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Residencias Los Jardines - Life & Times

ISSUE #448: Feb. 24-March 2, 2013

...Life Cycle Completes Itself with a Twise!!

...Life Cycle Completes Itself with a Twise!!

Brian Timmons, Newsletter Author
Brian Timmons

Dear friends,

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.

Brian Timmons
DEVELOPER:
Residencias Los Jardines / http://www.residenciaslosjardines.com
Hacienda El Dorado / http://www.eldoradocostarica.com
E-mail:
brian@eldoradocostarica.com
info@residenciaslosjardines.com
ResidenciasPropertyManagement@gmail.com

 

Construction Log
Updates about Hacienda El Dorado

Rio Oro: We haven't made any progress on writing what we expect to be the last two chapters on this.

 

Residencias Los Jardines
Property Management, Rentals, Re-Sales

Market Activity

Sales: no calls. One offer on the go... we'll see.

Rentals: one call but they had a dog so...

 

FOR SALE

Unit #114: $235,000 Added this week See Unit

FOR RENT

Unit #102: $1,750 mo Available March 19 See Unit
Unit #112: $1,250 mo. Available Immediately See Unit
Unit #114: $1,400 mo. Available with 2 week's notice See Unit
Unit #123: $1,650 mo. Available March 17 See Unit
Unit #124: $1,000 mo. Available March 14 See Unit

Site Plan-

 

HOUSE FOR SALE

UNIT #114
$235,000

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: Semi-Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 2 bedroom/2bathroom,1,290 sf single floor end unit home includes a 150 sf front terrace plus parking for one car. This house is fully air conditioned and has recently been professionally decorated by international decorator Alcides Graffe and has undergone a complete renovation—new modern furniture, finishings, window coverings, and art work by Carlos Gambino. It is arguably the nicest furnished unit at Residencias Los Jardines and only steps from the pool.

 

 

HOUSES FOR RENT

UNIT #102
FOR RENT $1,750 mo.
Available March 19

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1922
Total area (Sq M): 177
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2 1/2
Floor(s): Ground
Type: Apartment
Furnished: Yes

This two bedroom, 1922 sf (177 m2) FURNISHED and well appointed home with AC, bright office, and covered parking is a single story home surrounding by manicured gardens in Residencias Los Jardines. It was completed 5 years ago and has been lovingly cared for since. It is situated on the ground floor of a two storey, horizontal duplex. This home has two split system air conditioning units for quiet, efficient cooling. It is in PRISTINE condition.

 

 

 

UNIT #112
FOR RENT $1,250 mo.
Available Immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,290 sf single floor home includes a 300 sf front terrace plus parking for one car. It is attached on two sides by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer.

 

 

 

UNIT #114
FOR RENT $1,400 mo.
Available with 2 week's notice

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: Semi-Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 2 bedroom/2bathroom,1,290 sf single floor end unit home includes a 150 sf front terrace plus parking for one car. This house is fully air conditioned and has recently been professionally decorated by international decorator Alcides Graffe and has undergone a complete renovation—new modern furniture, finishings, window coverings, and art work by Carlos Gambino. It is arguably the nicest furnished unit at Residencias Los Jardines and only steps from the pool.

 

 

UNIT #123
FOR RENT $1,650 mo.
Available March 17

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1516
Total area (Sq M): 140
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Floor(s): 2 Story
Type: Detached
Furnished: Yes

This two story, detached 1,423 sf home + parking for one car has two bedrooms, 2 ½ bathrooms and a 2nd floor covered terrace.

The open railed wrought iron cement stair case leads to the 2nd level where the master bedroom with en-suite master bathroom as well as 2nd bedroom and en-suite bathroom are located. Also accessed from the 2nd floor hallway is the covered terrace.

This is a very nicely furnished home with a good floor plan for those wanting two floors.

 

 

UNIT #124
FOR RENT $1,000 mo.
Available March 14

Total Area (Sq Ft): 662
Total area (Sq M): 61
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Floor(s): 2nd Floor
Type: Semi-Detached
Furnished: Yes

This 662 sf, + covered parking for one car, is a one bedroom home on the 2nd floor overlooking the large pool. It is ideal for a single person or couple.

 

 

 

 

Our Lives

WEATHER: we've actually had two showers, one a good soaking shower... and it is suppose to be cool and overcast for a few days...

All in a Week's Living in CR:

Accident Aftermath: The car is now repaired, good as new -$360. The driver who hit me phoned the employee who I had asked to attend the scene. The purpose of the call was to intimidate him into not reporting what he had seen. I had the lawyer intervene... this saga will go on and on...

Life Cycle Completes Itself with a Twist!!

Two Deaths: (1) the mother of one of our long time employees had developed breast cancer. She died this week and of course all the issues surrounding that. In addition, Independent to this, I had to give our employee his 30 day notice of termination because the work was winding down. Not a good week for him.
(2) Lita's long time ailing brother died. Twelve hours after learning this, she was on a plane to Toronto to rendezvous with the family who would then go on to the Philippines. I was able to arrange a fantastic connection to Toronto return for her--she will actually be returning on the flight our guests are arriving on...; the rest of the arrangements will be taken care of by her family.

