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Why are Canadians coming to Guanacaste Costa Rica?

Beach along Papagayo Gulf in Guanacaste Costa Rica

Canadians are coming to Guanacaste Costa Rica because of the great travel deals now available. yyzdeals.com shows round trip flights from Toronto to Liberia Costa Rica for $299.00! In 5 to 5-1/2 hours you can be transported from cold Canada to warm Costa Rica. Many condos and homes along the beaches of the Papagayo Gulf are only 30 minutes from the Liberia airport. 

It’s not enough, though, for a destination to be affordable. Canadians are coming to Guanacaste, Costa Rica because of the weather, of course, since the days are warm with low humidity. Spend your day relaxing by the pool or at the beach. They’re also coming because the people in Costa Rica are so friendly, helpful and welcoming. After all, Costa Rica has been named the country with the happiest people in the world. 

It’s an excellent time to buy real estate in Costa Rica. Buy a vacation home for winters and summers; buy a Costa Rica home or condo as an investment: rent it out if you’re not going to be using it. Buy now for retirement later – or just decide to retire now and enjoy life in the Papagayo Gulf area. Guanacaste offers a wide variety of properties, from a small studio condo to homes over 10,000 sq ft. 

Find out more about Costa Rica real estate.

 

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How far from the airport is your Costa Rica property?

San Juan Costa Rica International Airport

San Juan Costa Rica International Airport

For many people, especially vacationers, it matters how far their destination is from a major airport. A home in Escazu or Santa Ana Costa Rica is just 30 minutes from the San Jose airport. If you want a house or condo in Costa Rica that’s close to the beach, you may have a 2-3 hour drive – or if you’re headed to Guanacaste, it may be a 4-5 hour drive.

Since 2002, you can also fly into the Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia. From there you can be at your Costa Rica home in Playa Hermosa or the Papagayo Peninsula in 20-30 minutes or to Tamarindo in an hour.

Many communities throughout Costa Rica have small local airports that handle the smaller planes flown by the domestic airlines and charter flights. There are over 3 dozen of these smaller airports – some may be a grass strip.

Since they fly in and out only once per trip, some people don’t mind a longer ride from the airport – they’re more interested in the distance to a supermarket or restaurants. If it matters to you – be sure to check the driving time from the Costa Rica development that you’re considering to the nearest international airport.

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New solidarity tax on luxury property in Costa Rica

A new solidarity tax took effect October 1st in Costa Rica, adding a tax on luxury property. Unlike the regular property taxes which are paid at a local level, this is a tax levied by the country, a social tax to be used to provide better housing for the poor. This new graduated tax ranges from .25% to .55% and is based on the value of the improvements on the land, not the land itself.  ** This “temporary” tax for the next 10 years is estimated by the Costa Rican government to bring in $45 million/year and they estimate 40,000 people are living in inadequate housing. For the gringos who don’t like seeing substandard housing – now you’ll be doing something about it. At least they’re upfront enough to call it a Social Tax.  Read what one luxury colleague in Costa Rica has to say:

Yalile Alpizar

Questions and Answers on the tax

Since this is a tax only on the improvements, there won’t be any additional taxes on lot purchases.

**  10/20/2009.  Clarification just received: while there is no tax on vacant land in luxury locations, gated communities and resorts, for those properties with improvements, the tax covers both the improvements and the land.

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Colinas Paraiso condos Playa Hermosa Guanacaste Costa Rica

View from Colinas Paraiso condos Playa Hermosa Costa Rica

View from Colinas Paraiso condos Playa Hermosa Costa Rica

Colinas Paraiso are relatively new condos on a hillside overlooking Playa Hermosa, a quiet and inviting beach that has been awarded the Blue Flag Award. You can take an elevator to your 2 bedroom 2 bath condo with 1,600 sq ft. Enjoy stunning ocean views and many-hued sunsets. The complex has a community pool and barbecue area and there is covered parking. Condos here on Paradise Hill are currently available from $199,000 to $359,000.

Playa Hermosa, conveniently located between the Papagayo Peninsula and Playas del Coco,  is just a 20 minute drive from the Liberia International Airport.

Excellent restaurant choices nearby.

