Rain, Fire but No Ice

ISSUE #195: June 30 - July 5, 2008


Rain, Fire but No Ice


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.


Sales: We are working with two purchasers to make alternations in their floor plans. We've completed and acceptable floor plan to a purchaser who wanted to combine two penthouse units in the Maya Tower.

Magazine Ads: Jan has revampted our print media ads so they don't become stale. They will begin to appear in "Immobilia" and "4 Sale by Owner / Developer".


Office Building: We continue to wait for the permit.


Fence: Block: We are finishing the parging on a one section and that will be all we expect to do for the time being.

Cyclone Fence: We will be having the primieter surveyed and staked and are in the process of tendering this work.

Use of the Well Water:
The D1 shell game continues. It's more than frustrating.....

Gaviones: We have applied for additional gaviones. We await approval of the new section. Why did we not apply for more than 40 m. at one time? Because that is the threshold at which the municipality can authorize this work and given the delays at national institutions, we felt this the less of evils. Besides, we are in no hurry given the wait we anticipate for other approvals.

Winding Down: This will happen next week. After that, we will subcontract out the cyclone fencing which will complete the perimiter fencing. The gaviones are also subcontracted out.



Roman is a young 24-year old Nicaraguan guy, who just like hundreds of thousands of his fellow country mates, came to Costa Rica in search of better quality of life, stable employment and a brighter future for himself and his family. He arrived to Costa Rica legally some five years ago, with a properly issued visa stamp in his passport. He hopes that by the end of the next week, he should be receiving a response from the Immigration Authorities indicating whether or not he will be granted a Costa Rican residency. All of his relatives, parents, three sisters and one brother are in Nicaragua. Two of his sisters are married, one is studying at the university and his little brother is still in the primary school.

Four years ago, Roman got married to a Nicaraguan girl and today they have two daughters - five and one year old. They rent a small house in Piedades de Santa Ana, a small town about 5 minutes drive west from the construction site of Hacienda El Dorado. Roman has worked with Brian and Paul for three years -- so unlike in Nicaragua, he says it is relatively easy to find stable employment here. He is a welder by profession, which he learned as an apprentice on another construction site, where he had worked prior to starting working with us. He and his wife are hoping that some day they will be able to purchase a small piece of land and build their own little house on it. For the time being, they are bringing up their two little girls and trying to save up as much as possible to get closer little by little to the realization of their dream.


Website Upgrade / Marketing: Photos of Residencias Los Jardines, the Santa Ana area and some of the houses are now available on line at:


Sales: The sale of 103 is now complete and 125 will close on Monday. Unit 124 is scheduled to close on July 15.

Flood: On Wednesday, we had a heavy, sustained rain. Our pumps and drainage system can handle that but when our neighbor, Kirebe dumps huge amounts of water on us, and water filled with diesel, we had some problems. We had been trying to get their attention for months but they wouldn't respond. We now have their attention (don't adddress it until after it happens--it's a cultural thing I believe). They committed to making changes on their side; we'll see.

Staff Changes: We have found a replacement for Esther. It so happened that a day before she announded her decision, a person with appropriate background posted a notice on a bulletin board I follow stating she was interested in such a job. We interviewed her and one other person and hired who we anticipate will be a good replacement.

Another change we are making, is the chief gardener / mtnc. person. He's become unreliable and a whiner. We're tired of it. In the crew at El Dorado which we will be dismissing is a great guy. He worked at building Los Jardines so is familiar with it and we are familiar with him. We'll train him in what he does not now know and in a few weeks, be better off.

Fire: It wasn't really a fire, just a lot of smoke but........ One of our owners left her house while a pressure cooker was on the stove. While I smelled smoke, I couldn't isolate the source. When I saw smoke billowing from the windows, I grabbed the keys, determined the cause, and dealt with it. The owner returned an hour later and was properly horrified.

A Bedevilling Problem: For some time, we've peridocially had the smell of sewer gas. Getting a handle on the cause has been difficult. It was first noticed after several things happened--each of which could have caused it or at least contributed. We are now going to do some re-piping hoping that we have correctly identified the problem.

Comment: I'm going to blow our own horn here so move on if you don't want to read it: When I think about the daily / weekly experiences we have. This week we moved in a client in 120, leased and moved in a client to 112, leased 107, closed a sale on 103, confirmed and secured the sale of 125. We dealt with a near flood situation and avoided a fire. In addition we have replaced two staff and are now in the training mode. I don't know how we could have done all this without being on site.

We have remained fairly active while agents tell us they haven't seen a client in a month or more. We had some expat owners and possible clients look us over. While they have been on our mailing list for several years, they seem to not be impressed with their property management company. We're not perfect but we seem to get the job done.

Units for Sale/Lease:

Unit #115 - Available for Rent

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1345
Total area (Sq M): 124
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1 Story
Type: Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,345 sf single floor home includes a 200 sf private terrace plus parking for one car. It is attached on two sides by a 6” solid concrete block wall which prevents sound transfer. This is an extremely well decorated home with lots of natural wood built ins.

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Unit 114 - For Sale

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.

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Unit 124 - For Rent

Total Area (Sq Ft): 662
Total area (Sq M): 61
Bedrooms: 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.

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Unit #107 - For Sale

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.

Read More


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July 03, 2008
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San Jose, Costa Rica (Reuters) --- Costa Rica's Central Bank sold $600 million in international reserves between April and mid-June to boost the colon currency, the bank said on Wednesday.

July 02, 2008
Costa Rican Congress Approves Ending Its 84-year-old Insurance Monopoly
(The Associated Press) SAN JOSE, Costa Rica: Costa Rica is saying goodbye to its 84-year-old insurance monopoly as it opens the industry to national and international competition.

July 01, 2008
Canadians Have Their Party Today!
(Inside Costa Rica) As many Americans get ready to celebrate their 4th of July on Tuesday, they know little of the Canadian anniversary celebration that is today, July 1. And like Thanksgiving, Canadians again beat the Americans to the punch.

July 01, 2008
Real Estate Growth in Costa Rica
(WeLoveCostaRica.com) According to the Colegio Federado de Ingenieros y de Arquitectos de Costa Rica in 2007 Costa Rica saw 8,500,000 square meters of new construction which employed about 152,000 people.

July 01, 2008
Costa Rica Real Estate Investing - In the Path of Progress
(WeLoveCostaRica.com) Where to invest? How much to invest? For how long? What's the risk? How easy is it to sell? Who will guide me along the way?


Weather: Normal rainy season weather with one hard, sustained downpour.

Lots of work and little down time.......
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