Thank you for visiting ‘Tank Tops Flip Flops’

Hola! Welcome to Paradise. My name is Michael Simons - the Owner/Broker of 3 major real estate franchises in the Papagayo Region - RE/MAX Tres Amigos in Playa Hermosa , RE/MAX Prestige Ocean Properties in Playa Panama and RE/MAX Ocean Village in Playas del Coco.

The majority of people interested in buying real estate in Costa Rica tend to have many of the same questions so I took the time to answer them in detail here in a fun and informative way. This site contains a tremendous amount of information for you and allows me to express my views and pass along wisdom gained while living and doing business in the tropics. Hope you can join us. Pura Vida!

I will respond to your questions immediately with an email or personal phone call.

See you here in Paradise!

Message from Salve Monos (Save the Monkeys)

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Costa Rica Charity, Costa Rica Living, EX PATS in Costa Rica, Newsletters, Playa Hermosa

We felt it was important to pass on some information given to us by Karol Allard of Salve Monos in Playa Hermosa (Save the Monkeys) to everyone that might help save some monkey habitat and make it safer for them to live.  This is an article that was first published by the Nosara Refuge for Wildlife but it applies the same to our area.  Check out Salve Monos on their facebook page at facebook.com/SalveMonosHermosa or send them an email at salvemonosplayahermosa@gmail.com.  They really do a lot of work for the Monkeys and they always welcome volunteers and/or financial help.

Help Us Save Wildlife by Preserving Habitat & Reducing Deforestation

Wildlife, especially monkeys, use the trees to travel to and from feeding grounds. If even one tree is cut along their route, the natural tree bridge will be lost and the monkeys will be forced to find another way. This often means traveling along dangerous power lines and transformers or risking attacks from dogs or being hit by cars on the ground.

Pay attention to which trees are beneficial to wildlife and be mindful of cutting these important trees.

If you’re thinking about clearing your lot before selling or building, keep as many trees and plants as possible. Get an assessment of the types of trees on your property and leave mature trees and important food resources for wildlife.

Be careful where you plant new trees on your property. Planting a delicious papaya tree right under an uninsulated transformer or cable is sure to end in dozens of monkey deaths. If you’re planting trees that benefit wildlife, make sure they are away from power lines and transformers and in an area where they will not be harassed by domestic pets. Monkeys need a natural tree route that leads to these tasty trees otherwise they will risk their lives traveling on the ground or across wires. If you are reforesting a cleared area of land, plant fast-growing native trees and plants (not exotic, foreign species) that will provide shade, benefit wildlife and attract exotic birds and butterflies.

When designing your dream home, consider using an architect that will keep existing trees and habitat for animals. Moving your plans a few feet might save a 100 year old tree that provides essential food resources and habitat. Hire project managers and construction firms that care about wildlife and the environment. Many mature trees can be saved by simply instructing your crew to work around them.  Consider adding wildlife bridges for Monkeys and other animals.

Reprinted with permission from Refuge for Wildlife, Nosara, Costa Rica

 

Financing property in Costa Rica–What are the options?

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Buying and Selling Property in Costa Rica, Costa Rica Service Providers, FAQ's, Investing in Costa Rica

Financing in Costa Rica

You will see all kinds of information on the internet about financing property in Costa Rica.  Many websites tell you that they have financing options available through the National or Local banks.  I have been selling real estate in this country since 2003 and only a handful of my clients have been able to obtain a loan with a Costa Rican bank. 

Financing property in Costa Rica can make this your home in paradise

It’s not that you can’t get a loan, it’s that most foreigners, after reviewing all the documents and costs, don’t take the loan.  First off, it is very difficult to qualify for a loan if you are not a permanent resident of this country.  The paperwork is mind boggling and the banks do not operate with the efficiency that you are used to in the USA or Canada.  It can take months for an answer which is usually NO anyway.  Second, the fees are very high; usually 3 to 5 % higher than a traditional loan in North America and the closing costs are as much as 3% of the loan, on top of the normal closing costs.

So when most buyers see these numbers, they change their mind and search for an alternate way to purchase their little piece of paradise.  One of the reasons Costa Rica is so stable, in my opinion, is because they don’t lend money.  We all know that the problem with the USA was the banks’ poor lending practices.  In the history of this country not one single bank has ever failed.  That is an amazing statistic.  It’s because they don’t frivolously lend money, and they almost NEVER lend money to foreigners.  As a client of mine from Tallahassee says, “you gotta pay to play”.

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