for such a complex will be non-Spanish speaking North Americans near or at retirement age. This would be the first such complex in Costa Rica devoted exclusively to seniors, although many retirees make up the expat population.
Part of the concept is similar to the Del Web retirement communities, the Villages in Florida, and Montereau in Warren Woods at Tulsa, Oklahoma. Those involved in the project note that the sister-in-law of Sam Walton of Walmart lives in Montereau along with many other important residents. All these projects provide social services inside the complex which is far different than ordinary condos, they said.
Kanbar, a life-long inventor, created SKYY vodka, a top of the line alcoholic product said to reduce hangovers, and sold it for $320 million, according to court records.
The arrival of the U.S. inventor sent ripples through the country's real estate and investment community. La Republica headlined him as an arriving U.S. genius. He is highly respected and a self-described conservative investor, who has donated tens of millions to charity. His interest in the project at this point insures completion, although he cautions that management is everything.
Although expats in the complex would have the option of staying there with all the amenities,

Maurice Kanbar
A.M. Costa Rica photo

Inventor Maurice Kanbar says he seldom has been without a camera since he was 14.
both Kanbar and Salinas see the need for a way to integrate the residents into the greater Costa Rican community, even if that just means a trip to the Teatro Nacional. Salinas noted that the Paseo Colón project will have two vehicles to provide transport for residents, and the same would be planned for the new project, which will be on 14 hectares east of Ciudad Colón. That's about 34.5 acres, but the developers see this as just a first step. The landowner is said to be participating.
Kanbar himself does not speak Spanish, but is far from a Latin novice. The Brooklyn native's cousin built a life and a major business in Panamå, and Kanbar has been to Costa Rica in the past.
He has an impressive record as an investor and hard-headed businessman. He began in his teens selling children's photos to neighborhood parents and stubbornly mixed a salaried job with sabbaticals during which he created a company to produce fibers, the Spandex Corp., taking part of the market from E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. He authored the 2002 book “Secrets from an Inventor's Notebook,” which was on The New York Times best seller list, and holds some 40 U.S. patents.
Kanbar is known for buying much of downtown Tulsa and for being the producer of the little Red Riding Hood animated update “Hoodwinked” and long time major distributor of foreign films in the U. S. especially through his Quad Theatres in New York.

Kanbar came to know Salinas through Angela Jiménez Rocha of, who studied architecture with Salinas.

Amcostarica English Newspaper


San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 10, 2011


A.M. Costa Rica guest editorial
Baby boomer retirement suggests upswing in rentals demand


Angela Jimenez Rocha*
Special to A.M. Costa Rica
The Economist Magazine indicates that 78 million Baby Boomers will start retirement in 2011.  Assuming that this trend runs over the next 10 years, that means approximately 10 million per year in the first few years since the bulge is bigger in the front years.

Where will they go and what will they do is the big question mark about the effect they will have on real estate values.  Reading a recent major newspaper from a city of several  million in the South of the U. S., the rental market seems to be in a crisis with ad after ad offering free move in, no deposit, utilities included, special discount, etc. etc.  In the rental market we follow closely here in Escazú and Santa Ana, the rental prices are not in the same crisis mode. 

We have more requests for rentals than we have availability and while prices have not increased much they certainly have not gone down.  Sales prices may be stagnant for house resells but land in the central valley has continued steady if not gone up.

Which brings me to comment on all the anti- and pro-letters you are receiving about Costa Rica from the Gringo market.  Supply and demand are always fundamental to real estate values.  A.M. Costa Rica has published various articles from our company ( about the several methods of valuation of real estate appraisals for those who want to see them.

Upon reflection, this market in the Central Valley of Costa Rica has never been in the type of crisis that exists in the  U. S.  There are many reasons why, but the three main ones are:

1.  Banks here almost never loaned excessively; 

2. The large amount of money that flowed out of Venezuela; 

3. Continued immigration from other countries than the U.S., especially Canada and several European Countries.

Recent visitors indicate to me that what we are attracting is a higher class of people to Costa Rica for retirement, etc. which includes  PhD from Michigan State University, PhD from Western Illinois University, PhD from Cal Tech,  Harvard MBA, 30-year member of the New York Stock Exchange, one of the largest shopping center developers in the U. S.

