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Residencias Los Jardines - Life & Times

ISSUE #511: May 11-17, 2014

Rentals: Not What They Used to Be!!

Rentals: Not What They Used to Be!!

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.

Brian Timmons
DEVELOPER / PROPERTY MANAGER
Residencias Los Jardines / http://www.residenciaslosjardines.com info@residenciaslosjardines.com
ResidenciasPropertyManagement@gmail.com

 

Featured house this week

Paradisus Condos / Rorhmoser
FOR SALE

Paradisus Condos - click to visit

Paradisus will consist of 4 towers in Rorhmoser, a suburb to the west of central San Jose. Not far from the US Embassy and shopping malls, Rorhmoser is a residential area that was developed in the 60's and 70's and is currently seeing significant re-development with high end condos. It is the area where the new stadium and a number of luxury high rise condos have recently been built with more on the drawing boards. Phase one of this development is nearing completion; it consists of two towers and the amenities -pool, exercise room, etc. Tower one is expected to be completed in January and Tower 2 should follow in February / March. The location of this development is superb... it's off the main traffic paths and sits on a ravine overlooking a river. To the east is San Jose / Heredia; to the west is Pavas / Escazu. With floor to ceiling windows and a wrap around balcony, these units offer fantastic light and views.

Each of the units consists of two bedrooms / two bathrooms, and a large living/dining/kitchen area. The floor plan of each of these units has eliminated the optional "den / office" divider. The result is a larger area offering more flexible furniture arrangements while still maintaining the option of including an office area. At 105m2 plus two parking spots each and storage locker, they offer a great opportunity for someone seeking views, security, central location, and first class, all round living...

Read more about Paradisus Condos

 

Loma Real Escazu / Guachipelin, Central Valley
FOR SALE / price reduced!

Loma Real Escazu - click to visit

$325,000 now $310,000 / 3 bdrms + maids rm / 3.5 bthrms / owner financing

Beautiful house in residential area: 24 hours security. 274 m2 construction. 2 story, 3 bedrooms + maids quarters, 3 1/2 bathrooms, ample eat-in kitchen, six years old, immaculate condition, lot 264 m2 professionally landscaped, two car enclosed garage, 1500 L reserve water tank, electric demand water heaters, Independent office. Located close to all amenities. Taxes $500 yearly and security $80 monthly.

Appliances and built-ins included. Furniture upon negotiation.

Owner will take back a mortgage for up to 5 yrs. @ 12% interest only.

View more pictures of Loma Real Escazu

 

Residencias Los Jardines
Property Management, Rentals, Re-Sales

Market Activity

Sales: one inquiriy.

Rentals: two viewings, two commitments, two busts...

 

FOR SALE

Unit #114: $235,000 / See Unit

Unit #116: $214,000 / See Unit

FOR RENT

Unit #107: $1,500 mo. / Available Immediately / See Unit

Unit #114: $1,400 mo. / Available June 1 / See Unit

Unit #116: $1,400 $1,300 mo. / Available Immediately / See Unit

Site Plan

 

HOUSE FOR SALE

UNIT #114
FOR SALE $235,000

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

This 1,290 sf. (plus covered parking for one car and two lockers 67 sf.) single story, semi detached house, with garden terrace, two bedrooms is a beautiful executive style home. This home consists of two large bedrooms one with six piece en-suite bathroom with additional access to separate full shower. Each bedroom has large closets with extensive built-ins for personal organization. The vaulted living room and bathroom ceilings provide a feeling of grandeur while allowing the warmer air to rise and exit through the ceiling ventilating system. There are four TVs (one in each bedroom, one in the living room and one in breakfast / dinning room.) This is a beautiful well appointed home.

 

UNIT #116
FOR SALE $214,000

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

This 1,290 sf single floor home includes a 300 sf front terrace plus parking for one car and a separate, secure storage locker. It is and end unit and therefore attached on only one side by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer.

