60. Bringing in the New Year with a BANG

Monday 12/27- It’s been a little bit over a week since we spoke to Jose, our cabinet maker. He has had a chance to draw up plans and we’ve had a chance to think more in detail about what exactly it is that we want. We met with him at the house today to take some more measurements and finalize the plans. Once it was all discussed and agreed upon, Jose asked when we needed it ready by? We told him that Geiner said the house would be ready for the cabinets at the end of January. This would give him a month to get everything built. He looked kind of nervous, and said he would do everything he can to get it done by then, but with New Years in there and the possibility that he wouldn’t be able to get his supplies as quickly as he sometimes does, he said he might need until the first week in February. We told him that we could work with that. Since he was doing everything from cabinets and closets, to doors, beds, night stands, tables, and chairs, we asked him to focus first on the

30. Some New Options and an Earth Moving Day!

Monday 7/12- We got a call from Diego in the morning today telling us that he had found some more properties to show us. He had received calls back on a few that Ramie had found online saying that they were already sold, and on a few of the others he found out that they didn’t have legal water, so those were obviously not options for us. He did have some options to go look at, though, including one very near the rental that we’re currently staying in (not inside the gated community, but just outside of it and down the hill a little way). He asked if we were available this afternoon, and since we don’t really have a whole lot of things planned down here right now, we told him we could meet him.

He had 3 properties for us to look at. The first one was very close to his office, not far from the highway on the ocean side (on the flats). There were about a dozen lots here and several have been sold, but there currently wasn’t any sign of anyone even starting to build yet. We looked at the map of the layout and then walked the lots trying to figure out where the dividing lines between the lots were. There were a couple of these that we really liked, one at the beginning of the development as you entered it, and the other on the cul-de-sac end. 

There is a little creek that runs along the end of these properties that separates this “neighborhood” from some houses on the other side. We thought it would be great to be right next to this creek both because it is one of the few lots with trees (therefore a better possibility of wildlife AND having shade) and because there would be no chance of neighbors on that side. The lot at the entrance side was slightly larger and there were some trees there as well but we couldn’t really tell where the lot began and ended. Either one of these could be very good options so we will keep these in mind! One big advantage- there were no crumbling cliffs and very little excavation would be needed, only enough to even it all out. The lots weren’t big, but they would be big enough for what we needed. 

The next one we went to was the one near our rental. This was the largest of any lot we have looked at, but it is long and narrow, and one side of the property ran along a small river. Ramie & I had stopped and looked at this one previously but weren’t really sure where the boundaries to the property were or what the rules were with building so close to a river. Diego was able to show us exactly how the property was laid out, and we realized that the usable space of this lot was actually only about ⅛-¼ of the total area you were buying. It would be a cool place to live, right along the river, and with lots of dense jungle nearby there would be a very good chance that we would see a lot of wildlife, but we’d really have to get creative with building here. 


 

The last one we went to we realized within a minute or 2 of getting there that it was not an option. It looked like this used to be a swamp and was currently dry land. It was several feet lower than all of the land around it and looked very prone to flooding. After Diego looked around at where we were really standing, he did confirm that the river did previously run right through here, and if the river ever wanted to move again, there is a possibility it would come right back through here. Nope! Not a risk I was going to take!! 



Of course, like always, Ramie and I wanted to talk and think about it some more, so on our drive back home, we stopped once again at the property close to the house. We walked around a little bit more and talked about how we could use the space.

Within less than a half hour of getting back to our house and continuing to talk about it we decided we needed to go down to that first property again to look some more, so we went back down into town (good thing it’s only about a 10 minute drive to get there!). We walked around these lots some more trying to really get a feel for the area. After walking through the lots on either end of the property we decided that the one at the entrance probably wasn’t the best one for us. Since we couldn’t tell where the boundary between the properties was, and there was a pretty steep side hill that might be right in the middle of one of the lots, we focused more on the lot on the creek side. We walked back and forth, Ramie stepped it off to get a rough idea of how long and how wide the area was, and we thought that this would really be a place that we would like.

Yep, I think this is one! Call Diego and tell him we want to put in an offer!!