Look at the numbers of high rise buildings around the Sabana and the planned 28-story high rise on Paseo Colon.  Why is this investment being made?

Back to the numbers just for the U. S.  If just 1/10 of 1 percent of the Baby Boomers come to Costa Rica each year, that is 10,000 per year.  I highly doubt there exists adequate Gringo-type rentals to meet this need in the Central Valley.  This is where I think the demand will be, not at the beaches.

It is quite conceivable that the rental market will boom over the next five years and, if it does, then sales prices will follow along, although this may lag a year or two.
Of course, our country has inefficiency and other problems but has never been in the real estate crisis of the U. S., Europe, and Australia etc.

Why do people come to Costa Rica?

The climate of course, but one of the big changes will be the drastic decrease in quality in available health care in the U. S. if the prognosticators are correct.  Here you can obtain quality medical care for 20 percent of the cost of the U. S. in a private hospital.  The new rules for residency directing people to join the Caja for as low as $25 month is an afterthought. The INS, our insurance company, offers a health insurance policy for $120 month or lower with small deductible for those who want a private hospital.

There may be a surprise in many more people coming than leaving sooner than most consider possible.

* Among other qualifications, Ms. Jiménez is a professional appraiser and licensed architect.

A.M. Costa Rica

Your daily

news source
Monday through Friday
          San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Nov. 2, 2009,  Vol. 9, No. 216

Luxury home tax fine can be 10 times the tax
By Angela Jimenez Rocha*
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Foreign nationals should be especially carefull about the new lluxury home tax (casa de lujo in Spanish) because Tico attorneys and accountants have expressed confusion about how this new law affects owners.  The penalty for not filing is 10 times the tax and five times the tax if the declaration is not within 10 percent of what the Hacienda determines.

Particularly complex is valuation of a condo.

There are three different steps to value a condo, inside construction of each unit, the common area improvements and the land.

In order to address the issue of condo owners it is unclear in the law who is to determine the value of the common area improvements and the land which is separate than the improvements.  The safest way is for the administrator to hire a certified appraiser who has no vested interest as an owner to make two separate appraisals, one for the improvements like swimming pools, streets, elevators, walls, etc. and another for the land.

Any condo unit which meets or exceeds the 100 million colon threshold, which includes each individual condo’s percentage of the improvements, also must then must determine the percentage of the land value as step three.

We have had administrators of several high profile condo associations asking my advice on what they should do.

My opinion is there is a huge risk if the adminstrator of each condo does not assume responsibilty to make this valuation so each owner uses the same value for common areas.  The reason is if each individual owner does this and there are many different valuations, Hacienda may start an investigation against any owner.
The next step is determing which type valuation to  use of the many listed by Hacienda. This is very complex for those who are not versed in the techincal language of construction and architecture.  There are different types for single-family houses, condos, hotels, etc.   There are various valuation directions just for the different types of construction of concrete blocks and beams, window types, luxury bathrooms and similar.

In order to make the declaration, each owner must
file this digitally with the Hacienda and list the number of the plano catastrado, escritura constituion which list each condo units percentage of the finca madre or larger project, and be inscribed in Tributacion Directa as an taxpayer. They also must list from which bank the owner authorizes Hacienda to deduct the tax.

The values for the land are listed for some municipalities but not all of them so far as can be determined now.  For instance in setting the Escazú land values, the agency has the Muliplaza area listed as approximately $1,000 per square meter but Cerro Alto as $256 per square meter, which may be considered low versus current values.

The typical charge required for an appraisal by a licensed member of the Colegio de Architects and Engineers for 100 million colons is approximately $1,028.  This is required every three years from reading the Hacienda information, so owners should not have to pay for a new appraisal every year.

One of the most important items is the official depreciation chart which helps owners pay less tax by lowering the declaration required of the construction value, and it is vital to understand how this affects the values.

