We bought a Casita bro!!!
Hola Amigos! Welcome back to the Murray’s Costa Rican Adventure. We did a big thing this week and bought a house. I am literally sitting at my favorite spot Coconutz Brewhouse drinking a Lazy Hazy IPA and waiting to meet at our Attorney’s office to close in an hour, writing this blog.
We bought an amazing little casita that checks a lot of our boxes:
#1: It is big enough for our family including our dogs, Stella and Kylo, who we miss dearly, but are being lovingly cared for by my ROCKSTAR of a sister and her partner while we settled in and found a more permanent living situation. We are going through extreme dog-withdrawal right now and can't wait to have them back with us!
#2: It fits our limited budget (I’ll explain this in a bit).
#3: It has an ocean view! It's a peek-a-boo view for now but, we are told it will be quite amazing once dry season kicks into full gear!
#4: It is within walking distance to the beach.
It is nothing like what we had in the US (Kevin McCallister’s house) and is definitely not what our dumb gringo minds imagined we could afford when we made this crazy move, but it checks our boxes and we live in paradise surrounded by amazing folks from many different cultures. We will be doing some renovations to the house over the next 2 months, so stay tuned for progress pictures as we go along! For now, here is the current kitchen. While we will be having it redone, the ceiling will be staying as is - the natural wood is just gorgeous!
The process of buying a house in Costa Rica is very much like the US, with a few key differences. There are many realty companies in Costa Rica, but one of the largest and most successful in the Guanacaste Province is the realtor group we used, Tres Amigos Realty.
Our Realtor is Michael Simons (he is Mr. Coco who introduced us to everyone when we moved here and I mentioned him a few blogs back). He has been great to deal with on our journey and I would highly recommend his company to all of you. He also has an informational business/website called Tank Tops and Flip Flops that can be found here. Careful, there is about 20 YEARS worth of content on that site, so get ready to learn a lot.
One major difference in house buying in Costa Rica was the fact that it is nearly impossible to get a traditional bank mortgage in Costa Rica without being a resident and having a history of banking and credit here so that means you better come with the $$$$.
Sometimes, the seller of a property may offer financing for a portion of the purchase price, but it is usually 50% or more down and likely a maximum of 3 years financing. Due to this, our gringo dreams of a house on the beach with a pool were immediately squashed when we arrived. With that said, if you have the capital, Costa Rica is definitely less expensive than the US and Canada housing markets, and you can really get a lot of value for your money.
It is also more beautiful (in my meaningless opinion) than any place I have ever been and it feels safe. Yes, there is crime, no place is without it, but it is NOTHING like what we see in the US. Gun violence is not really a thing here and, thankfully, school shootings do not occur. The relief from that daily stress alone has made this move worth it for us! Crimes that occur in the Coco area are more crimes of opportunity, such as petty theft. I confidently walk these streets day and night with my family. You need to be smart about your decisions, but overall we feel extremely safe here. One example of NOT being smart about your decisions, would be how I got my Yeti stolen from my golf cart. I left it in plain site on a busy street to run in a store and when I returned it was gone. I am not even mad at the person who stole it (that is a lie, I would like to punch them in their face, only once), I am more mad at myself for being so dumb (this is true).
Buying a house here further solidifies our plans to make it work here. We are confident in the business and adore the laid back lifestyle we are enjoying. If there is any lesson we learned from this move, is how leveraged our life was in the US. We lived in a huge house with a pool, bought new vehicles every few years, annual passes to DisneyWorld, and wanted for nothing. We lived like rich people, but it wasn’t until we sold it all and moved here and are able to mortgage nothing that we realized how NOT real it all was. We had great jobs that paid well and allowed us to finance the mortgaged life we led, but we had very few assets that were ours outright and never felt a sense of true happiness. We redefined what being rich and happy meant to us. We have no debt now...we own everything we have and are going to try to live like this for a minute and see what we like better.
We are going to remain in the rental that we have been staying in until December while the renovations are completed on our casita. While houses are a little more expensive than we thought, renovations are way more reasonable and are a fraction of the cost we would have paid in the US. Rebecca is leading the renovation decisions so she'll provide a blog update as it progresses.
That’s about all I have for today amigos! It’s been a busy day and I am going to celebrate later with a drink in hand watching the sunset. Pura Vida Amigos! I am back off the Phillies bandwagon until the next time they are in the NCLS. Go Birds 8-0!!! Go Ravens for mi esposa! Let’s go Villanova and Penn State!
OH! And check out our new Youtube Channel HERE. We may have a budding superstar in Fiona!
Your Spanish palabra del día es “Pajaro” (Bird)…. Lots of amazing and beautiful Pajaros en Costa Rica! Thanks for reading!