Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Costa Rica -- Day Four

(the view from the tarzan swing on the property)

Just back from the property again. We met Jim Gale, a couple (Robin and Lea) that have already moved here, and had lunch in the nearby town of Ojochal.

I'm sitting by the pool in humid 80 degree weather with a slight breeze. I've left my camera at the room and now, of course, wish that I haven't. I see my strawberry daquiri approaching, so all is well. :) My towel is coming soon so I can slip into this delicious-looking swimming pool. I'm not a huge fan of swimming pools -- I don't begrudge or discourage them for others, but I don't swim gracefully and without effort, so I've never seen much use for one personally. A couple of feet of water to wade in or sit in socially to keep cool in the summer -- sure. But, like, swimming laps? I can't really do that. I'm more of a: keep-my-head-above-water-after-I've-fallen-out-of-the-boat kind of swimmer. But this pool looks divine and I so want to share it with you. Thus, the missed camera. Perhaps another day.

On the Costa Rican adventure -- I think we're sold. After meeting Jim Gale, we shifted our original villa idea to purchasing a home lot. Because the value of our homes in Oregon dropped along with the housing market, we have far less money to purchase property with. 

With the purchase of a villa, you also received shares in the company (that collects rents from the tourists staying on the property, among other things) -- but no actual deed. So, no bank would lend money on it. It needed to be purchased free and clear. 

With a homesite, however, we can get a bank loan for the construction of the house. (We can buy the land using a loan off Paul's 401K and a line of credit off our Albany rental.) Plus, our line of thinking was corrected today on the case of building a home here. We assumed we wouldn't be able to afford both a plot of land and building a house on it. In the States, that could easily run us $350,000. Here, you can build a nice three bedroom house for $57 - 80K. The labor costs are considerably less expensive.

Jim's wife built their house here (she was the general contractor) for $57,000. Jim's invited us to go and see their home on Sunday on our way out of town. So, we'll see how much house $57K can buy. :) Our's would be closer to $80K because we'd have to hire a contractor instead of doing it ourselves, and it'll cost more to truck the supplies in. Osa Mountain Village isn't on the highway; it's quite a haul up the mountain and getting a truck there will, frankly, cost more.

Looking at the property again today -- with more of a focus on home lots -- I admit, I shifted out of if we decide to move here, to I really want to move here. I don't know if it was: considering the benefits of a home lot to a villa (like: we'd get to keep our dogs with a fenced yard), Jim's extra energy and excitement about the place, or if it was the amazing sob-inducing views from the lots -- but I did find myself tearing up.

Can you imagine? Living an expat life, in dream jobs, with like-minded people, off the grid, growing and raising all your own food (oh! I found out they'll have pigs for food and goats for dairy on the property, too!), and having a loving, accepting community around us from the start?!
Ok. That last one was wishful thinking, but I'm calling it "manifestation" instead. I'm visualizing into being.

I was worried about the schooling for the kids, but the teacher they'll have on site will be a lovely substitute for a Spanish-only speaking high school. It'll be kind of like homeschooling/HomeSource, but not. And if they want to go to the public high school, we'd be happy to take them. Jim also said that if we had any schooling ideas, the parents had a ton of say in what and how the teacher taught. If I find a Waldorf school high school curriculum for Aubrey, for instance, I can have the teacher use that to the best of her ability. If Aubrey wants to learn Japanese, she can be supervised by the teacher there. Giving the kids the choice between the two schools will give them some sense of control.

And ultimately, though I hate to play this trump card because it feels so righteously unfair -- we are the parents. We can make this choice whether the kids are on board, or not.

But the stance I think I'll take against their opposition -- which might not happen, but I'm thinking it will -- is this:  This is our dream. Mine and Paul's. We really want to do this. We understand that this quite probably isn't Aubrey and Robert's dream -- though it could become so -- and when they are 18, they can go and live their dream. And we'll totally support them 100% of the way in whatever capacity we can. And we think this move will give them the courage to go and live those dreams. 

Because they saw their parents do it.

(Paul keeps telling me there's something wrong with the glasses that keep coming from the bar. The pina coladas keep emptying too quickly -- there must be a hole in them.)

Tomorrow we'll meet with a local realtor (the one from the other day) and see if plots of land in the less-than-quarter-of-an-acre, distant ocean view and 300 degree mountain and jungle views go for $110K around here. 'Cuz that's what Jim is selling our favorite of his lots at.  (Then we'll hit a beach or two in the afternoon.)

 (view from our favorite lot)

 (the lot we want)

On Thursday we're meeting with Gary, the builder for Osa Mountain Village (but we could use anymore we wanted), to talk about plans and permits, etc.

If we bought the land before we left, or shortly after we got home (after having a real estate lawyer look over the papers) and got the building of the house started right away (after securing a construction loan, of course), we could have a rentable house by the summertime.

We'd go up and see the construction at least once during the building probably, and then Paul wants the family to stay in it first, before we rent it out to any tourists.

We'll have to furnish it, too. Hmm.

We've also been talking to Jim about the ice cream shop idea. That is an excellent business that could be run without us here that would generate income for us now. We could have two locations for the shop. One up the mountain for the people getting off the zip line tours. ("Whoo-eee! I just flew down a mountain! I need me some ice cream!") And one on the highway where the Osa Mountain Village office is.

It costs about $350 to get a limited corporation here, and then Jim would provide the locations for us, so it would be simple and easy to get it started. We'd hire a local person to serve the public and collect the monies. And a really nice wage around here is $500/month (taxes included). Sounds easy enough to me.

Now all we have to do is make up some upscale recipes -- using local ingredients, of course: coconut, mango, etc., try them out and buy the equipment to make it with. And the freezers to keep it cold. :)

Stay tuned to hear about whether this is a good local deal, and if the beaches are, in fact, awesome here. :)

Pura Vida!


rfreedman said...

I am so happy for you! I admit...a bit jealous of the trip. Costa Rica is truly in my heart, I knew you would fall in love ! The people are so lovely and the land...well the lot you are dreaming of is just gorgeous.
Enjoy a pina colada for me...enjoy the rest of the trip! Robbin

Anonymous said...

I hope that you didn't make the same mistake we did and give Jim Gale the money for your "lot." Can you say, "Ponzi scheme?"