* Angela Jimenez Rocha is a licensed architect and has worked as an appraiser for banks and individuals for the last 23 years and can be contacted at and she has written this explanatory article at the request of A.M. Costa Rica becasue of her special knowledge.

Sharp buyers will consider tax when making offer
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

What is hard to determine now is the effect Costa Rica's new luxury tax law will have on real estate values.

The law went into effect Oct. 1 at a time when real estate experts thought that the troubled national real estate market was showing signs of recovery.

The law assesses a special, non-deductible tax on homes worth more than 100 million colons based on a complex system established by the Dirección General de Tributación, the tax collector. The computed values have no relationship with sales price or actual value. Tributación followed the law and is using replacement cost new less depreciation. This is a system that usually is used to determine estimated value for unique structures for which the comparison method cannot be used.

When a knowledgeable real estate customer looks at a property he or she will want to know the tax value computed for Tributación. And that amount will have an impact on what potential buyers are willing to pay.

A home with a computed value including law of about $225,000 will be subject to a $562.50 annual tax in addition to the taxes levied by the municipality.

A home computed to be worth $300,000 will be subject to an $800 tax. And a luxury home
computed to be worth $650,000 will be subject to a $1,900-a-year tax.

The taxes are not deductible for income tax purposes in Costa Rica, but they might be deductible in other countries. The luxury tax does not apply to vacant land or structures that are not used as dwellings. The tax goes with the home so that if a naive buyer obtains a home on which the tax has not been paid, he or she probably will be required to pay the outstanding amount, perhaps with a fine.

A savvy real estate seller will want the person closing the sale to prorate the tax so that the seller gets a refund from the buyer for the unused portion of the tax. The tax is payable every January, although this year, the tax collectors are expecting four months worth of tax from 2009 because of the date the law went into effect.

Tributación has not made any effort to educate the public about this tax, even though fines can be 10 times what should have been  paid but was not. In the case of a $650,000 home, a foreigner who is unaware of the tax could be assessed a $19,000 fine for failing to file the required papers and making the payment.

A.M. Costa Rica has created a special page where readers can see immediately prior stories on this topic. Editors plan to add to the summaries and links as other news stories are published.

From:Angela Jimenez Rocha
To: A.M. Costa Rica
Sent: Monday, Aug. 24, 2009
Subject: Despite funk, country well situated for rapid, positive upturn

Since Henry Kaufman is back in the United States, I have had some time to reflect on his constant use of the term black swan.

This  concept was made famous by the well known Nicholas Nassim Taleb, professor of risk at New York University, who has made a great impact on the financial gurus around the world.  He predicted while speaking at the Royal Society of Arts in England extreme scenarios which can easily lead to hyperinflation. He was quoted as saying "Give me a regulator, and I'll show you a way to make money." "Regulation is not a panacea, its dangerous."

After being in meetings with Kaufman and many of the large developers in Costa Rica for the past several months, I have tried to understand why most of them are having such a hard time finding liquidity.  Of course the normal sources of finance have tightened the purse strings and many never say no to borrowers just never say yes.

There are so many uncertainties in the world outside of Costa Rica that we may wake up one day and find we are one of the few places in the world disconnected from most of these problems.  I know that many in Costa Rica are in a blue funk wondering how they will ever become liquid again, but there may be a rosier future ahead than most believe for our tiny country.

In my business of appraisal of property over the last 23 years, I cannot afford to be a Pollyanna since I am responsible to the banks for the values I write on these reports.  However there is one tried and true way to determine fundamental values: Add up all the living spaces in the country and determine how much rental income this will produce.  Determine a value for inflation and discount the cash flow.

Now to the rosier picture.  Imagine serious unstable conditions in the rest of the world like war in the Middle East or global warming having a drastic effect or the aquifer in Florida becoming too salty to function.  A small fraction of those people coming to Costa Rica could create a serious shortage of rental properties driving up the values overnight.  In some minor aspect this has already occurred with the exodus of Venezuelan rich. Some of whom have bought property they keep vacant as Plan B.

