We are finally home in our empty glass house high above the hills of Escazu, Costa Rica, and it is heavenly. I ran thru a million names for this post. Like "Re-Arrival" because, like our first arrival, stepping off the plane at the San Jose airport was heavy with emotion and 16 overstuffed bags. I considered "Coming Home" because returning really was coming home this time, realizing we are different people than when we left Key West a year ago. Talk about yer deep thoughts!
Too deep for me. Although far from the original plan of running away for a year, it turns out our future is here in Costa Rica. And we are so happy to be back, so happy to stay!!!! It was lovely to be in Key West, lovely to see so many friends (although I missed seeing a few of my personal V.I.P.s), but it’s not the place for us now. For starters, the local government is completely over the top. And I’m sick to death of talking about real estate and its fate there. One Key West friend jokingly called me a "traitor" which is how I feel and what I feared someone would say… I don’t blame her. Where I could leave, run away, she is unable to. I’m sorry about that. I want all my V.I.P.s to move here with me!!!
More than a few people asked what is compelling us to stay in Costa Rica. The reasons are a jumble. No Key West income is the first thing that comes to mind. But the truth is we could make it there if we were determined to. There is room to expand my property management business. I’m good at that and enjoy the daily challenges. There will be buyers in that market coming along soon, and buyer agency is my forté. I relish the art of the deal. I’m offering discount brokerage services for sellers from afar – why not? The time is coming for Colonel Jal to make decent money running auctions. So an income is possible.
The stress of creating an income to cover the cost of living there, however, might kill us. Rent and utilities in our old house were $2,800/month. Supposedly, you want your rent no more than 25% of your income. So we’d need to create an income of at least $100,000. I don’t think that includes sushi, so it’s not really living. And it sure doesn’t include feeding Mo, so make that $112,000 minimum.
The thing that keeps us out of Key West right now is its palpable depression and anxiety. Denial is high. Anger is next. There is already talk of lawsuits against developers. A speculator in Florida recently went to jail for advising fellow speculators on deals that went south. Real estate brokers, mortgage brokers and appraisers are next to the chopping block. In the U.S., Someone Else has to take the blame. And some of those people ARE to blame… But even when no one held a gun to anyone else’s head, litigation is how we fix things in the states. And everyone in the real estate business, whether defendant or worker bee, will feel the heat of that fire all day everyday. No, thank you.
The thing that keeps us out of the United States right now is its palpable fear. It’s funny, but here in Costa Rica, we live behind physical bars in fear of one thing and one thing only: petty theft. There, in the states, we are encouraged to live in perpetual fear of and powerlessness over surprise attacks. To hand over our civil liberties and private communications in the name of freedom. I guess we are still free-er there, but we feel free-er here.
Besides, when it comes right down to it, the weather here is WAY better.