ISSUE #183: April 07-April 12, 2008
When I started Residencias Los Jardines, I started writing a weekly news letter —determined to tell all the good, bad, and the ugly. I knew some readers would be interested in the construction process. I expected others might be interested in the lifestyle of two people who had decided to live outside the box. For others, the adventures of lita, the parrot and the cat took on an entertainment saga all its own.
Residencias Los Jardines is finished. We periodically have resales and rental availability. Some readers may be interested in this information.
More and more, the content will be dominated by events of our new project, "El Dorado" for short. While the future is always uncertain, I again aim to tell it like it happens —the good, the bad, and the ugly, and that is what follows.
In an effort to make the format more interesting and visually appealing and to field inquiries re. El Dorado, the news letter is now being distributed by Jan Kozak, Marketing Manager, Hacienda El Dorado. I will remain the author.
»MARKETING, WEBSITE & SALES
Realignment of duties and responsibilities: We are confirming that we have the info we specified. When that has been confirmed, we will pay as agreed.
Marketing: Jan continues to tweek the website and add little things—weather link, Google map on line with markers and pictures from his data base, testimonials, etc. We had a small article appear in the Toronto Star; it was disappointing in that it didn't include any of the pictures we were asked for and which we sent.
I was interviewed for a radio cast by an international marketing company out of Florida with whom we've placed print copy. It's going to take a lot of editing; I'm not very good at being interviewed. We don't expect much from this but we do expect to continue working with the company.
Human Interest Stories: I've asked Jan to add a feature to the news letter. I've asked him to photograph each employee and interview them. I've suggest different topics he might explore such that the resulting articles give the reader a picture of the lives of those people building the purchaser's dream and for readers to understand better the lives of the nameless/faceless many to are building CR and the futures of our purchasers. I've wanted to do this before but didn't have the language capability; Jan does. This feature should be included in next week's news letter or else I'll hold on to his paycheck.
» CONSTRUCTION LOG
Gaviones: The application for permits is in. We expected it issued Friday…we wait.
Office Building: The application for construction permit is in to one organization only to be moved to the 2nd. organization next week.
Quebrada Extension: We have continued with this work and have added about 80 ft. We have two more sections to add and that will take us to the end of our property that abuts the quebrada. What we are finding is that the neighbors are welcoming this. They see it as getting rid of a health issue as well as an opportunity to now extend their back yards when we cover over the culvert. Rather than fearing neighbor wrath, we are being welcomed with open arms as they urge us to do more and more. It's turning out to be a win-win situation and so far, all involved are happy. We have imported about 350-400 truck loads of dirt and need about that many more before we finish this effort. We are closed on Saturday it being a national holiday (Juan Santamaria Day) and will begin again on Tuesday.
» RESIDENCIAS LOS JARDINES
Website Upgrade: Jan pointed out to me that the description under the "HOUSES" tab of the website was way out of date. I reviewed it and was shocked that I hadn't realized it. This has prompted me to do a complete re-write of each unit and to develop a picture database. The picture database will be completed over time; those units which are vacant now will receive priority. Both of these additions will be linked to the news letter sent to RE agents on a weekly or as needed basis. In addition, we have asked Jan and our website designer to upgrade the look of the letter going to agents.
Photos of Residencias Los Jardines and the Santa Ana area are now available for public viewing at http://picasaweb.google.com/gardenresidencesresort. We will be working this week to complete the inventory of pictures and descriptions for those specific units which are available for lease.
Unit 107: Furnished: 1,716 sf (158 m2), two story, 2 1/2 bathrooms, separate built-in office area, private terrace, ground floor bedroom with 2 matrimonial beds and en-suite washroom, 2nd. floor master suite with east and west terrace, master bath with corner Jacuzzi, shower, bidet, large kitchen. $1,600 mo. April 7
Unit 109: Furnished: 1,500 sf (140m2), single floor, beautifully furnished with leather furniture and granite tables, wall unit, built in office area, large open concept LR.DR, Off., Ktch, two bedrooms each with queen beds, two bathrooms, terrace storage room, detached--$1,600 mo. April 1
Unit 115: Leased
Unit 120: Furnished: 1,300 sf (127 m2), single level, 2 bedroom each with Queen beds, 2 bathrooms, beautifully furnished with wall unit, 42" flat screen TV + two standard TVs, DW, clothes washer/dryer, vaulted ceilings, ceiling fans, etc. $1,350 mo. May 1
Texas Hold-em: Continues but it will take a pause as the principal organizer leaves the country on a golfing holiday.
