... Vacancies!!...

ISSUE #462: June 2 - 8, 2013


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
Residencias Los Jardines / https://www.residenciaslosjardines.com info@residenciaslosjardines.com


Featured house this week

UNIT #112:
FOR RENT: $1,200 mo.
Available Immediately

Unit 114

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

Full details of Unit


Residencias Los Jardines
Property Management, Rentals, Re-Sales

Market Activity

Sales: one client.

Rentals: no calls nor viewings.



Unit #114: $235,000 / See Unit


Unit #112: $1,250 mo. / Available Immediately / See Unit

Unit #113: $1,350 mo. / Available July 1 / See Unit

Unit #123: $1,650 mo. / Available July 1 / See Unit

Unit #124: $1,000 mo. / Available Immediately / See Unit

Site Plan



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 #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 Story
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 #113
FOR RENT $1,350 mo.
Available July 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 #123
FOR RENT $1,650 mo.
Available July 1

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 Immediately

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: the rainy season continued with overcast skies and normal rains... only one significant electrical / thunderstorm and it was not centered here

All in a Week's Living in CR:

Check-ins: this is usually the period one gets to know the "real" tenant. Sometimes, there are surprises like this week. Clients bring with them their issues and phobias; we have to deal with them -up to a point.



News Items of the Week

President seeks to make public worker strikes illegal
By Garland M. Baker, Special to A.M. Costa Rica

There is a great way to protect property and foil attempts by property thieves in Costa Rica by using Registro Nacional Digital asset monitoring service. The best news is the latter is cheap, only $15 per year. There is no better way to protect a property in Costa Rica for $1.25 a month. Expats can also save money by using the other many service offerings. The system now includes more certifications plus many free reports.

The login instructions published on May 2, 2011, are still accurate. Access to certifications and free reports, verification of certifications, and to find out how much is due for a company’s yearly tax, now have direct links.

The property monitoring service provides a user of the service an immediate alert if there is any movement on a covered asset, which includes real property as well as some personal property assets like vehicles. The Registro Nacional records a lot of information about an asset, including these: where the property is located, its ownership, size, fiscal value.

Details regarding easements, liens, annotations and other important information are also present on the report. Any information change triggers an alert. Think of it like a picture of an asset. If the picture changes, even in the slightest way, a user gets an email and cell phone text message.

An expat using the service sent his accountant to pay the property taxes on his family’s home that was three years in arrears. The accountant paid the tax to the municipality that corresponded to his neighborhood on a Wednesday in the afternoon. Unbelievably, the next day on Thursday, the Registro Nacional had already changed the fiscal value of the property to up the tax for next year and the expat started to receive emails and text messages.

Actually, the Registro kept sending messages until he had to call and complain. Notifying people of pending tax increases is only an added benefit of the system. Alerting owners of property theft and other foul play is its main purpose.

It is easy to sign up and use the system. The first step is to set up an account with the Registro National. The second step is to purchase the service using the shopping cart requiring a credit card. American Express is not accepted, only Visa and Master Card. Remember, real property as well as some personal property like a vehicle is coverable. The third and final step is to select the service at the top of the menu called Bienes Monitoreados and add the asset to the system.

There is a rumor floating around a few well-connected people pushed this part of the law though for personal gain. Most other services existing before are now defunct. Whatever the case, this is an excellent addition to the Registro Nacional’s offerings.

Others are the free services. Which is the third item on the menu named Consultas Gratuitas. There is a star next to the section. It is important to note, these free reports are informative not certifications. However, they contain most of the same important information. Two of the many great free reports for home and property owners are the Consulta por Número de Finca and the Consulta de Plano. The first being, property report by finca number, and the later, plat report. A finca is the term used for lots and property parcels in Costa Rica, no matter the size.

The Consulta por Número de Finca gives an owner the property record, the Consulta de Plano is the information on the history of divisions. Actual digital pictures of plats are also available for many properties including hi-resolution versions but they must be purchased.

Not too many years ago every time someone needed something from the Registro Nacional, Costa Rica’s public records source, they had to go there physically or send a messenger. Most people paid their legal professional to get the information at a very high price. Most importantly, it was just downright inconvenient.

Over the past few months, the Registro Nacional Digital is under going some maintenance on the weekends. These outages are to make improvements and to add more reports and options. The cost of certifications has not risen much since the service began. The only noticeable difference is due to exchange rate fluctuations. Certification costs 2,800 colons today, or $5.70. They cost the same in 2011. Expats will find the Web site in Spanish.

