ISSUE #400: March 26-31, 2012


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
Residencias Los Jardines /
Hacienda El Dorado /


Construction Log
Updates about Hacienda El Dorado

Rio Oro: the one company most advanced with their analysis confirmed info. which we had told them to be the case. We'll see.


Residencias Los Jardines
Property Management, Rentals, Re-Sales

Market Activity


Art of the Deal: The sale of 115 went through but only after a number of things fell into place. I showed the client several options. One they liked but it was more money and shorter term. The term didn't seem to be an issued but the price was. I got the client to come up a bit, the owners to accept a bit less for the full 9 mo. that they wanted it leased, and the purchaser and the vendor bridged the gap. We now have a perfect fit all around and everyone walks away a winner.

Other Activity: We had one other client --a hold over from El Dorado purchaser-- considering a purchase but he was having difficulty finding his rate of return on his investment.

Rentals: 106C was leased. This is the unit which I had had vacated for non-payment of rent...

INTERNET Woes: We have several UPS (uninterrupted power supplies) in our system --this are really electricity conditioners to help provide more stable, quality electricity... which act as surge protectors, low voltage / high voltage spikes, etc, and as back up batteries for power outages. Over time they fail. Several had. We replaced them... I'm now expecting a stable system.

WORK PROGRAMS: the re-landscaping along the eastern fence is now complete. We have some fill in areas to work on before we are finished.

The parking lot is ready for paving... finding a person and material (concrete or asphalt) at the right price is now the challenge.

Repaint the parking lines and touch up painting elsewhere, touch up stuccoing, and pressure washing some areas are still to come.

LEASE CANCELLATION: (epilogue) Last week I help a person move on. This week I'm asked by a known RE agent whether she should lease a $3,500 luxury house to him. I told her our experiences. She was glad she asked... I don't know what's going on but someone is likely to get stuck big time.



Unit 103: $172,500   See Unit
Unit 125: $140,000   See unit


Unit 109: $1,600 mo. Available May 1 See Unit
Unit 113: $1,500 mo. Available May 1 See Unit
Unit 116: $1,450 mo. Available April 1 See Unit

Site Plan-


UNIT #103
FOR SALE $172,500

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1000
Total area (Sq M): 93
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: Detached
Furnished: Yes

1000 sf., single story, detached, two bedroom, two bathroom, with a nice covered terrace overlooking a nicely landscaped tropical backyard. Breakfast counter, dinning room table for 4, parking for one car. Vaulted ceilings in master bedroom and kitchen/dining area.


UNIT #125
FOR SALE $140,000

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, + parking for one car and 33sf locker is a one bedroom home on the 2nd floor overlooking the large pool. It is ideal for a single person or couple —or investment property.



UNIT #109
FOR RENT $1,600 mo.
Available May 1

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1506
Total Area (Sq M): 140
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1 Story
Type: Detached
Furnished: Yes

This single story home (1506 sf. + parking for one car) is detached, has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, home office, living room wall / entertainment center along with a built in office and a semi-private terrace. In addition, it has a vaulted ceiling in the “great” room and two skylights. The covered entrance way is suitable for two chairs located next to a covered garden area. Once through the impressive front door, you enter the “great room” which houses the kitchen, dining room, office and living room. Upon entering, there is a built in wooden hutch surfaced with granite—it matches all the built-in furniture in the great room. There is a clothes washer and dryer off the 2nd bedroom. The owners have added many personal touches and have done a supurb job in decodrating the home.


UNIT #113
FOR RENT $1,500 mo.
Available May 1

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total Area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: Semi-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 one side by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer. The three other sides allow light, ventilation and garden views.


UNIT #116
FOR RENT $1,450 mo.
Available April 1

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
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 winds continue much calmer. Some overcast days and a couple of showers but not enough to really settled the dust... the rest has been sunny and beautiful.

MISC TIDBITS: The national stadium was built by China and given to CR about 18 mo. ago. CR had no real marketing plan (it's hosted 54 events since being taken over by CR and many of the vents were small). No money has been allocated for mtnc. nor do they have a maintenance contract or employees on staff... it's showing signs of neglect --artificial turf is deteriorating, stains on the walls, graffiti, washrooms neglected. Some of the 54 events were rock concerts... the rental agreement seems not to have included a clean up clause... a mess was left in each case. The cost of leasing the facility is so high, many events are going elsewhere... the building sits mostly unused and the sharks are gone...

As mentioned before, CR is trying to pass a new tax law. This week it was revealed that a number of the government ministers were guilt of under reporting the incomes and value of their assets and thus were tax evaders... It was also reported that a list of 100 of the largest companies in CR, some earning over C40 billion colones, paid no taxes -- it's really hard to make a credible case for new tax law when fixing the existing broken system is much simpler... no wonder the proposed system is so unpopular...

Main Access road in Pozos: It's been under construction for 6 mo. -- the distance is less than one kilometer... this week it had 5 separate construction holes dug in it... A huge new commercial building seems to be starting in the center of Pozos... this being added to three other monsters further advanced...