Leasing and Property Management: Managing 29 furnished units takes a lot to time—especially when there is turnover. Units, to be maintained properly, have to be "re-conditioned" after someone moves out. This involves any number of "fix its" and replacements as well as cleaning, advertising / marketing, showing, contracting, paying RE agents, tenant orientation, etc. As property managers and leasing managers, we charge for this but we earn every dime. This is not a cake walk nor is it a "hands off" business. What we have essentially become is an all-suite or apartment-hotel for those wanting everything included and willing to stay for a period of time. I owned and managed a similar building in Toronto for 18 years. When I sold it, each unit was as good as the first day I finished it—and the person I trained to do that, is still doing it.
»EXPLORING SANTA ANA
While still in many ways maintaining its traditional feel of a typical Costa Rican town, along with its predominantly Costa Rican population, small stores, bars, restaurants offering local and international cuisine and Sunday fresh fruit and vegetable markets, Santa Ana has been recently experiencing real estate and commercial development unprecedented in the entire Central Valley. It has become the place of choice with upscale grocery stores, gourmet restaurants, banks, gas stations, medical and dental clinics, beauty salons, coffee houses, hotels, business centers, private schools, malls and small commercial centers springing up everywhere. Located on the outskirts of the capital city of San Jose, Santa Ana nowadays combines all the advantages of a metropolitan lifestyle with the comforts of country living.
Although it is located on the outskrts of Costa Rica's capital San Jose, Santa Ana offers a wide range of options where residents can do their shopping. AutoMercado (2 minutes from Residencias Los Jardines and 10 minutes from Hacienda El Dorado) located on the Lindora strip connecting old Santa Ana with San Antonio de Belen is a leading supermarket chain offering high quality fresh products such as fruits and vegetables, meats, seafood and bakery products. It also specializes in selling fine luxury imported products and prides itself for having the best and the widest selection of liquors and wines. Its customer service is impeccable. Plenty of parking options outdoors and a range of additional services are available within the same commercial center (a video/DVD rentals, a BAC San Jose ATM, a music store, a photo studio, Giacomin delicatessen, a bookstore etc.)
» NEWS FROM COSTA RICA
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There are also new articles posted in Spanish on the following URL:
» OUR LIVES
Weather: It appears we are on the cusp of the rainy season; this is very early this season. Most of our days have been overcast all or part of the time; some days we've had afternoon rains. The winds have died to "dead calm" or "very gentle". AND we don't have to contend with dust.
GE Refrigerator Woes: For the 2nd. time in a month, my refrigerator of less than 2 years old, conked out. This time, I caught it before all the food spoiled. Of course it died on a Saturday so had to wait for Monday to make a call. Of course, it took three missed appointments until the previous person finally showed up only to say that the problem was different, that the motherboard computer had failed and that only an authorized dealer (Mabe in this case) could repair it. He phoned in the service request; Mabe service department guaranteed response time is 3 days. I'm on day 5 now and haven't seen nor heard a thing. Saturday afternoon they arrive, unannounced. Fix the problem from a month ago and diagnose the most recent problem. Yes, a fried computer board. They don't have a replacement but say they can re-solder this one—I just happen to have a soldering iron and solder…They are working on it as I write.
Restaurants: Friday night continues to be "Time Out Tavern" night with it's great fish and chips and other good entrées…… It 's a fun, casual place with good food, moderate prices, and decent service.
Brian, Lita, Hugo, irreverent Vicka, the pigeon toed parrot, and the newbies —Chico and Chica.