I keep a constant eye on the rental prices especially in Escazú and Santa Ana as an index of how to access current values. Rents have softened in the past few months and I believe a large reason for that is that the influx of retired persons from North American have put off making decisions.  Any change in the psychology of these people can have a dramatic effect very quickly in this small market.

From:Your daily English-language
To: A.M. Costa Rica
Sent: Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009
Subject: Most of real estate market does not involve Gringos

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

With all due respect to your readers opinions sometimes they forget 95 percent of the real estate market is not made up of fancy houses in Escazú and Tamarindo nor luxury condos in Santa Ana or these new projects planned by the Forum and the Sabana Park.

The fellow who wants to know sales data at the national registry will find it very hard going since most people still do not declare the real values. Local municipalities are now making a greater effort to pressure owners to declare real values for their properties.  I recently assisted my own attorney in visiting the muni to check to see if he had to declare his house.  He was overjoyed that he still had a year before he needed to do so. The rule here in Escazú is you are required to file a declaration every five years.

Now in order to judge an overall change in prices, it would be best to start at one of the two government authorized mutuals whose function is mandated to assist in housing loans not commercial loans.  Since I handle many appraisals for one of the mutuals I can tell you that things are slower. The upscale housing market represents just a tiny fraction of the entire real estate market in Costa Rica.  Most of these properties are cash deals or some mixture of owner financing at this time.  I have written in the past that there are many ways to value property, but in my opinion the best one and most realistic is the cash flow analysis.

Take a condo that rents for $900 month and whose owner wants to sell it for $100,000.  Does this gross return of 10.8 percent make sense in a market where U.S. 30 year treasuries are yielding very little.  I watched in amazment when a local private bank makes an appraisal on an almost identical unit at $176,000.  Does this gross return of 6.14 percent make as much sense to you, given the fact that we cannot assume prices will continue to go up? 

I have been asked to do a valuation on some land which includes a hotel in Guanacaste next week.  The lender is interested in the land values, but I tend to look at cash flow potential not just comps, which is where too many real estate agents live in their heads.

Before everyone gets depressed, our strategic analysis of the future of Costa Rica over the long term is very bright.  The wave of baby boomer retirees will one day make people very happy.  There are only a few places in the world they can go, and Mexico is not one of them. So all of you owners who are not overextended, just wait.  Incidently, we discussed this with someone who owns 30 percent of downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma, recently who agrees with us.

Angela Jimenez Rocha
certified appraiser

From: rohailey
To: Harold - Orbit Costa Rica
Sent: Saturday, December 11, 2004 12:12 PM
Subject: costa rica trip for retirement relocation residency

Being the son of a world renowned author I have been told I have a good command of the English language, but adequate descriptive words escape me when I try to portray for you the incredible assistance Harold has provided me in becoming comfortable in Costa Rica. Let me put it this way, not only does Harold know everything you will ever need to know about Costa Rican tourism, but he is also a genius when it comes to knowing the ins and outs of Costa Rican customs, law, and just about everything else. Also his wife Angela is well known architect, builder, and certified appraiser of real estate licensed by the Costa Rica Board of Engineers and Architects

So whether you are considering a visit to Costa Rica for a few days or contemplating Costa Rican residency, Harold is without a doubt the most important person you will ever get to know and trust in Costa Rica. His assistance and expertise was off the charts, and I couldn’t feel luckier for having met him. Harold is one special character and someone you definitely need to know. I am now proud to call him my friend as well as my advisor.

Roger Hailey

TEL 305- 6062575 FLORIDA




Hello Angela We had a wonderful time with you.

Thanks for all of your help. You gave us so much to think about. We are interested in having you take a look at the properties in Punta Uva. I have all of the contact info, and will send it to you shortly. If you could look at the hotel on the beach and take a quick glance at the house and plot of land next to the hotel, as it is also for sale.

We are also quite interested in the plot of land on the beach. Just send us the account info and totals so we can send you some money. I will be in touch soon.

