Buying a Condo Verses a House in Costa Rica
Many people come to Costa Rica without knowing the rules of engagement. This is not to say that some people don't have their own preferences and that special wish list when contemplating a vacation or retirement dream home. This article can actually apply to any type of Real Estate purchase, whether it is purely for investment purposes, lifestyle change, such as retirement or relocation, or a part-time vacation home.
The main reason that this article is being written, is to point out a few, real life experiences that may influence the ultimate decision of home selection, when it comes to safety, security and comfort level, when buying property in a foreign country.
Not all areas are created equal and it seems that the beaches are the hot spot for investment opportunity. Once an area has been designated either a haven for foreign investors or just a booming, upwardly mobile community, there seems to be an influx of a certain element in society that preys on people with money. This is also true in some areas of the Central Valley that are known for their upscale housing and condo developments.
Although this isn't necessarily a pleasant topic, it needs to be addressed. Buying a single family dwelling, can be very enticing, due to the availability and the beauty of some settings. Views of mountains and city lights, are often remarkable. The views that are available at beach and lake areas, such as Arenal, where you can often see the Volcano at a distance, with the lake in the foreground, are absolutely stunning. However, there are some things you should know. Leaving a home unattended is often met with the fact that it has been invaded and often more than a few items are missing. Even when living in the home, if it is left for any extended period of time, there should either be a dog for protection or a guard / caretaker, because dishonest people are often aware of the comings and goings of foreigners who may have items of value, worth stealing. Many things can and do happen, therefore, when considering a home purchase, it may be wise to look very closely at a condominium project.
The reason why high-rises, or even small condo projects, are often a good choice is because they are designed with security in mind. The developer knows that the major attraction to a condo is often the fact that it can be locked up and valuables are safe. The condos that are being built now in vacation areas and residential communities are full, 24 hour security protected surroundings. These condos offer the buyer the options for building maintenance, amenities, like gymnasiums, common areas, barbeque / party facilities, swimming pools, etc. All of this in an exclusive environment, gate guarded atmosphere, where you are not at risk of having either unexpected or unwanted visits. The other aspect of this is that by buying a property that has this kind security amenity, it can be used whenever it is convenient, and then left alone, be that often or infrequently.
Both types of properties, either a single family residence or a condo are coming into vogue as high end vacation rentals. So, there is a trend in the Real Estate market to buy these vacation or urban properties and use them as rentals when the owners are not inclined to be there. Management of these projects is aware of this and have put in place office personnel, who are trained to manage rental properties and will perform this service for the buyers, for a monthly fee.
All in all, a condominium project may be your best bet for personal use, a vacation rental, and investment potential.