 

HOUSES FOR RENT

UNIT #107
FOR RENT $1,500 mo.
Available Immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1716
Total area (Sq M): 158
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Floor(s): 2 story
Type: Detached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,716 sf. (plus parking for one car) two story, detached house, with three terraces, two bedrooms (one on each floor) and upstairs master suite is a beautiful home. This home consists of two VERY large bedrooms (one on each floor) with en-suite bathrooms and a powder room, each with large closets with extensive built-ins for personal organization. The vaulted living room and ground floor bedroom ceilings as well as the master bedroom on the 2nd floor, provide a feeling of grandeur while allowing the warmer air to rise and exit through the ceiling ventilating system. There are three TVs (one in each bedroom and one in the living room.) This is a beautiful home. There is a rough-in for a dishwasher in the kitchen area.

 

UNIT #114
FOR RENT $1,400 mo.
Available June 1

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

This 1,290 sf. (plus covered parking for one car and two lockers 67 sf.) single story, semi detached house, with garden terrace, two bedrooms is a beautiful executive style home. This home consists of two large bedrooms one with six piece en-suite bathroom with additional access to separate full shower. Each bedroom has large closets with extensive built-ins for personal organization. The vaulted living room and bathroom ceilings provide a feeling of grandeur while allowing the warmer air to rise and exit through the ceiling ventilating system. There are four TVs (one in each bedroom, one in the living room and one in breakfast / dinning room.) This is a beautiful well appointed home.

 

UNIT #116
FOR RENT $1,300 mo.
Available Immediately

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

This 1,290 sf single floor home includes a 300 sf front terrace plus parking for one car and a separate, secure storage locker. It is and end unit and therefore attached on only one side by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer.

 

Our Lives

WEATHER: The normal pattern of sunny mornings, clouding in the mid day followed by a short rain and then clearing has developed. A beautiful time of year...

All In A Week's Living in CR

Colon: The rate inched up a bit to 564.

Comments

(1) The new government foresees the colon undergoing a gradual devaluation over this year. To what level? They didn't say but speculation is to around the 600 level. (2) The central bank increased the borrowing rate to banks and therefore to consumers by almost 1% to combat inflation. (3) The new government has issued a demand that the government electricity monopoly (ICE) come up with a plan within two weeks to lower the cost of electricity. They equated the cost with the lack of competitiveness -duhhhhh- at least some one gets that... over the past year, the cost to industrial users of electricity increased 30% and if one takes a longer perspective -say 5 years- substantially more... ICE can buy electricity from Panama and Nicaragua now that tie lines are in place, much cheaper than they say they can generate it... And while the cost of living continues to increase, the number and value of imported cars continues to rise.

Renting is Not What It Used to Be: One agent brought two clients. Both committed. Things were looking good.

Client 1: He put down a $400 deposit and was to return that afternoon. He didn't saying he wanted his lawyer to review the lease agreement. He disappeared to Limon for a week but was in touch. He said he would come Friday at 3pm to sign, pay, and move in. He arrived with a dog... a deal breaker... He said he had forgotten to mention the dog and hadn't read the lease... I returned his deposit (a debatable move but I did) and wished him well.

Client 2: He, his wife, and child needed a place right away saying they were living in an apartment hotel because they no longer felt safe in the apartment. He left a small deposit with the agent with the promise to return the next day and move in. He delayed one day saying he was waiting for a wire transfer from his mother. When that didn't happen, he became un-contactable.

Note: We use to have good quality choices from which to choose. Note lately!

Entertainment: We finally upgraded our entertainment options... we inherited some 2000 DVDs from a guy who died... all neatly stored in boxes and placed in alphabetical sequence. Lots of the movies are old and obscure but... We also got NETFLIX and are learning how to use it. In addition, friends brought us a number of audio books... we have a lifetime of viewing and listening ahead of us... which is good since the local TV doesn't offer much...

Executive Pass: The Interncontinental Hotel Chain offers an "executive pass". Good for one year at a cost of $220, basically if allows the holder one nite at many Interncontinental Hotels, one night free with a purchase of one night, 50% discount (two for the price of 1) on meals for two, lesser discounts for groups larger than two -33% discount for 3 persons / 25% discount for 4 persons, etc. It seems like a good deal; it's honored at all restaurants within the hotel for lunch or dinner with few black out dates. I bought it...