A Birth with a Twist: We leased a unit for a month to a family living in Guanacaste so they could be near medical facilities when delivering their baby. While having a drink with a neighbor, I received a phone call. The connection was bad and the caller had a heavy accent. I arranged to call her back on a land line. She told me that she wanted to check in March 4 and that her baby was due March 12 and they wanted some time afterwards for recovery. Vicky had recommended Los Jardines. At this point, I'm confused. I said that while we did have swimming pools (I had been asked about that) and that while some people did stay here during their late stage pregnancy we were not a "birthing station" and perhaps she got some wrong information. The conversation ended with a question mark in my mind and probably her's as well... The next day I had a conversation with our tenant. Amongst other topic discussed was the birth of their baby delivered by a midwife named Vicki in the house the were leasing... only a few meters from our bedroom... now the question mark is gone and an exclamation mark has replaced it. I had no idea...

A couple articles I picked up along the week:

First article (hotel occupancy) is significant to me because in early December, a government report said that hotels were confident that this season would be better than last and they were expecting 79% occupancy... I thought at the time, someone was smoking something... this article says they were.

The second article (food prices) is not news. Why the results of the survey is even reported twice a year is surprising.

High season occupancy reported to be worse than expected
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A new survey report by the national tourism chamber showed that even in the most popular areas hotel occupancy was below 50 percent during December and January.

Those months are considered the peak of the high season and this also is the time youngsters are out of school and Costa Rican families are likely to go on vacation.

The survey results showed that the situation was even more grim on the Caribbean coast, the northern zone and the central Valley where occupancy was under 30 percent.

The Cámera Nacional de Turismo surveyed 152 hospitality firms all over the country during February. The firms represent 5,600 hotel rooms, the chamber said.

Despite the results, the chamber said that 40.6 percent of the respondents characterized tourism as normal and that only 6.6 percent said it was very bad.

Reported Occupancy
December to January 2013*

Region

Occupancy

Guanacaste

45.3%

Central Pacific

43.2%

Puntarenas

35.2%

South Pacific

30.8%

Caribbean

29.5%

Central Valley

26.2%

Northern plains

22.1%

* Cámara Nacional de Turismo data

As is typical, less expensive hotels and other hospitality operations attracted the highest number of customers. One-star hotels reported 56.2 percent occupancy, and two-star operations reported 44.1 percent.

Smaller operations also seemed to be preferred with those with 50 to 100 rooms reporting a 62.8 percent occupancy. Hotels with 200 or more rooms said the occupancy rate was just 15.6 percent.

The larger and more expensive operations are those that cater to foreign tourists, who appear to be in short supply this year.

The survey shows that hospitality operators perhaps were over optimistic last December when they estimated their occupancy for the Christmas season. At the time a survey of 142 operations showed the company officials anticipated 76 percent occupancy.

A chamber survey of occupancy from December 2011 to last March showed a rate of 70.5 percent.

The tourism industry has been hard hit by world economic conditions. But the central government also sees tourists as a source of income and has increased various taxes. For example, the tax to leave the country now is $29, which means a family of five would have to pay $145 just to pass through a national airport.

In addition, the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo has been paying for the Policía de Turismo under an agreement with the security ministry.

Arecent study by the INCAE Business School said that the industry had a weak strategy.

The tourism institute came in for criticism online in the Web site of the new Asociacion Para La Proteccion Del Turismo en Costa Rica for plastering the subways in Madrid, Spain, with photos of a tropical bird that does not even live in Costa Rica. The campaign cost $300,000.

An earlier campaign featuring a talking sloth and trip giveaways did not seem to have much impact in tourism numbers.

Tourism operators themselves also seem to be challenged in promotion and seem to rely on cheaper, less effective marketing techinques.
 

Supermarket prices are found to be highly variable
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The economics ministry did a study of supermarket prices, and the results reinforce the dictum that shoppers need to be aware.

The survey found price differences of up to 161 percent in identical food items. It also found that some beach dwellers pay top prices. Playa Herradura was the most expensive place to buy an assortment of goods called the basic basket.

The survey covered 40 supermarkets, 30 that were parts of chains and 10 independents, during the first two weeks of February. Prices on 53 articles were checked.

The same items purchased in the Palí market in Heredia would cost 95,132 colons or about $191.22. But at the Automercado in Playa Herradura, the surveyors found that the price would be 121,127 colons or $243.47.

The items included fresh meat and fish, cleaning products, personal care items, bread, lard, vegetable oil and even sliced lunch meats.

In one case, checking prices on similar items, surveyors found a difference of 720 percent on a toothbrush.

In the case of white cheese, the survey found a difference of 163 percent. Even tilapia had prices that varied by 93 percent.

Of course, all the price differences are not profit to the stores.

Merchants set their prices based on their costs, so that a store where the operator pays a much higher rent will see prices on the high side. In addition, stores that cater to expats usually carry a greater variety of products and also charge higher prices. The full survey is available on the Web site of the Ministerio de Economía Industria y Comercio.


Brian, Lita, the Late Hugo IV, irreverent Vicka, the pigeon toed parrot, Chico II and Chica II

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