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Condominiums in Costa Rica

House at Del Pacifico in Esterillos Este Costa Rica

House at Del Pacifico in Esterillos Este Costa Rica

Condominiums in Costa Rica, from a legal perspective, don’t refer only to a building with multiple owners – the term actually can refer to single-family homes, finished vacant lots, or what we know as condos. It’s somewhat like rolling a condo association and a homeowners association into one. The ownership is fee simple, but properties “in condominium” come with additional restrictions and fees. You’ll want to work with a reputable, knowledgeable real estate agent who can explain all this to you. That’s one of the services that The Simms Team provides – we’ve been to Costa Rica and have met and worked with real estate agents there. Let us introduce you to one of our trusted colleagues there.

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Costa Rica isn't all cherries and blue martinis

Enjoy life - and research property

Enjoy life - and research property

This morning (July 29th)  A.M. Costa Rica published an article “Real estate shortcomings are beginning to surface”. Fraudulent land sales in Costa Rica have been around for years – so have land sales in Florida that turned out to be swamp land. Don’t ignore due diligence because you’re enchanted by the surf on the beaches and the unspoiled land and wildlife.

If you’ve ever been to Costa Rica, you’ll recognize the truth in the observation that many developments are just fancy entrance gates and perhaps some roads. Not all developments intent to take advantage of early investors – many have great plans, but don’t have enough sales or enough financing to proceed. Yes, being an early purchaser can get you the greatest rewards due to pre-construction pricing, but that’s because such sales bear the highest risk. Financing, sales, permits, new laws – all these can affect the viability of a project.

There are some great opportunities for buying real estate in Costa Rica – and also some great pitfalls. That’s why we introduce our clients to reputable real estate agents in Costa Rica that we’ve met and vetted. Since real estate agents in Costa Rica don’t need to be licensed it’s important to choose the right one.

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Costa Rica to raise property taxes on luxury homes

Knowing that low property taxes are one of the attractions of Costa Rica property, we were a bit concerned when we read on our recent trip to Costa Rica that property taxes were going to increase. Putting it in perspective, though, property taxes there at the new rate are still 1/3 of the rates here in Florida.

Below is an explanation from my colleague and friend, Yalile Alpizar, in San Jose. She’s also a fellow member of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate.

Yalile Alpizar of Costa Rica Luxury Estates

Yalile Alpizar of Costa Rica Luxury Estates

The Solidary Tax or Impuesto Solidario será recolectado por el Ministerio de Hacienda con base en la siguiente tabla de cálculo
By Yalile Alpizar, President CostaRicaLuxuryEstates  Dated: Jun 26, 2009

Numbers are in millions of colones:
Below 100 exent
above 100 up to 250 0.25%
above 250 up to 500 0.30%
above 500 up to 750 0.35%
above 750 up to 1,000 0.40%
above 1,000 up to 1,250 0.45%
above 1,250 up to 1,500 0.50%
above 1,500 and above 0.55%
The new tax will be applied over a period of ten years starting on July 2009. The income produced by this
tax will be used for erradication of tugurios or shack homes. The government has calculated that there are
approximately 40,000 shack homes in Costa Rica.
Owners will be asked to declare their fiscal value of their property every three years. Values are based on
the value of the constructions and the value of the land is not part of the calculations.
###

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Why Costa Rica? from a buyer's perspective

Vistas del Pacifico pool view over Papagayo Peninsula Costa Rica

Vistas del Pacifico pool view over Papagayo Peninsula Costa Rica

Why buy property in Costa Rica? In addition to a great climate (choose the cool mountains or the warm beaches) year round, beautiful scenery, natural preserved areas and great variety, there are the wonderful Costa Rican people, known as Ticos. In general, Ticos are warm, friendly, and welcoming.

Other reasons include their political stability (they haven’t had an army since the 1940s, instead spending the money on education and health care), high literacy (95%) and good health care. English is widely spoken, and you don’t need to change your money – credit cards and US dollars are widely accepted. Electric appliances don’t need adapters and they drive on the right side of the road.

Many of our buyers want to take some portion of their assets and invest outside of the US, in a non-leveraged country.

There’s no Paradise, no perfection – whether it’s the US or Costa Rica or Bora Bora. Come talk with The Simms Team and we can discuss the pros and cons of buying, visiting or living in Costa Rica.

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