No News Letter next week: I'll be away from Internet.

 

News Items of the Week

1. Alternative to SA corporations which avoid tax: Interesting but I wonder how long it would take the government to respond if many do this? And the cost of making the change may not make this an attractive option. We'll see...

2. Atlantic Sea Port: construction has started on the 2.8 km access road to the area which may eventually see the port built. While the port has not been approved by the government due to "environmental" issues, the government is proceeding with creating the road. It may be that the Dutch company which was awarded the contract gave the government an ultimatum. I find it amazing that a government which can build the 140 km "La Truncha" along the Rio San Juan in the name of "national emergency" and in doing so violate all the contractual obligations and environmental requirements has successfully delayed this project and has required the company to replant trees (10 for every 1 that is cut) and relocate endangered species way beyond normal requirements...

3/4: Exchange Rate: The price of gas is going up again. It has started to creep up -around 564 (up from 555 a week ago). The government is stating that the devaluation will continue on a slower path and has not identified an upper or target level. They basically say they don't understand the market and don't know what will happen.

 

1. Here a secret trick to beat that yearly corporate tax
By Garland M. Baker, Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Want to save some money? Expats using sociedad anónimas and S.R.L.s. to hold assets in Costa Rica can save tax dollars by converting them into a sociedad civil that pays no tax. A sociedad civil means a "civil society" in English. Yes, this is a secret to beat Law 9024 and the annual corporate tax.

Articles in A.M. Costa Rica on Oct. 28, Nov. 11, Feb. 17, March 3 and March 17 covered the ins and outs of Law 9024 in depth. Sociedades civiles are not new. Actually, the structure has been buried for decades in Costa Rica’s civil code.

The Code of Commerce, Law 3284 in effect since 1964, is the law that rules most types of company structures in Costa Rica. These companies are considered mercantile organizations. This means they make a profit from doing business or out of trade.

Sociedades civiles on the other hand, are considered contracts between two or more people where they put in money, assets or work for profit. The financial rewards are divided up among those involved. There is no minimum or maximum number of parties needed for a sociedad civil, but most legal experts interpret the civil code to infer at least two individuals are required for this kind of legal structure.

Six months of deep research by A.M. Costa Rica staff and legal expert Allan Garro of Garro Law, unearthed the many uses of a sociedad civil. This kind of legal body may qualify under United States tax code as a partnership instead of a corporation for tax savings too.

Garro said in an interview that a sociedad civil is much like a sociedad de responsabilidad limitada or "society of limited responsibility" known to most as an S.R.L. It is similar to a limited liability company in other parts of the world known as a L.L.C. One or more administrators can represent the company, and it can own all kinds of assets and enter into any kind of contract or do business.

Expats and Ticos alike have been avoiding using companies since 2012 because of the substantial tax imposed by Law 9024. This is not a good thing because holding assets in one’s personal name is dangerous. Gavilanes or vultures monitor obituaries and cross-reference the information with the Registro Nacional and Registro Civil looking to steal property of deceased people. Using a company to hold assets is usually done because it protects liability.

The key elements to a sociedad civil are as follows:

1. Capital is constituted by contributions by members in the form of money, assets and/or work. There is no minimum or maximum;

2. The organization is indicated by the words sociedad civil or S.C.;

3. The company can be formed by public filing;

4. Profits and losses are divided according to what is agreed, if there is no agreement, then according to amounts contributed. No party to a sociedad civil can be excluded from profits;

5. Members owe what they promise to contribute to the society;

6. A member not able to pay his or her promised share must pay interest on same or be responsible for damages;

7. Administration can be mandated to one or more members.

Now expats and foreigners have an alternative when buying assets in Costa Rica so they do not have to pay a yearly company assessment tax. Partnerships can now hold investments in a simple company structure for the benefits of all involved without worrying about the nitty gritty rules of the commercial code.