Having the site in English would be a nice addition. However, there is a great work around. Google, for example, offers a feature incorporated in search engine called translate this page. The translation is highly accurate and almost as good as having the web site translated natively into English.

Why pay a legal professional an average price of $40 for a report obtainable for $6. Both have the same validity. Some institutions were slow adopters in accepting the documents as legal but most do today. It is the law to accept the documents. An interesting note: the documents all use to be in blue. If one took them to an institution and they were not printed in blue, there was a good chance they would not be accepted.

Today, that is not the case. All documents are printed using black ink. Actually, the certifications are legal even if they are not printed but just a digital image on an electronic device. Who wants to print on paper anymore? Next time just put it on an iPad.

From: https://www.amcostarica.com/060313.htm

Walmart invests $40.2 million in opening of six new Maxi Pali stores

Six new Maxi Pali stores, opened in 2013 represent an investment of $40.2 million on the part of Walmart in Costa Rica. The new stores are located in Alajuelita, Heredia, San Rafael Abajo, Mercedes Norte, Limón and Esparza and will be served by a new $70 million distribution center in Coyol, Alajuela.

Full Article Published in La Nacion on Jun 3, 2013

Country used asphalt unfit for vehicular load and temperature

According to experts, the type of asphalt used in road construction is not adequate for the local climate, and as a result cracks quickly and loses its resistance to water. The sole importer of asphalt is the Costa Rican Oil Refinery (Recope), which only has the capaity to import two out of the three recommended types.

Full Article Published in La Nacion on Jun 3, 2013

China will finance solar panels for 100 percent coverage

An $30 million agreement for the purchase of 50,000 solar panels will be signed by the President of China, Xi Jinping and President Laura Chinchilla on Monday at the Presidential Palace. Once installed, the 28,000 panels are hoped to bridge the gap to provide 100 percent electrical coverage in homes nation-wide.

Full Article Published in La Nacion on Jun 3, 2013

Economist calls for Costa Rica to fully dollarize its economy

June 3rd, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) The influx of dollars into the Costa Rican economy has made difficult the Central Bank’s ability to control the exchange rate under the current “band” system. Now, calls are being made for Costa Rica to dollarize its economy.

The economist and president of the Institute for Enterprise Development and Social Action, Luis Loria, proposes that Costa Rica should take advantage of the situation and follow the path of full dollarization.

Dollarization refers to a country abandoning its own currency and replacing it fully with the U.S. Dollar, as in Panama. Loria says that such a move makes sense for Costa Rica.

To accomplish this, Loria said that Costa Rica would have two tasks to accomplish: approve the bill known as “Monetary Responsibility, Financial Integration, and Dollarization,” and to replace all of the outstanding colones with dollars using an agreed upon conversion rate (¢ 500 to $1, for example).

The economist says that the process could be completed without the need to borrow dollars, thanks to the large amount of reserves held by the Central Bank – some $7.9 billion.

Loria said that if dollarization were to occur, people would have better access to loans in dollars, whose interest rates are almost half of those in colones, which would make many projects feasible that today are not, due to the high interest rates on colones.

However, The president of the Central Bank, Rodrigo Bolaños proposes a different path: “colonization.”

Colonization would reduce the relative importance of the dollar, and Bolaños believes that the high level of dollarization currently in the economy poses risks, such as exchange rate vulnerability which affects those earning money in colones but who have loans in dollars, as well as the cost to the country of maintaining high reserves of dollars.

Bolaños believes that a country as small as Costa Rica should not be in a position of not controlling its own monetary policy in order to deal with any shocks in the economy.

Researcher Miguel Gutierrez agrees with Bolaños. “A country without its own currency has no mechanism for dealing with a crisis, it moves with the ups and downs of the dollar and depends on the decisions of others,” he said.

From: https://insidecostarica.com/

China Buys Costa Rica for $1.5 Billion

Costa Rica News – Let’s all be honest here. Costa Rica and Laura Chinchilla just sold the soul of Costa Rica. The price tag was $1.5 Billion, but I guess we can add that to the running total which includes the national stadium.

Do not forget that this includes a $900 Million line of credit for an oil refinery on the Caribbean coast. Showing once again that the Costa Rica government is not really wanting to go “green” and be carbon neutral. It also shows once again they do not care about the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.

