Wide open spaces
At the beginning of this year, January 1, almost everyone I know had huge expectations. Business was booming, the economy was on fire, stock markets at an all-time high, unemployment at 50 year lows and the predictions were insane. Everyone was making more money than they ever had, their businesses were at peak performance, tourism numbers were through the roof and life could not be any better. It had been an absolute banner year, and the sky was the limit. Personally, I was planning on having the best 12 months I ever had and most of my agents had the same goals as well. The first 60 days, were record breakers for real estate in Costa Rica, and it looked like nothing could stop this bullet train. Then the conductor pulled into the COVID-19 station; the locomotive was put into park; the engines were shut down; and everyone had to get off and go home. The globe became silent.
Now here we are, 8 weeks later, and Costa Rica is one of the leaders in the world, in its handling of the virus. Countries all over the planet are pointing to us as the exception to the rule; how we have contained it and lowered the curve; at the astounding low numbers of active cases; as we start to reopen our economy. Most countries and or cities, with 3 to 5 Million inhabitants are seeing thousands of deaths, compared to our mind boggling number of only 10. People are taking notice, and we are flooded with inquires and phone calls. So many individuals rehashing the same comments; I should have bought; why didn’t we just come; why did we cancel our trip; why did I procrastinate; wish we were there! Well, hindsight is 20-20 they say, and it just happens to arrive in the year 2020.
Tank Tops Flip Flops Newsletter edition no. 158
Social Distancing is the new luxury. When this finally ends, where are people going to want to vacation; where are they going to want to live? Think about this for a minute. You have been locked up in your abode, for months. You look out the same window every day, at an empty city street, or a boring cul de sac. Many of you are still suffering through the miserable weather pattern called winter; with freezing cold ice and snow; peeking out your door every morning begging for spring. Whenever this is over, people are going to want to breathe; soak up the sun; smell the roses; suck up the Vitamin D. They are surely not going to take their first vacation up the Statue of Liberty. Do you think they will want to walk around Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco; or visit the chaos at Riverwalk San Antonio? They are definitely not going to want to go to South Beach Miami or Cancun Mexico, where there are 45,000 people crammed onto the sand. What about a Carnival Cruise; No way Jose. They are going to run to places like Costa Rica.
We have an endless supply of nature. Thousands of square miles of Wide Open Spaces; from rain forests to jungles; mountain tops to valleys. Our beaches are lucky if there are 50 people on them, on any given day. Visitors have hundreds of activities to choose from, where almost no one is anywhere near your personal space. White Water Rafting; Mud Baths; Hot Springs; Hiking; Biking; Zip Lining; Horseback Riding; Sailing; Fishing; Kayaking; Waterfalls; Scuba Diving; Snorkeling and Surfing; just you and your private area; socially distanced while swallowing up Mother Nature. Go ahead; close your eyes and take a deep breath. You can almost taste it, can’t you? Well I am here to tell you, it is even better in person.
Wide Open Spaces.
Imagine sitting in your pool, looking out at Playa Hermosa and the Papagayo Bay. The sun setting over the Pacific Ocean, while you pop another bottle of champagne. Your nearest neighbor is half a football field away, and your biggest concern is your sunburn; where did I put that lotion? What I have seen and heard recently, is that people are completely shifting their goals and their plans for the future. So many people were on the fence, this close to making their dream become a reality, and purchase a piece of paradise. As one of my clients said; “Mike, I am not only on the other side of the fence, I literally bulldozed through it. We are coming as soon as humanly possible.”
I think we are going to see a different attitude and outlook from so many people around the globe. People are going to want to invest in their lives, their family and making memories. Spending quality time with your spouse, kids and grandkids, in a beautiful country like Costa Rica, is going to be very high on the list. This lockdown has made people realize that they need to get focused on living a better life. As the famous line in Shawshank Redemption so adamantly stated; Get busy living or get busy dying. Well, my clients are optimists, so you know which way they are leaning. That is why we are all here. The type of people who come to Costa Rica, never followed the crowd. They are go getters, and take chances in life; they go against the grain, and make their own decisions; they want to live and experience something amazing before their time is up. They are surely not hiding under their beds right now, shivering in fear.
Wide Open Spaces.
Forbes predictions for real estate after the pandemic:
Costa Rica fits this like a glove.
Buyer’s will want to upsize and have more outdoor space.; gardens; yards; large terraces; private pools; room to breathe. Technology will lead the way. Home offices will be a must. With construction costs set to rise, finding a finished home will be the key. Costa Rica imports very little, as much of our construction materials are locally manufactured; such as hard woods, ceramic tiles, granite and concrete.
Bingo! We got it covered.
Then top off that ice cream sundae with a spectacular ocean view cherry, smothered in sunset sauce; you can add nuts if you want, those are personal choices.
Wide Open Spaces.
This pandemic has made people shift their businesses to home based applications. So many people are reinventing their lives, by working out of their living room. I think in the coming years, thousands of adventurers will come to Costa Rica who are still in their prime income earning years. Since the beach communities have fiber optic high speed internet, you can literally sit on your patio, enjoying the breeze and the view, while doing business around the world. Costa Rica respects intellectual property, allowing creative ideas and innovations to flourish. Now more than ever, we will see new companies formed and platforms created, right from the comfort of your sofa, miles away from the rat race. Why not here?
Wide Open Spaces.