What is the down side? These kinds of companies sound great.

Garro said that sociedad civiles can be used for business ventures but are not convenient to be used for same. If a company gets into financial problems, a third party can petition the court to dissolve the company to cover it debts. This differs from the normal company structure where the firm must go through bankruptcy, a messy affair in Costa Rica like probate.

Sociedades civiles are the perfect structure for holding property and other assets where no third party debt is involved. They are designed for one or more persons to get involved in an investment for profit working as a partnership. One person can own this kind of company structure, too, as long as he or she forms it with another who later relinquishes their portion. A clearly defined constitution or contract is necessary so everyone involved know where he or she stands concerning contributions and dividing profits.

Great news for expats is the fact that an already existing sociedad anónima or S.R.L can be converted to an S.C. to avoid future Law 9024 taxes. A whopping tax saving over time.

This begs the question: Will the Costa Rican government close this loophole? Legal experts agree it is doubtful because this kind of company structure is part of the civil code and not the commerce code. The structure is civil in nature like a marriage, not trade as in selling things to others.

2. Moin Sea Port

This is the opening of a trail of 2.8 km, which allow the passage of machinery to the site where the Dutch giant APM Terminals will harbor with a pier 1,500 meters and 5 berths. To do this, it will hire about 1,000 workers.

The project has faced stiff opposition from the workers union Japdeva, which operates the state docks in Limon. However, since the court upheld the $ 6.5 million road that will link Route 32 with Moin.

That road will serve for the passage of hundreds of vans, trucks and heavy machinery to build the Moin Container Terminal (TCM).

The work is known as Route 257 and is constructed through a farm in the Costa Rican Oil Refinery. It began seven months late by trouble with environmental permits.

This is the first hurdle that circumvents the project. The start of construction of the mega-port was planned for late last year. However, at this point, the company has not yet received permission from environmental viability of the National Environmental Technical Secretariat (Setena).

"We are pleased with the start and progress of Route 257, as it represents a very important for the start of construction step," said Rogelio Douglas, spokesman for APM Terminals.

José Chacón Laurito, deputy transport minister of the previous government, said that during the past administration faced complications to take the first step: build the road.

"It has not been easy. We had to face appeals and precautionary measures to prevent us work, but thanks to an excellent team of professionals, has taken the task ahead. Failure to complete this project, it would affect, in my opinion, the country's competitiveness, "he said.

The new Transport Minister Carlos Segnini, called the project important for the country. However, in consultations of the Nation, asked for time to get to know the state of affairs of the concession plan for 33 years.

Contrary. José Luis Castillo, official of the Board of Port Administration and Economic Development of the Atlantic (Japdeva), does not consider the construction of the road is the first indication that the Dutch materialize the project.

"We will always insist that this road is not public or national interest; clearly is to fulfill a contractual clause. It is a necessary road; is useful only for Moin Container Terminal.

"The mother of this project initiative is challenged in court. This road has the problem is that if the primary plan is made, will be in the air, "said the union leader.

Works. Work on the trail, which will serve to build a ramp, began on April 8 after a long administrative process to overcome, appeals, writs of amparo and precautionary measures. The National Roads Authority (Conavi) expects to complete the first phase of construction in the second week of June.

Works are in charge of the company MECO and to make room for the four lanes (after the third stage list) had to cut 1,039 trees, according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT). The track has a width of 40 m.

"Never been done in the country as complete as this with regard to environmental protocols road; from transplanting trees, reforestation and relocation of species ... "said Juan Bonilla, Unit of Environmental and Social Management MOPT.

According to the Ministry of Environment and Energy (Minae), in the trees sangrillo, poró, hawk, guácimo it guaba and cedar were cut.

"None of these species is in danger," said Edwin Cyrus, manage Minae in Limon.

MOPT pledged to plant 10 trees for every one cut. In addition, the commercial timber will be donated to schools Moin and Limon Liverpool.

The reforestation process will be overseen by the Minae.

"We had permission to clear 60 meters wide, but only 40 were cleared and 10 meters left, on each side, as right of way," Bonilla said.