After Diego found out we were very interested in a couple of the lots in this development, he called the developer/seller to get a little bit more information. We got a call from Diego on Tuesday afternoon telling us that what we thought were the boundaries on the lot by the creek were wrong. In fact, the boundaries were VERY different, and the lot that we thought we were interested in was in fact nearly unbuildable because of how close it is to the water. We were unable to drive today, so he video called us and explained how the properties were laid out. After he showed us exactly what he meant, I had an idea (and Diego had the same idea), why not buy 2 properties?! Since the end one with the creek was pretty much unbuildable, the developer would probably never be able to sell it (especially at the price she was asking). So, let's buy the one next to it AND the creek property! If we put both of these properties together it would be slightly larger than the one we were looking at with the falling down cliff. We could use the non-creek property to build on and we could have an awesome yard and garden on the creek property that is unbuildable. This would be advantageous for everyone! If we bought only the buildable one, she would never be able to sell the creek property, so maybe we can convince her to give us a really good deal so she can at least get some money as opposed to none. Could it work?? Diego thinks it could! Ok, so that’s what we’ll do! Lets put in the offer!!

Wednesday 7/14- Early in the morning (well, not TOO early considering what time we get up, but like by 9am) we got a call from Diego letting us know that the offer paperwork was ready for us to come down and sign. We could meet him at his office any time this morning. We, as always, weren’t doing anything this morning so we went down to the office right away. Diego was surprised to see us there so quickly and was just getting ready to drive down to the property to take some video to send to the seller explaining the reason the creek lot was unusable and why our offer was so much lower than the asking price. He was doing everything he could to help us get this property for a price we were comfortable with. When we got to the land Diego was able to show us where the dividing lines between the properties were. Yep, he sure was right! The creek lot was quite unbuildable!

Between the creek actually running through one corner of the property, the setbacks that don’t allow you to build within 45 feet of the creek, and the setbacks that you have to stay away from the road and from the property line with your neighbors, there would never be enough land to build a house! It really would make for an awesome yard though!! The buildable lot was quite narrow, but since we would own both lots, we could build the house and patio over the property line with no issues, as long as we stayed far enough away from the creek. This was just looking better and better for our case!

Alright—try number 2 with an offer on some land—let's hope for a better outcome than the first time! 🤞

Friday 7/16- Around mid-day today we heard back from Diego that our offer on the 2 lots had been accepted! I mean, it wasn’t that easy that she just said yes, it took a lot of smooth talking and convincing by Diego, and we did end up increasing our offer a little bit after she said our first offer was too low, but we got the lots and are comfortable with the price we paid for them. We are so glad to have one more weight lifted off of our shoulders and one more item checked off of our list. Typically closings down here happen in about 45 days whether it is for vacant land or for an already built house. This seller wants to do it quicker than that, and asked for closing to be the first week of August. After verifying with Diego and Moe, the lawyer that we decided to use for the real estate transaction, that the “Due Diligence” (basically the equivalent of background title research, ensuring the property is legal to be sold, fit to be built on and has all of the proper legal water and electricity approved by the government) could be done in this amount of time we agreed to the quick closing. Hopefully that would mean that the building of the house could start sooner, it would get finished sooner, and we could be in our own house sooner!

Also, earlier this week Stuart, the other neighbor here in our little gated community, had invited us down for dinner at their house tonight. We were excited to have a chance to actually meet Stuart and Gem, other than just saying “hi” in passing. So, we spent a few hours this evening at their house learning about their background and them learning about ours. He is English, she is American, they have been traveling the world for years for his job. Their 8 year old son was born in Malaysia, they have been in Costa Rica for about 3 years and at this house for about 2 years. One of the main reasons they have settled down and stayed in Uvita for so long instead of continuing to move along like they had been in the past, is because they really like the school that their son is in right now. We enjoyed our evening getting to know each other and we are really glad to have added another friend and resource to our growing circle (Gem has a lot of similar dietary restrictions that I have so she can help me figure out where to shop for certain things!)

It was later than normal when we got home from their house (compared to our usual 7:30 bed time, tonight was closer to 9) so we cleaned up and went to bed not long after we got home. We hadn’t been in bed long when I started to feel the bed shaking. I looked over at Ramie and asked him if he was shaking the bed. He said “No, did you feel that too?” We looked at each other for about 10 seconds and at the exact same time said “Our first earthquake!” What we felt wasn’t strong and didn’t last more than a couple of seconds, but it was something.

It’s shocking actually that it took over a month and a half of being here for us to feel or notice the first one. Costa Rica and the surrounding areas get a lot of earthquakes since there is a big fault line that runs nearby. They range from very small little tremors to much larger ones that cause some damage. We have been told by people who have been here a while to get used to them and expect them, and now we can say we have experienced one!

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Comments

  1. So happy you've found property to build on. Congratulations!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! We are glad that the search is finally done... Just one more weight off of our shoulders!

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