During an official visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the two countries signed nine cooperation agreements totaling $1.5 billion that will provide resources for improving Costa Rican roads and public transit fleets, purchasing solar panels and the building of a new police school.

Costa Rica is the only Central American country that has diplomatic relations with China, the world’s second-largest economy, and has been rewarded with projects and visits by two sitting Chinese presidents since it first recognized the Asian giant over Taiwan in 2007.

The refinery, in Puerto Limon, is small and old and refines about 18,000 barrels of imported crude a day. The remodel could boost production to 65,000 barrels a day, with the Chinese sharing in the profits. Costa Rica sought help from China in updating the facility.

But the project is under debate as Costa Rican economists and politicians question the Chinese feasibility studies, and say the money would be better spent seeking alternative forms of energy.

Rene Castro, minister of environment and energy, said that the agreement only means having a line of credit available and that Costa Rica’s government still has asked state universities for analysis to determine whether the project is feasible.

The Chinese also ratified Costa Rica’s sanitary protocol to allow the export of pork to China, while the largest dairy business in the country, Dos Pinos, announced new exports of fresh and flavored milk.

Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla said her country will make the visa process more flexible to increase the number of Chinese tourists and business vistors.

Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo said Costa Rica will speed up the process for Chinese who already have visas from other countries, such as the U.S. and European Union, and will add people in the Beijing and Shanghai consulates to process paperwork quicker.

China has more than 100 million tourists traveling worldwide, Castillo said, noting that if Costa Rica could get 500,000 of them, it would boost tourism visits by 25 percent. Currently Chinese tourism to Costa Rica is very small because of visa problems.

But the Costa Rica government is making sure these tourists are pushed to the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. If there is an oil spill they are not worried as it will only hurt the a coast filled with people that the leaders of Costa Rica with their racism have deemed unimportant.

But I am sure this president as well as some of the former presidents will have a nice retirement villa waiting after this term in office. Bought and financed by China.

From https://www.costaricantimes.com

Sala IV orders action on arsenic in drinking water
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sala IV constitutional court Wednesday ordered the central government to make a detailed study of why tap water in Guanacaste contains arsenic. It also told officials to provide the region with potable water that does not contain arsenic and to determine how the chemical can be removed.

This was the decision long awaited by residents of the area. The unanimous decision named the Ministerio de Salud and the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados.

Residents of the area, including Bagaces and Cañas, filed the constitutional court appeal in mid-April after waiting for the central government to take action. They noted that more than a year ago, President Laura Chinchilla declared an emergency based on the problems with the water, but nothing has been done since.

The court added that the chemical can produce ailments such as degeneration of the liver, cardiac damage and damage to blood vessels. The decision said that the problem could affect a vast area of the country.

Arsenic is naturally occurring in rocks here and some has been added to the soil by small-scale gold mining over the years.

The original presidential decree cited problems in communities in Alajuela province and in the canton of Bagaces, Cañas and La Cruz in Guanacaste. The court also specified northern Alajuela province.

In its decision the court said that the World Health Organization sets the safe limit for human consumption of arsenic at 10 micrograms per liter of water. That's 10 parts per billion. Acueductos y Alcantarillados provides water with up to 187 micrograms of arsenic per liter, said the court.

The court gave the health ministry and the water company six months to determine the cause of the contamination in conjunction with the Servicio Nacional de Aguas Subterráneas Riego y Avenamiento.

Meanwhile, the government agencies were told to adopt the necessary means so that the affected population receives the water it needs. The court also said that the quality of the water should be checked every three months.

Once the agencies determine the cause of the arsenic pollution, they were told to make the information available to the public and to take steps to mitigate the problem.

That may not be easy. A news story Tuesday said that researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School compared eight different technologies, all of which claim to make drinking water safe. They found that most of the studies reviewed were found to be of poor quality and missing data and that only two technologies showed good evidence of effectiveness, said a release from BioMed Central.

Arsenic in the water supply threatens several hundred million people worldwide, said the study published Friday in BioMed Central’s open access journal Environmental Evidence.

A.M. Costa Rica also has reported that rice soaks up arsenic from polluted ground water. International studies have found high concentrations of arsenic in rice but the harvests in Costa Rica are not checked for this problem.

From https://www.amcostarica.com


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

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