Semana Santa (Easter Week) is upon us --this is the biggest holiday period in CR... the next two weeks will be quiet ... after this will be good for traveling for those of us having the flexibility... while the high season will continue for several more weeks, the beginning of the low season is nearing...

ICE / phones: I've been having a fight (and loosing) re. my phone. The company claims I haven't paid and they cut off service. Yet I have paid and last month, I paid twice... I have the records but haven't had the time to fight it. I tried to pay again and would sort it out later... their on-line payment system was down for two days. It's an awful organization --they make great promises but keep few and aren't able to keep their basics organized and running...

Anniversary: On April 1 twelve years ago, I bought the property which now operates as Residencias Los Jardines. Those who knew it then, know the transformation which occurred. If the quality of Life includes the accumulation of stories, we must lead a wonderful Life... I can't spend it but I can reflect on the journey.

Milestone: this is the 400th edition of this version of the newsletter. The first several years saw a different version saw the focus mainly on the construction of the buildings and infrastructure.

Another tidbit:

Trimming The Fat Costa Rica Style
By John R. Holtz

In Costa Rica, the concept of planned austerity is another grand illusion fostered by good acting and lots of rhetoric to sell those concepts we all long for. Not to mention the song and dance routine selling the tax plan that will go to support an ever increasing national budget that we do not want.

As we look into the crystal ball, in truth expenses are only being shuffled around but there is not much tangible money reduction, if any at all. And the highly heralded cut in jobs of excess management has taken on a new form. Very similar to those little amoebas on the Petri dish.

You just cannot beat the Pimps of Poverty who posses all the tools and are entrenched in the political culture for centuries. They have a singular common goal and that is to grow. Consistently we are suckered into useless left vs. right arguments which in reality are diversions and not at all relevant to those issues, the tangible or defined issues of the day.

They say, “Poor me, my management (Technocrat) job has been axed from the 2012 budget and my family will suffer?”

Or perhaps, “We only received a $10 per month pay raise? Let´s go on strike.”

Well, listen up, because that does not apply to most pay grades, does not count for promotions and does not count for the myriad of benefits which all translate into cash.

This person or group who got cut from the first team and put on the bench only needs to send off another resume to that very same department head that fired her/him in the first place and voila…she/he becomes a well respected consultant at a far better net income than previously realized. Plus, work or not, the income is guaranteed for X period of time. This political art form comes when the official books then show sizable staff reductions while the former-employees are still being paid by the government.

Think of that! You are terminated and you now have in hand your termination benefits, proportionate alguinaldo (13th Month Bonus), vacation pay and the best part is yet to come. You will be a government consultant at a much better net income and can take all of the allowable tax advantages (Plus some) in addition to not being very productive and unsupervised except perhaps by a cousin or political crony. Don´t we all wish that kind of deal?

Why does it take an expert consultant to tell a city, any city, what white lines are needed to be drawn on a soccer field? Yet, there is a consultant in just about every province being well paid to do just that along with his/her assistant.

For the duly elected Chinchilla Administration this is a win-win situation because on paper and even more important in the press she gets to demonstrate trimming of the fat while on the hush-hush side of things she is still able to pay former employees and political pundits to perform do-nothing or do-little jobs. It is nothing more than an accounting scam of smoke and mirrors.

The amount of third party paid consultants and their corresponding payments “for services rendered” have increased 42% since 2008.

The father of this little scheme is our very own Oscar Arias and his brother Rodrigo when they very much needed “yes” votes to get their pet project, CAFTA approved.

An absurd example of this practice is the call from the conservative right (Libertarian) to decentralize government. In an effort to demonstrate seriousness in delegating responsibility, the executive government does provide XYZ funds to the provinces and municipalities which takes central government out of the control picture.

Despite holier than thou rhetoric quoting Adam Smith and Karl Marx among others at a drop of the hat, municipalities are not at all above self-serving politics. Just like their relatives on the flip side they will take care of each other long before they tend to the demanding needs of this Country.

There are 27 local boards of education in Costa Rica; all managed by appointed “locals” and each board operates autonomously from the others. Therefore, a board receives annual operating funds from the central government (MEP) and that money is unaudited and unaccounted for. In short, the educational funds administered by the school boards are being used for hiring more cousins, purchasing toilet paper, buying land, providing food, telecommunications and employing very much needed staff that comes to work once or twice each week at most. It does not take a Harry Potter stretch of imagination to understand what happens to that money. (La Nación and La Republica)

And, when it comes to money, political philosophy stops as personal well being takes over. Except in rare occasions, it is the “self” which dominates philosophy and that has no politics, limited ethics and founded on “me” economics.

Bottom line?

In politics, all politics, fat trimming is a myth. More effort, brain power and money are spent to find ways to get around the public´s want list than to do what was or is mandated.

As expats, there is not much we can do about this and we have to believe the practice is not at all limited to Costa Rica, but this is where we live. Other nations may well afford these practices, but Costa Rica cannot.

Since the expat voice is seldom heard unless the money stops flowing inbound, once again, I urge tourists and expatriates alike to let their wallets do the talking!

*John Holtz can be reached at


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

Previous reports