We met a realtor at the seminar we attended during our first week in Costa Rica (during the relocation tour). We told her we would be looking for a rental in the Central Valley after the tour was over. She said to email her to set up a time for us to get together. I had emailed her a couple of times after the tour but hadn't gotten a response. In the evening of our "Most Productive Day" (yesterday), I finally received a call from a man named Alex. He said the realtor had asked him to follow up with us, to show us rental properties.
After some questioning, I discovered Alex is not a Realtor, rather, as he put it, he "specializes in transportation." He offered to set up some rental properties for us to see, drive us around to the different areas where they are located, and act as our "tour guide" to answer questions and inform us about our different options and relocation issues. He would spend the day working for us for $120.
As much as we liked the Atenas apartment we saw, we didn't have anything else to compare it to. We figured we should spend the day with Alex, see what he has to show us, and then make a more informed decision. I called Alex back, told him we had a deal.
We met Alex in town at 10:00am. He's a likeable guy spoke excellent English. He explained the plan for the day and we headed off in his shiny, very clean, red taxi.
Alex had coordinated with Realtors and other contacts to show us properties in different parts of the Central Valley. We got to see quite a range of options. I won't give you the play-by-play but here's a sample of what we saw:
The most amazing rental we saw was in a gated community that is mostly built on a very large hill (small mountain?). From the time you entered the gate, it was about a 6-7 minute drive UP a little winding road. We thought at one point that we had gone too far and missed it. This property was WAY up there. When we finally got there, it was, to say the least, impressive. The property consisted of a main house (for the owners), which was huge. There were also 3 other casitas (smaller homes) all situated close together. All 3 casitas were all rentals. The rental they showed us was very spacious and spread out. It was probably 1500-1800 s.f. and fully furnished. Rent was $1,100/mo. It didn't have a direct view out the windows, but as soon as you walked outside, there was a spectacular view of the Central Valley. There was a central pool/spa/party gazebo, which was available to the tenants as well. On Maui, a place this size with this view would likely rent for thousands of dollars a month. It was an amazing place but totally impractical for us. [Note: in the slide show above, it is the salmon colored house. The view of the Central Valley is from this property - in the rain.]
It ended up being a long day and Alex didn't drop us back at the B&B until after dark. We were too tired to go back into town, so we just made a sandwich for dinner.
After seeing all the other properties, we were now even more sure that the Atenas apartment was for us. We figured the money we spent for the rental tour was a good investment - ensuring we were making a wise decision.
Posted by Mark