Thanks again, J.T


by lic. angela jimenez rocha

For those not native to Costa Rica it is not a dog but an inspector.

Banks and other lending institutions usually do not trust their own in house employees to do valuations so they hire outside peritos to value any hard assets from real estate to diamonds to cars etc. before they will make loans.

The most common job of a perito in Costa Rica is valuation of property and it takes not only the eye of an engineer but also that of an architect and real estate agent rolled into one person to create the most informed valuations.

For an existing house the perito will take the land value per square meter and the square meter house values less the official College of Engineers and Architects depreciation schedule based on the type of construction and age. Where the real art of appraisal comes into play is the so called L curve that most lenders use here. The L curve has to do with demand for certain areas and the eye and nose of the perito about potential resell values if the lender is forced to take back the property.

Unlike the U. S., red lining seems to be common here and many lenders avoid certain areas.

In Costa Rica, there are 3 main types of lenders for property.
1. Private Banks
2. Government Banks
3. Mutuals and Coops

There are numerous private lenders who charge much higher rates than the above and often non residents use this type service since the requirements of the 3 main lender types are much stricter than the U. S.

One interesting item is the Mutual Lenders in Costa Rica are not allowed to sell properties for more than the outstanding loan value. This is called lucre in Spanish meaning they are not allowed to profit from foreclosures. This is because the government authorized Mutuals (Savings and Loans or the old building society as we know them in the U. S.) are for purpose of helping the public rather than acting as profit center.

Today there are only 3 main Mutual Lenders left after much consolidation thru the years as the government has tightly regulated the Mutuals who also offer some of the same deposit services like banks and are fully guaranteed by the government. The Mutuals typically make much smaller more tightly controlled loans with far less default rate than almost any other type of financial instituition.

What does this mean to a borrower? If you get a loan from a Mutual you can almost be certain you did not overpay for the property.

Angela Jimenez Rocha has been a perito for 17 years after graduating as an architect, first starting with the government of Costa Rica to inspect projects the government was funding. After that she worked with several Mutual and Coop Lenders. She has done over 8,000 valuations and thousands of inspections for government Bono programs where any person under a certain income can qualify for a free grant of cash to approximately $5600 if they own a piece of land that qualifies for the Bono program.

Angela has very strict guidelines on how this money is used and it is parceled out as the work progresses. Her job is to make sure that the house is built according to code and that no budget over runs occur before the last payment is made.
Given the problems many foreigners run into with cost over runs this may be of interest in understanding how to keep within a budget here.

Angela has also built upscale housing and was the designer for the expansive vistors center for the famous Cathedral in Cartago. She is especially skilled in prefab construction to keep costs down and what most people do not realize is prefab construction can actually be stronger than regular brick and mortor.

Recently she has done a couple of appraisals where the asking price was about 60% more than her appraisal. When the surprised non resident buyers wanted to know why, she went over each item in a comprehensive 2 page report and simply tried to explain buyers must be cautious in a market when that old adage cavaet emptor (buyer beware) really means that in Costa Rica.

Angela can be contacted at 8330-1035 or 88271314or check her web site

From: "Paul Avalone" <>

To: <>

Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 10:33 PM

Subject: RE: costa rica

I recently retired to Costa Rica and rented sight unseen by email a wonderfull condo in Avalon in Santa Ana from Angela and Harold of Orbit Travel. They did exactly what they promised and their advice thru the months has led me to the paradise I hoped for in Costa Rica. Angela especially is an expert in all aspects of real estate and is a well know certified appraiser for the banks in Costa Rica. They referred me to an attorney who handled all my needs in obtaining all the documents I needed to live here. If you need any more info you can call me at 203-4028. Best time to call is afternoon or night since i spend my mornings in the pool at the condo.

Paul Avalone
former unhappy resident of New York City retired from the rat race at 56.