Carlos Jimenez, Conavi engineer said that in the first stage will have two lanes ballast seven meters wide each.

"Over here is going to move heavy machinery, heavy rock wagons, vans and trucks with fine material with metal or rods; everything the dealer need to build, "Jimenez said.

He explained that to shape the bearing surface, a layer of river rock was placed 80 inches; then a filling of ballast. "This road is going to be a public road, but this is a national route that will be for the service of the people," he added.

In later stages, the road will include a high bridge over the river Moin not to interrupt the passage of boats.

3. Stronger dollar continues to drive increases in regulated motor fuels
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. dollar keeps gaining value against the Costa Rican colon, and that makes many expats who receive their income from overseas happy.

But their joy will be diminished when they go to the service station for a fillup. The agency that regulates prices is increasing the cost of fuel again, mostly based on the increased valued of the U.S. dollar. However, the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Púbicos is behind by a month and by 11 colons.

The agency said it was basing it new price on the international cost of petroleum and the exchange rate to buy a U.S. dollar of 510.13 colons. That was the price in early April.

However, the Banco Central de Costa Rica said the price to buy a dollar today is 561.26 colons.

The new fuel prices will go into effect as soon as they are published in the official La Gaceta newspaper.

The agency said that super gasoline was going from 756 colons per liter to 773 colons and that plus gasoline was going from 723 to 752. Diesel actually was going down a single colon to 574.

There was no clear explanation for the changes.

The result of the increases is that plus gasoline will break the $5-a gallon-mark. A U.S. gallon will cost $5.07 at the new price of 752 colons per liter, which is up 29 colons. Super will be $5.21, up 11 U.S. cents from the last price fixing in early April.

Diesel will continue to be $4.55 per gal.

4. Dollar price goes from big jumps to oscillate between 540 ¢ and 560 ¢

After strong jumps recorded the dollar in the first half of the year from March 18 stabilized in a range of between 540 ¢ and 560 ¢, with a slight upward trend.

The professor of the National University, Marvin Acuna, said that part of the greater stability that comes from people absorbed in their accounts and a higher rate of change.

"Volatility is lower because you and I and other operators have budgeted in all our business decisions a higher rate of change," he said.

Meanwhile, the economist Norbert Zuniga added another list of reasons, among them, "external factors such as the stability of international interest rates and the gradual and transparent management of the monetary policy of the Federal Reserve absorption of United States."

Domestically contributes observed the same strong devaluation policy of central bank intervention in the exchange market, the consequent monetary absorption, the rise in the different domestic interest rates, the greater confidence in the management by monetary authorities and lower expectations of devaluation.

According to the survey of academic economists and published by the Central Bank in April, the expected devaluation in the coming months is 4.2%; less than 5.6% in February and March.

On behalf of the Government, the data supplied by the Ministry of Finance indicate that maintain a similar sale of dollars and still not begin to spend $ 1,000 million last issue.

Recall that one of the factors that drove the dollar earlier this year, was the retail sale of foreign currency by the Government. According to figures supplied by the National Treasury, the government sold $ 50 million in January; $ 65 million in February; $ 75 million in March; $ 20 million in April and $ 40 million so far in May.

As of May 9, the latest issue of Eurobonds of $ 1,000 million remained intact, Finance Minister, Helio Fallas said.

One of the legacies left by the increased volatility was a major foreign exchange margin (difference between purchase and sale), then a year ago, the margin was about ¢ 11 and ¢ are currently almost 14.

In the future. Towards future, the price of the currency is difficult to predict because it depends on many factors.

In this regard, Zúñiga said that economic science has not been able to estimate a model to predict accurately the behavior of the exchange rate; however, he and Acuna are more inclined to the devaluation.

Zuniga believes that if strong fiscal imbalances, low economic growth and the loss of competitiveness are not met, economic logic suggests that could eventually be reflected in upward pressure in key macro prices, including the exchange rate.

Acuña also warned that depends on many factors, but expect a further devaluation of the colon in the rest of the year.

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

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