03 December 2014

The Name's the Thing

We're from Texas, where homestead laws protect many assets, including one's home, of course. So if (God forbid), I'm in an auto accident and wipe-out a bus-load of talented physicians, my home is protected from any legal judgment not covered by my insurance. But what about Costa Rica? Well, home owners in Costa Rica are protected to some extent, but that doesn't mean that the property (and personal finances) won't be tied-up in years of litigation. As is done in the United States, expatriate home buyers in Costa Rica often purchase their homes in the name of a Costa Rican corporation. So Bill Knight, Costa Rica's best realtor, introduced us to an attorney for the formation of our new corporation. Five hundred dollars and a name for said corporation . . . that's all we needed.

And so one rainy afternoon on Samara Beach, cocktail in hand and 30 minutes before meeting our new attorney, we frantically compiled potential corporate names not heretofore used . . . not already taken by those thousands of foreigners snagging all those gorgeous Costa Rican homes.
  • Lo Que Hay . . . undoubtedly taken.
  • Monkey Around . . . think about its fun duality in the land of the ubiquitous Howler.
  • No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problemo . . . admittedly plagiarized.
  • Lost in Translation . . . do we ever have an original idea?
There were more; all we had to so was confirm their availability through our new attorney.

And then the unthinkable happened. Our attorney suggested that we simply use an "off the shelf" corporation that would be registered with a number, not a name. Where's the fun in that?! So little Lot 6 will be owned by a corporation such as 12-3456.89, Inc. Hardly inspiring. Hardly the romantic Out of Africa Africa notion that I envisioned for our 1.65-acre farm. But I suppose the naming of the home is more important than the name of the corporation. And the point of this post is to suggest that you, too, purchase your new Costa Rican finca/hacienda/casa through a corporation. While it's not a legal requirement, it is good advice, as you'll discover by doing your homework.

So we're still left with the task of naming the home . . . our casa. I know of no legal requirement that it be unique, but who wants a copycat name? More importantly, it must look adorable when painted on a plaque that will adorn the entry door. It should embrace the lunacy of its owners (Casa de los Monos, maybe?); it should embody the 1.65 acre site (Casa Colina?); it should embrace the fiery spirit of the owners (Casa Jalepeno?).

But what about the time to select the name? Should we really focus on the perfect name when, as I write this, I've still got a home to sell in Texas? Is it bad luck to pick a name for a home with a questionable closing date? Or is the opposite true? Should we pick a name to let the home-buyer gods know that we will close on little Lot 6? This foreign home buying is stressful, though in most ways it's not much different than purchasing a new home in the States . . . especially when the purchase of the new home is contingent of the sale, nay, quick sale of another home. But today, I'll say it: Lo que hay! And we will close.