An A.M. Costa Rica guest commentary

An experienced appraiser addresses issue of property value

By Angela Jiménez Rocha*
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

After 22 years of watching prices and preparing many thousands of appraisals for the banks here along with private clients, I am amazed at the increase in prices asked at the

Angela Jiménez
Angela Jiménez Rocha

current time. However, the trend seems to be going up, and the construction costs from well known, reputable builders also have risen greatly.
If we consider the Central Valley, especially areas like Escazú and the newly hot area of Santa Ana, the price per square meter for nicely finished condos with amenities and security is $1,100 and up. For something like a Trump Tower lookalike, the price is now $2,000 per square meter.

Today it is hard to find raw land for $100 in decent areas in the Central Valley, and many developments are asking $150 to $200 per square meter for land. One of the well known golf course communities was $50 meter 10 years ago and now $250- to $300. 10 years ago Santa Ana was a sleepy little town where land prices were $10 to $30 a meter. Today it is booming with new condo developments where land is $150 a meter.

We are owners of condos and also an adviser to Avalon, which is one of the great, new condo developments in Santa Ana. This developer has had such great success that people are standing in line to snap up any new project he has in advance of construction. For most of the new projects buyers are asked to put up 20 percent for pre-sale before construction starts. This is a risk unless the buyer checks carefully who the developer is and makes sure there is a fiduciary or bond to guarantee completion.

But why is the demand so great? Costa Rica really has become a boom area for much more than North American retirement and second-home buyers. The country is attracting Europeans like never before, and thousands of rich people from places like Venezuela. The prince of Saudi Arabia just flew in and announced that he is increasing his stake in Costa Rica where he already was major shareholder of the Four Seasons complex. Steve Case of AOL-Time Warner fame announced he was starting a new $800 million project. Famous hotel chains have been lining up from all over the world starting new projects.

The cold hard facts are 78 million baby boomers are going to retire soon, and Costa Rica is on the top of the list for those wanting to leave the States. There is simply not enough space any longer in the Central Valley to accommodate even 1 percent of these potential new arrivals.

What the new comer to Costa Rica needs to understand is that

there is a two tiered market here. Housing like you see in the States and the local Tico market. Zoning for all practical purposes does not exist here, and the only way to assure high-class neighbors is to pay high prices for land. Does that mean you cannot find a Tico-style house for $25,000. I appraise these every day for the Costa Rica housing bank which is guaranteed by the government. There are lots of them, but most Americans would never feel comfortable or secure living in these areas.

Buyers come in all shapes and sizes, and there are lots of people who think nothing of paying $500,000 and up for a house. But the local people see that as a television dream since the average wage is $500 month. Many Ticos are leaving the Central Valley to live in areas like Puriscal which is nice area but does not offer the services most North Americans are used to. Even here prices are moving up rapidly.

I have nothing against real estate agents, but my profession is strictly licensed and regulated by the goverment where real estate brokers are not required to have any license.

My advice to a buyer is to inspect and appraise carefully before buying. Real Estate agents are fine for locating property but usually have no expertise in all of the risks that exist here which are much differnt than the U. S. Just making sure of the road quality leading to a property is something most take for granted, but Costa Rica roads and bridges often fail and the authorities are often strapped for funds to repair these quickly.

A couple of weeks ago there was a photo of 100 meters of road that collapsed near the University of Peace in Ciudad Colón where several upscale projects are located. No one knows how long it will take to fix the road or if there are other problems about to surface.

We have a recent client who has upscale desires, and we inspected and appraised a terrific house in Escazú for $545,000, which we found worth the asking price. But when our attorney checked the documents he found a clouded title the seller forgot to explain.

Next the buyers asked us to inspect a six-bedroom, 500 meter condo with incredible views and an asking price of $990,000. Our appraisal came in at $712,000.

On the other side, we appraised a tract of beachfront land two years ago which was titled. Many such tracts are not titled but are granted through a local concession. The seller was offered $450,000 by one of the largest tourist operators here, and we appraised this property at $850,000. The seller sold it off our appraisal at around $1,200,000 and, as I understand, it is now on market for $2 million.
* Ms. Jiménez, an appraiser licensed by the Colegio Federado de Ingenieros y Architectos for the last 20+ years, has conducted thousands of appraisals.


Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2008 7:49 AM
Subject: costa rica real estate prices 2008
First, thank you for your hospitality and advice. Also the coffee is a hit. Got back alright but had an 8 hour lay over in Atlanta. The guy who is selling at a 60k discount in Sonesta bought in over 2 years ago and selling at that price if he does, he will still make a big profit., aprox 70k. He can easily afford to sell at that price. He is lucky.My partner at another lot I have got out of his contract with Ramada with all his deposit back as he was involved in sales there so they worked with him. He is also lucky. I'm sure a lot of people are taking it in the rear these days. Again thanks for your sharing knowledge , Things will work out for me fortunately. Have a great day. See you in the future.
Tom Dicoco

Angela Jimenez Rocha is an independent appraiser and licensed architect and Red Orbita Viajes S. A. (Orbit Travel)
 is not in the appraisal, architect business nor involved other than advertising as a service to her.

Paula got promoted this is one of angelas clients for rental condo for last 2 years

From: Angela Jimenez
Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 11:44 AM
Subject: Paula Garrido-Intel

Garrido Paula

Latin America Treasury Manager at Intel

Ay que linda doña Angela!

si muchas gracias :D estoy feliz y con mucho trabajo jejeje pero muy contenta en camino real :) y de tenerlos como caseros a ustedes. Saludos a ambos y buen día


Muchas felicitaciones por este importante logro.  Angela.

This is a fellow angela did a valuation for and he needed a real estate attorney which we helped him with in 2012


From: Bob Gieser
To: Harold - Orbit Costa Rica
Sent: Monday, August 10, 2015 3:47 PM

Mario is a real gentleman.  I have come to know him a little more than just my real estate attorney.  He is really a great guy.  I should have thanked you earlier.  Sorry, please say hi to Angela for me.


Bob Gieser

Sales/Tech Rep


Holdfast Technologies

Master Distributor


606-348-4101-home/office alt email

Skype: robert.j.gieser


From: Harold - Orbit Costa Rica < >
Date: 08/10/2015 5:44 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: Bob Gieser< >

wish you luck just wanted to be sure mario is being nice to you

angela can list it for sale once you decide


From: Bob Gieser
To: Harold - Orbit Costa Rica
Sent: Monday, August 10, 2015 3:29 PM

Sorry Harold, I forgot that your wife did my property value assessment.

I hope all is well with you and your family and I thank you for your inquiry.



From: Trela, Joe (US - Cleveland) []
Sent: Monday, November 26, 2018 10:12 AM
To: Orbit Costa Rica
Subject: RE: alan harold

Hi Harold – thanks very much for all the help you provided us when we were in Costa Rica. I’ll definitely be in touch, and certainly will live by your ‘wise man’ theory (I believe in this already and live my life as such, but good to know there’s a “story” behind it).

Thanks also for the list of books, I’ll add them to my list.

I’m also going to read up on the world of Finance in the 80s and brush up

Joe Trela

Deloitte & Touche LLP


From: Shawn Parker []
Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2018 12:02 PM
To: 'Orbit Costa Rica'
Subject: RE: Buying property

Hello, Dean Baden ----you asked for a reference

My wife & I have worked with Angela & Harold for the last 4 years. In that time we have purchased 2 condominiums in Alajuela (one in Los Reyes & one in Concasa). Angela has helped us deal with maintenance and management issues in a timely and professional manner. Harold has given us great insight into the real estate market and buying process.

It is important to have an attorney in Costa Rica to help with setting up a bank account & facilitating the transfer of funds. Costa Rica is very strict about bringing money into the country, and you must be able to verify the source of the money.

We rented cars in Costa Rica through Angela & Harold for years, and then ended up buying a car when we began to spend more time in Costa Rica. Purchasing a car was relatively easy, but it only makes sense if you’ll be spending a decent amount of time down there.

If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call.


Shawn Parker

Parker Professional Driving School

Avon, MA USA

Cell: 508-958-7793





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