Many young people have reached out to me in the last month, asking about entrepreneurial opportunities here in paradise, as they want their children to live in a safer, cleaner environment. More and more of my older clients, have told me recently, that they are just going to retire early. They had set a financial goal, but realize, that life is short. No reason to keep pounding it out every day, when they can just pack it up, move to Pura Vida and start to live the good life NOW.
All of this is going to be incredible for our market and our country. Everyone in the industry here, is seeing the same trend and hearing the same voices. People want out of the cities, and want to live in the open air of freedom, and they are going to flock to Costa Rica in droves. I am personally already seeing it. Do not get me wrong; we are not selling a lot of real estate right now, but we are selling a lot MORE than you would think. Many people have pulled the trigger on a property that they had visited earlier this year, or the end of last. They are starting their residency right now, so that they can come here, to get away from the massive infestation back home. Clients are even purchasing homes sight unseen. With technology the way it is today, we can literally do a virtual walk through of the location, showing you every single aspect of the residence, right down to the crack in the tile. This way, the moment a flight is available, BAM; you are here and moving into your pad.
What I am reading and hearing from the pros, is that hotel travel will slow down substantially, and more and more people will stay in VRBO and AIRBNB type rentals. Think about it. Do you really want to stay in an all-inclusive hotel, where there are thousands of people crammed into one place; all sharing the same furniture, pools, restaurants and lounge areas? Do you want to walk down a hallway that is traveled by 100 people every 15 minutes? Or would you rather stay in your own vacation hacienda or condo, where you know it has been professionally cleaned prior to your arrival, and no strangers have touched the door handle or handrails? This is going to lead to incredible investment opportunities and ROI for many of my clients who are purchasing Costa Rican real estate as hard assets.
Many people are just going to buy that second villa, and lock the door. I have dozens of clients who own multiple domiciles, and just keep them for themselves. Why even rent it? You know it is clean. Carrying costs in Costa Rica are very low, so holding the house as a getaway is easy to do. Get your residency and just come whenever you can. This way, the next time this flu flares up; Hasta Manana baby. You are gone! Riding out the shit storm in your own socially distanced dream.
According to the Wall Street Journal, home prices are actually rising, not falling, and no one is expecting this to be a repeat of 2009. Sure, there might be a few people who unfortunately lose their homes over this, but it is not going to be a tidal wave of foreclosures, and bank short sales that will crash the values like before. This is the third crisis in the last 20 years, and Costa Rica has come out of the last two better and stronger than ever before; I see the same thing here now. Just hearing from my clients, and speaking to so many of you on the phone, it is going to be a surge and a race to get here as soon as humanly possible. We are here waiting for you.
For the last few years, we have had to read about how other countries were potential competition for Costa Rica, yet we always came out Number One. When people did their due diligence and visited these other places, they always came back to the land of “Pure Life.” Now, seeing the way our neighbors have handled this crisis, and the tens of thousands of deaths that they have suffered, compared to the amazing statistics of our little Eden, those locations are definitely off the list. There is not one nation in Latin America that can toot their horn like we can. Most of them are disasters. International Living, which makes money pushing you to various developments and countries, has been touting Ecuador as the “next” spot to be. Well you can flush that report right down the toilet. There are bodies piling up, 5 bags high, on the side of the road, as their subpar health care system crashed. They don’t even know who these people are. They have no records to track the names.
A Tica living in Ecuador, wrote an eye opening article, begging to be able to come back here.
My RE/MAX friends in the Caribbean, are telling me that some states and territories are running out of food. Most islands do not grow anything; everything must be flown in; and with all International flights grounded, their supplies are running bare. Not Costa Rica. As I have said many times before, we are completely self-sufficient, we grow everything ourselves here. We need nothing from the outside world. I am reading how there are meat shortages in many places in the USA, and that milk and vegetables are being dumped down the drain, as the supply chain is broken. Not here. We never had any shortages of any kind. Our grocery stores are completely stocked to the gills, we have never once run low on anything. Our shelves were always loaded, and we had an endless supply of food. As you shop, you would almost not even know there was a situation, if it wasn’t for all the cashiers wearing masks.
It is important to understand that we were never shut down. Restrictions were put into place, to limit mass gatherings in public places and National Parks, to keep people from turning this into a vacation; but we always had the freedom to move around, and those rules are now being relaxed as we get back to normal. I got my haircut last week; went and had a few beers and a pizza with friends; watched the sunset; and tomorrow I am walking the dogs on the beach. Costa Ricans are responsible people and took this seriously, unlike so many in North America. That is why those cities had to shut down. It was not the disease itself but the way the people handled it.
Check out my all new Video FAQ’s here where I answer many common questions you might have using my almost 20 years of experience living and conducting business in Costa Rica.
Personally, I am very optimistic of our future here. Costa Ricans are strong, they will overcome and they will succeed. They know in their hearts that they live in the most breathtaking country in the universe, and they have respect and pride for each other; they take care of their countrymen. Farmers were loading up truckloads of goods, and taking it to families in need; we do it ourselves here. Over the years, they have watched so many millions of visitors arrive, who leave happier, more relaxed and they know they helped them to become a better person. They are confident that these tourists will return, and their lives will go back to normal. I speak with so many of them every week, I see them when we are out helping the community, and I hear it in their voices; “We are going to be OK” they say. My Ex Pat friends all tell me the same thing; “So glad I am here, Mike. Thanks for helping us.”
Hindsight is 20-20. Why are you not here?
Wide Open Spaces amigos.
Take care, see you soon, and stay safe.
Come on down baby!
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